Chinese medicine for growth: does it work?

My eldest daughter, Patch, 15, seems to have stopped growing when she hit age 12. She was 5 feet then; she still is now.

She loves to play volleyball, and would want to become really good at it. That’s one of the main reasons why she wants to be taller.

I am not sure if Chinoy parents still commonly practice giving tien chit to their kids at puberty. Tien chit is an herbal medicine that is supposed to help kids attain their optimal height. Well, Hub and I have been letting Patch take tien chit for 2 years now. Unfortunately, we did not see any improvement in her height. As it turns out, we may have been buying a sub-standard ready-made version of the herbal medicine. Worst-case scenario: tien chit doesn’t work.

But we’re not about to give up just yet. Besides, tien chit worked for several of our friends’ kids, and hub’s friends themselves when they were younger. One of Patch’s classmates is taking tien chit, along with acupuncture therapy, and this boy who used to be little is not so little anymore. He grew at least 5 inches taller in a span of just over a year!

Growth factors

I’m aware that there are a lot of other factors that contribute to growth, genetics being the major player. On this account, we may have a good case since Hub and I are of average height.

Nutrition and sleep are also major contributors to growth. I’m pretty sure Patch doesn’t lack good nutrition. But sleep – oh yes she lacks. Scientific studies have proven that growth occurs during deep sleep. So I have a lot of convincing to do for her to get more sleep -about 8.75 hours for her age.

Sleep requirements for children (slide for Johnson’s Baby)

Exhausting all means

The short of the story is that I brought Patch to Tong Ren Tang where the classmate who grew by at least 5 inches goes for treatment. Yep, we’re exhausting all means.

Beijing Tong Ren Tang is a world-renowned traditional Chinese medicine brand with presence not only in China but also in the Asia Pacific region. It was established in 1669, serving as the official pharmacy of the Emperor for 188 years during the Qing Dynasty. Three years ago, Tong Ren Tang opened its Philippine branch in San Juan. It is located where Mann Hann in Little Baguio used to be. Given its hundreds of years’ worth of track record, we’re willing to give Tong Ren Tang a try.

The visit – what to expect

Tong Ren Tang isn’t just a pharmacy; it’s also a traditional Chinese medicine hub. So there are Chinese medicine doctors who can prescribe traditional medicine for your condition or perform acupuncture. All consultations are by appointment so make sure to call ahead.

I’m glad Patch’s prescription does not contain any of these animals/animal parts. 

Patch was seen by Dr. Liu Gou. He is from mainland China but speaks decent English so don’t be intimidated that he might not understand.

We tell Dr. Liu that Patch wants to be taller. He nods, smiles (I guess, because he wears a surgical mask). He briefly interviews us, takes Patch’s pulse and height, peeks at her tongue. I ask if Patch will need acupuncture therapy; he says medicines first, then he will assess after one month if there is a need for other forms of therapy. So then he writes down the prescription in Chinese. I ask if the medicines are safe, he says of course. Do they work? Yes for sure, he assures.

The consultation lasts for about 15 minutes. I was expecting more, but oh well… Let’s see if the meds work. Then the 15 minutes would have been worth it!

Dr. Liu passes on the prescription to the pharmacist, also a mainlander. She takes out the herbs from drawers, weighs them, and hands them over to a Filipino assistant, who then grinds the herbal mixture into a fine powder.

After the herbs are ground, you have the option to take the concoction in powder form (mixed with some water), or in capsule form. We opted for the capsule form, so we waited for a while, about 30 minutes more, for the powder to be manually encapsulated. Each capsule costs P1.00 per piece, on top of the cost of the herbal medicine.

Dr. Liu says we can expect around 6 to 10 centimeters growth in 6 to 12 months. If that is true, Patch would be extremely happy!

And so we wait… I will be back after a year to tell you if it was effective.

Meanwhile, I’ll make sure Patch gets plenty of sleep while taking 12 capsules  a day of her new tien chit.

Beijing Tong Ren Tang Philippines is located at 103 Jose Abad Santos Street, Little Baguio, San Juan City, Metro Manila. Call +632 4701805 for appointments. Consultations start at Php600. Acupuncture costs around Php1200 per session. Cost of herbal medicines depend on the type and quantity. I paid a whole lot more than the tien chit we used to buy in Binondo. So I’m hoping this works.

~~~

Disclaimer: These are my opinions and should not be taken as expert medical advise.

Comments

  1. Hi Charlene. Thanks for stopping by. Hmmm, unfortunately she gained very little height. However, this doesn’t mean the meds aren’t effective for everyone. My daughter’s classmate has better experience, gaining around 5-6 inches. It just didn’t work for us.

  2. Hi Louis Albert. It did not work as expected on my daughter, probably because we got started too late. For guys, I hear from other Chinese parents that they start giving tien chit to their sons as soon as their adam’s apple starts showing. So that’s around early puberty I guess, 12-13 years.

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