PP Paul organised a visit to Eu Yan Sang traditional Chinese medicine in Shatin. About 30 Rotarians and guests enjoyed the day, which included a presentation by Mary Catherine Cheng, Senior Manager and Pharmacist, and a guided tour through the factory operations areas, which were inactive at the time due to it being a Saturday. The factory follows the highest standards for sanitation and professionalism. Gleaming chrome machines for steaming herbs dominated the factory rooms. Computers with chromography testing equipment to ensure quality filled another. Two other smallish rooms were for storing samples for future reference (expiration dating, quality assurance testing, etc.). We ended up in what can only be described as a museum of Chinese herbal medicine and the history of the Eu Yan Sang company. Herbs of all shapes and sizes and some dried animals in glass cases lined the walls. The company was founded by Eu Kwong Pai in Foshan, Guangdong, China in 1879 and that single shop has grown tremendously into a publicly traded company still dedicated to the same thing: improving mankind’s well-being (that’s also the translation of the Yan Sang part of their name). The company’s signature products include Bak Foong Pills (for women’s health) and Bo Ying Compound (for infant health). They also produce a line of teas, vinegars and birds nest. We sampled their Wisconsin Ginseng Tea during the initial presentation in their board room, which apparently removes heat from the body.
The question regarding the competition with western science and medicine was met with an explanation that Chinese medicine is intended to be a mild, multi-ingredient approach with few side effects. Western medicine, it was explained, acts more like a knife pinpointing a particular medical issue and delivering a single type of drug as a remedy. Chinese medicine is more holistic and deals with the whole body as a unified system that requires balance.
Following our tour, we went to the Shatin Jockey Club for a dim-sum lunch and fellowship. It was a great day!