Shouxiangu: Standard Setter in Chinese Medicine

Post Time: 2020-01-09

The documentary film The Rise of Zhejiang’s Traditional Chinese Medicine, which has just been produced, shows the magnificent development of Zhejiang’s traditional Chinese medicine over 7000 years, especially focusing on major events that have occurred since the reform and opening up. One event in particular was highlighted: the international standards of Ganoderma and dendrobium officinale were primarily promoted by Zhejiang Shouxiangu Pharmaceutical Co., Ltd., a company based in Wuyi County in Jinhua City.

The Maker of the International Standards Wins the Initiative

On April 2, 2019, the press conferences for the international standards of “ISO 21315: 2018 Chinese Medicine Ganoderma” and “ISO 21370: 2019 Chinese Medicine Dendrobium officinale” were held in Shanghai. These two international standards, adopted and issued by the Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM) Committee of the International Organization for Standardization, standardize the sensory indicators, physical and chemical indicators, and heavy metal indicators of Ganoderma and dendrobium officinale, providing international standards for these two rare and precious Chinese medicines. These standards have laid the foundation for the Ganoderma and dendrobium officinale industries to go global, and have enhanced the international influence and competitiveness of Chinese medicine.

With the continuous research and development of natural medicine, some developed countries have set up various standards for purposes of safety or to protect their interests in the international market. According to statistics from the China Chamber of Commerce for the Import and Export of Medicines and Health Products, more than 60% of Chinese medicine products that have been rejected by foreign countries are under “green” barriers. Therefore, for Chinese medicine to go global, it is necessary to enlarge the influence of TCM and participate in the formulation of international standards.

In 1990, the State Scientific and Technological Commission sent Li Mingyan, a fourth-generation employee at Shouxiangu Pharmaceutical Co., Ltd., to Japan for one year. After many years of research and study with his team, Li successfully cultivated “Xianzhi 2,” which is four times better in terms of active ingredients than “Japanese Hongzhi.” Over the years, Li and his team have set up a standardized cultivation base for Chinese medicinal herbs, have developed an “organic cultivation technique” for highly-valued herbs, and have developed a third-generation Ganoderma lucidum spore powder, which contains more active ingredients and can be better absorbed by the body.


Research on Ganoderma Spore Powder at Cutting-Edge Research Institutions

Visitors are often shocked by the planting scale and modern cultivation technology at Zhejiang Shouxiangu Pharmaceutical Co. Shouxiangu has established a specialized workshop currently led by Sun Yan, Li Yu, and Huang Luqi, which consists of an innovation team of more than 20 people and a research team of around 80 people. The company also cooperates with other domestic and overseas research organizations, such as the Health Science Center of Peking University, the Cancer Hospital of the Chinese Academy of Medical Sciences, Zhejiang University, the Mayo Clinic (US) and the City of Hope National Medical Center (US). They have launched pharmacological and clinical research on Ganoderma lucidum spore powder.

Breeding, cultivation, deep processing, and pharmacological clinical research—Shouxiangu has made every step reach a leading international level, which offers  Shouxiangu the power to lead the formulation of international standards for Ganoderma.

Shen Yuandong, chairman of the Traditional Chinese Medicine Committee of the International Organization for Standardization (ISO/TC249) said that the world has entered an era in which the market is restricted by standards, and the development of new standards is even more important than the development of new products and patents. The competition for formulating international standards is becoming increasingly fierce, and it involves not only technical issues but strategic issues. The international standard of Ganoderma is led by China, indicating that China has taken a solid step from Ganoderma-producing country to Ganoderma-producing power. (By Dong Jinjiao, translated by Wei Han, edited by Kendra Fiddler)