Hong Kong Department of Health issues warnings about Traditional Chinese Medicines (TCM) found to contain heavy metals

All herbal safety warnings and alerts

19 February 2013

The MHRA is advising consumers not to use the products specified below due to concerns about possible side effects.

Product names:

  • [W.S.] Tian Ma Toutong Wan
  • Shi Hu Ye Guang Wan (Ye Guang Wan)
  • Nai Chang Ming Yan Pills (Ming Yan Pills)
  • [Fung Shing Pai] Tian-Ma Wan
  • Bak Foong Pills (11 products - see below for details)

Product descriptions

[W.S.] Tian Ma Toutong Wan is promoted for relieving headaches and is manufactured by Wah Shun Medicine Limited, Hong Kong.

Tian Ma Toutong Wan


Shi Hu Ye Guang Wan (Ye Guang Wan) and Nai Chang Ming Yan Pills (Ming Yan Pills) are both promoted for "improving vision in adults." Shi Hu Ye Guang Wan and Nai Chang Ming Yan are manufactured by Wah Shun Medicine Limited, Hong Kong.

Shi Hu Ye Guang Wan (Ye Guang Wan)


[Fung Shing Pai] Tian-Ma Wan is promoted for relieving arthritic symptoms and headaches and is manufactured by Luen Hing Hong, Hong Kong.

Tian-Ma Wan


Bak Foong Pills are promoted for relieving menstrual discomfort and are manufactured by Peking Medicine Manufactory.

Bak Foong Pills

Reason for warning

The Hong Kong Department of Health has warned consumers not to purchase or use specific batches of these products after they were found to contain excessive levels of lead or mercury. Ingestion of excessive amounts of heavy metals such as lead or mercury poses serious health risks because the metals may accumulate in vital organs of the body. Children are most susceptible to the toxic effects. Shi Hu Ye Guang Wan (Ye Guang Wan) is also known to contain Antelope Horn (Cornu Saigae Tataricae), Bak Foong contains Deer’s Antler and Tian Ma Toutong Wan contains Aconitum carmichaeli root-prep (Aconitum is prohibited for internal use in the UK under SI 2130).

Batches of [W.S.] Tian Ma Toutong Wan, Shi Hu Ye Guang Wan (Ye Guang Wan), Nai Chang Ming Yan Pills (Ming Yan Pills) and [Fung Shing Pai] Tian-Ma Wan were found to contain lead. The recalled batches are as follows:

Product name Registration Number Batch Number
[W.S.] Tian Ma Toutong Wan HKP-02389 80090TR3
Shi Hu Ye Guang Wan (Ye Guang Wan) HKP-03387 8011 WP1
Nai Chang Ming Yan Pills (Ming Yan Pills) HKP-01836 8011 NY1
[Fung Shing Pai] Tian-Ma Wan HKP-00317 001188

 

Two Bak Foong Pill products were found to contain mercury. Nine other Bak Foong Pill products manufactured with the same batch of ingredients were also recalled. The affected products and batch numbers are as follows:

Product name Registration Number Batch Number
[Tin Bo Tong] Bak Foong Pills HKP-03671 AL0255
AL0107
[Sau Hong Tong] Bak Foong Pills HKP-15919 AL0255
[Whole Deer Brand] Bak Foong Pills HKP-02928 AL0255
[Double Fish Brand] Bak Foong Pills HKP-04207 AL0255
[Sin Wo Tong] Bak Foong Pills HKP-15136 AL0255
AL0107
[Ching Tak Tong] Pak Foong Pills HKP-15132 AL0255
AL0107
[Yan Chai Tong] Reishi Bak Foong Pills HKP-02931 AL0107
[Fuk Shun Tong] Bak Foong Pills HKP-14548 AL0107
[Lung Tak Brand] Bak Foong Pills HKP-01733 AL0107
[Tsin Sau Tong] Bak Foong Pills HKP-15107 AL0107
[Sai Man Tong] Bak Foong Pills HKP-10956 AL0107


Consumers should be aware that whilst specific batches were found to be contaminated, the unregulated nature of the unlicensed herbal remedies market means that no batches have been assessed by the MHRA for quality and safety purposes and it is not possible to be certain that other batches are not similarly affected. All of the products are available via the internet so consumers are advised to be cautious.

Possible side effects

The toxic effects of lead include abdominal pain, anaemia, changes in blood pressure, reproductive disorders such as miscarriage, weakness, concentration problems, weight loss, insomnia, dizziness, and kidney and brain damage. The toxic effects of mercury include irritability, tremors, memory loss, insomnia, concentration problems, and kidney and brain damage.

If you have taken any of these products and think you may be experiencing side-effects, please contact your doctor for advice. Take this information with you to help your doctor understand the situation. Please also help us gather more information on this issue by submitting a Yellow Card report.

Page last modified: 19 February 2013