Raise awareness of the side effects of cordyceps

The recent death of Madam Chew Kim Kee has raised public awareness of the risk and complications of consuming the Chinese herbal supplement cordyceps ("Cordyceps 'likely led to post-op bleeding'"; last Friday, and "Taking cordyceps? Keep doc informed"; last Saturday).

Cordyceps is freely sold in Chinese medical halls in its raw form. It can also be found in other products, such as essence of fish, essence of chicken and some natural cough remedies.

Most Chinese believe taking cordyceps does more good than harm to the body.

I am concerned that the elderly or less educated may take it without any concern, even while taking Western medicine.

In the light of the tragic incident, it is time the health authorities reviewed procedures.

Perhaps cordyceps could come with a label stating that expert advice should be sought before consumption.

Jeff Tan Hong Liak

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on June 02, 2016, with the headline 'Raise awareness of the side effects of cordyceps'. Print Edition | Subscribe