Experts in traditional Chinese medicine are calling for caution over the use of some products that contain cinnabar, or mercury sulfide.
The mercury content in the chemical can build up in the human body over time and cause damage to organs, including the kidneys, and the nervous system.
The controversy goes back to May 7, when health authorities in the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region recalled a batch of Tongrentang medicine as it contained five times the mercury limit permitted in Hong Kong.
Tongrentang responded by saying its medicines containing cinnabar comply with the national standard, and are safe and effective as long as they are taken according to instructions.
Cui Yongqiang, chief of the international cooperation department at the China Academy of Chinese Medical Sciences’ Guang’anmen Hospital and a senior TCM specialist, said great caution is required with cinnabar.
I have a BIG problem with this. First off, where are the clinical trials that show that taking this product is effective and safe? Is it just his word? We have studies that show that mercury poisoning happens from several indirect sources – like eating fish and from atmospheric mercury that accumulates on land and water due to coal burning power plants. We all can do fine without mercury, actually. We certainly don’t need mercury as a supplement. It is ridiculous to think that this toxic metal is being distributed as pills at a time when we KNOW it is not beneficial but almost certainly detrimental in this form. People who mined cinnabar were commonly poisoned by the mercury it contained.
Traditional Chinese Medicine is pre-scientific, unregulated, and, for safety, should be avoided entirely.