Ban on TCM ingredient berberine to be lifted
News brings cheer to practitioners, who will be able to offer wider range of treatments
The decision to overturn a nearly 35-year ban and allow the sale of a substance found in several types of traditional Chinese medicine (TCM) from next year has set the TCM industry abuzz.
Berberine, an alkaloid present in about 30 types of TCM herbs, was banned by the Ministry of Health after concerns that it could cause severe jaundice and brain damage in babies with a genetic disease known as glucose-6-phosphate dehydrogenase (G6PD) deficiency.
An absence of the G6PD enzyme results in the breakdown of red blood cells if triggered by an infection or a substance. The genetic disorder is most common in Chinese Singaporeans, about 3 per cent of whom have it.
The reversal of the ban was greeted with applause from practitioners at a TCM symposium held at Thong Chai Building on Saturday.