Many foreign consumers have given positive reviews of classic TCM products on online retail platforms. Photo: IC
When it comes to cultural exports, China is best known for things like dragon dancing and exquisite cuisine, but recently foreigners have found something else to cling to – its medicinal remedies.
Just ask Filipina Aleli Roxas Javina, 35, who had no qualms about telling Metropolitan that the best thing that has happened to her in recent memory is Chinese hemorrhoid ointment.
“I think it’s effective and I love it,” Javina told Metropolitan on Facebook, praising the product for its pleasant, refreshing tingle.
Javina is not the only one who has become a fan of the ointment, which is called Ma Ying Long. The Cream’s Amazon page boasts a four-star rating and over 1,000 reviews, including dozens of enthusiastic praise from painless new users.
Recently, a number of these positive reviews from foreigners have been translated into Chinese and have started circulating on Chinese social media platforms, breaking into a hotbed of conversation.
Part of the popularity of the topic among Chinese internet users has to do with the mixed opinions on Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM) as an alternative medicine in general, as well as the pride some feel in seeing traditional Chinese remedies being recognized in the world. abroad. Either way, there is no denying that TCM remedies are gaining traction around the world, as outsiders are discovering the seeming magic of these products through the internet.
Praise of strangers
Another foreigner who has become a fan of TCM remedies is Anastasia Sukhoretskaya, a 27-year-old journalist and teacher from Russia who has worked in China for five years.
She told Metropolitan that just this week she had a sore throat and after day three she took Ganmao Qingre Keli, a TCM powder designed to treat colds, including symptoms like aches and pains. headache and sore throat. Soon she felt much better.
“It was very efficient. I could hardly eat anything on Monday and today is Sunday and I now feel perfect in the gym,” she said.
Another of Sukhoretskaya’s favorites is Yunnan Baiyao toothpaste, which she has been using for two years. Yunnan Baiyao, which literally translates to “Yunnan white drug,” contains a hemostatic powder known in China to stop bleeding. It also aims to prevent gingivitis and improve gum health.
“Of all the toothpaste I’ve tried, I feel like this is the best,” Sukhoretskaya said, adding that she liked the taste and feel of her teeth after using it.
Positive reviews on the US version of Amazon added that the toothpaste tastes great, helps relieve toothache and may indeed improve gum health.
Sukhoretskaya says she will recommend Yunnan Baiyao toothpaste to her friends and family when she returns home.
But it’s not just expats like Sukhoretskaya who are converting to TCM products; Thanks to the Internet, especially a number of international online retail platforms, many overseas consumers are gradually discovering the remedies for TCM. Javina, for example, discovered Ma Ying Long on Facebook and bought her for 500 pesos ($ 10.8) online.
However, it’s not just the uptime that makes the difference, but the good old-fashioned word of mouth. Ma Ying Long, for example, seems to have inspired an almost religious devotion among Amazon critics, many of whom say the ointment has worked where countless Western treatments have failed.
In one of the best reviews, a 2011 ode titled “Cool Off Your Poop Chute and Make It Smell Chinese,” writes a user named J. Stern: “This product is fantastic! It is extremely refreshing, even after the initial application. You I will feel nothing but a pleasant cool tingling as the swollen roids shrink. Seriously, it’s like applying rose ice cream to your butt … and the coolness HARD. “
Both comments below are equally enthusiastic, the first one starting with “First of all I mean this product is AMAZING! It worked wonders for me”, and the user below, Nemo, adding : “This stuff is a miracle. I don’t even want to know what’s in it, I don’t care. I lived it, I feel good, and nothing else worked. Buy- in.”
Traditional Chinese remedies are recognized abroad. Photo credit: Li Hao / GT
Discover multiple uses Just as the herbal ingredients in Yunnan Baiyao can both stop bleeding and treat dental problems, many Chinese herbal remedies have multiple uses. While Ma Ying Long is generally used for hemorrhoids, some Chinese consumers use it to treat skin problems such as dark circles under the eyes. In fact, it has become so popular for this purpose that the brand has even launched a line of products specifically designed for these skin problems.
But Chinese consumers aren’t the only ones getting creative with TCM products; outsiders have also discovered alternative uses for these remedies.
“I have been using Chinese oil since I was born. Usually I use it everywhere except in my eyes,” said Hai Nguyen, a 23-year-old Vietnamese American, who has lived in America for eight years. on Facebook. The “Chinese oil” mentioned by Nguyen is Feng You Jing, an essential Chinese balm, effective in relieving pain and itching caused by mosquito bites.
“I use it right after being bitten by a mosquito, and the itching usually goes away about an hour after I put it on my skin,” Nguyen said.
“Almost all Vietnamese use it. We have 15 Chinese medicine stores in my hometown. My mom really likes the essential balm. She bought it from our local Chinese medicine store and the price is reasonable.
Nguyen’s mother is a fan of the smell of the balm, which she says gives her a boost when she’s tired. Nguyen, however, uses it for something else. He said the balm can also treat an upset stomach. “Rub the essential balm on your stomach, and the stomach pain usually goes away after 30 minutes,” he said.
“I have also used it to treat headaches,” he added. “I apply the balm to the side and in the middle between my eyebrows. I feel it getting a little warm, but the headache goes away without me noticing it.”
Yunnan Baiyao, a classic remedy to stop bleeding, has won over many Western customers on online sales platforms. Photo: Internet
Solve today’s ills According to Sheldon Li, president of ActiveHerb, one of the largest suppliers of TCM products in the United States, their sales figures reflect some of modern society’s biggest health concerns.
“You can tell from our sales numbers that people care the most about weight loss, sexual well-being, and depression, [which stems] of the great pressure they are facing, ”Li said.
For example, one of their bestsellers is Xiaoyao Wan, a classic herbal remedy for depression and stress management, as well as the tension some women experience before and during their period. Li said it was often referred to as the “happiness pill” by Western customers.
Other bestsellers include Liu Wei Di Huang Wan (Six Flavor Tea Pills), which claim to treat yin deficiency and nourish the kidneys, which is said to improve sexual function in men.
In addition to selling Yunnan Baiyao, Ma Ying Long, and other products in the United States, the company has also developed some of its own health supplements targeting several other issues.
For example, in response to growing problems with rising blood sugar, they developed a herbal remedy designed to keep glucose levels stable by generating body fluids and nourishing yin and qi (energy flow). ).
Chinese essential balm Feng You Jing has received high praise on online retail platforms. Photo: Internet
Go abroad Among the company’s bestsellers are Yunnan Baiyao capsules, although Li pointed out that they are used differently in China and the United States. While they are primarily used to stop bleeding and improve healing in China, the United States are popular as a treatment for dogs that have had surgery or those who are suffering from cancer.
“The biggest challenge TCM faces in the United States is trust,” Li explained. “Instead of drugs, these products are still only [considered] health supplements. ”
One of the biggest concerns of foreigners, he said, is the possibility that these products contain heavy metals from herbs grown in China.
Therefore, to ensure that the products are effective and safe, while increasing the concentration of their key ingredients to make them more effective, Li’s strategy is to apply more stringent quality standards to production, which has place in China, and test every batch of products.
Foreign customers may also have more concerns about the animal ingredients included in some TCM products, Li said, due to dietary restrictions or animal welfare concerns.
Because of this, products like Wuji Baifeng, a TCM pill derived from a certain type of dark-skinned chicken that is used to replenish qi and blood, don’t sell very well, he said. .
Other problems stem from divergences in safety standards, which has led some well-known brands like Tongrentang to struggle to gain approval in overseas markets, said Liu Zhanglin, vice president of the Chinese Chamber of Commerce. for the import and export of medicines and health products. , in a report by Xinhua. Part of the reason is that TCM is subject to local medical clearance requirements, which vary from country to country.
Among the company’s clients, Li said, are more than 20,000 TCM practitioners and ordinary people, the majority of whom, perhaps surprisingly, are not of Chinese descent.
In light of the company’s growing sales, Li believes that foreigners are gradually getting used to the idea of Chinese medicine.
Indeed, Sukhoretskaya says that several of his foreign friends are also regular users of TCM products, but adds that this is rare among foreigners. “Most are using Western medicines that they brought from home or bought at a drugstore,” she said.
This kind of skepticism about Chinese remedies can only be overcome, Li says, through the continued promotion of word-of-mouth.
“For Chinese medicine abroad, it’s about public praise or how one client talks about it to another.”
Journal Title: Remedies of the East