U.S. coronavirus threat fuels demand for traditional herbal remedies

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New York City acupuncturist and herbalist Clayton Shiu says demand for traditional Chinese remedies has surged at his practice since March 1, the day New York announced its first case of the novel coronavirus. “It was like a light switch was flipped,” said Shiu, who had stocked up and had an ample supply of herbs on hand for his patients. Kamwo Meridian Herbs, a shop in the heart of New York’s Chinatown and a longtime supplier to practitioners like Shiu, has experienced a similar jump in demand for traditional Chinese remedies for respiratory and other ailments. To counter the outbreak in China, which has reported nearly 81,000 cases, the government initiated a series of emergency research programs that include traditional Chinese medicines, which are widely used in the world’s most populous nation. Last year, the World Health Organization formally recognized traditional medical therapies such as acupuncture and herbal supplementation medicine, conferring more mainstream recognition of the practices, which date back more than 2,500 years.


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