With all the controversy surrounding the safety of Chinese herbs, I was pleased to learn that on March 14, 2012, a traditional herbal medicinal product manufactured in China was granted marketing authorization in the European Union. This is a first for Chinese medicine since last year's passing of the Traditional Herbal Medicinal Products Directive (THMPD). The product is Diao Xin Xue Kang capsules, manufactured in China by Diao Chengdu Pharmaceuticals. The medicine contains dried extract of Dioscorea nipponica (Common English: Japanese Yam / Chinese pinyin: Chuan Shan Long). Dutch regulators approved the herbal medicine for use in treating headaches, muscle pain and cramps. No side-effects or negative drug interactions were listed in the medicine's Summary of Product Characteristics (SPC) issued by the regulators.
Interestingly enough, the actual translation of the medicine's Chinese name is "Diao [brand] Cardiovascular Health". However no cardiovascular indications were listed on the SPC, even though the Chinese name would indicate such usage and clinical studies suggest the medicine's effectiveness in promoting cardiovascular health. I'm guessing that off-label use for Diao Xin Xue Kang's cardiovascular benefits will be quite common.
Here are some links if you'd like to read more about this topic:
"Chinese herbal medicine breaks into EU market" - Nature.com
Nature, published in the UK, is one of the most cited scientific journals in the world.
"First TCM medicine OK'd for EU market" - Chinadaily.com.cn
China Daily is the largest English language newspaper published in China.
"March 22, 2012 - First Authorisation of Traditional Herbal Medicine from outside the European Union" - CBG-MEB.nl
The Dutch Medicines Evaluations Board (MEB) is the regulatory body that approved Diao Xin Xue Kang capsules in the EU.
"SPC - Diao Xin Xue Kang capsules, March 2012" - CBG-MEB.nl
In Dutch, so you might also refer to Google translator.
Michelle M. Ching, L.Ac., Dipl. O.M.
Michelle M. Ching is a licensed acupuncturist (L.Ac.) and a nationally certified practitioner of Oriental Medicine (Dipl.O.M.). She practices in Los Angeles.