More People Are Headed to Chinatown in Search of Herbal Supplement to Treat Coughing

Nin Jiom Pei Pa Koa

Lunar New Year celebrations are bringing lots of visitors to Chinatown. But it seems there’s another draw. In the past several days, there have been a few news articles in both the English and Chinese language press about a run on Nin Jiom Pei Pa Koa, an herbal supplement made from honey and loquat, and used to treat coughing.

Kingworld Medicines Group, which makes the product, says it’s made from, “precious Chinese herbs and honey, and has remarkable effects in relieving coughs, eliminating phlegm and soothing sore throats.” As the Wall Street Journal reports, “Herbal remedies with loquat have been produced in China for hundreds of years.” But for whatever reason, people like Alex Schweder, an architect and professor at Pratt Institute, are recent converts (Schweder was profiled in the Journal).

You can purchase Nin Jiom Pei Pa Koa online for $70 a bottle. But in Chinatown, you can find it for $6. Staff at places like Centre Care Pharmacy on Centre Street and Buy Rite Pharmacy in Chatham Square have been seeing westerners stopping in to look for the herbal supplement.

Health care experts have reservations about herbal supplements, especially when their taken together with conventional medicine. They urge patients to consult their doctor before using supplements.