Traditional herbalists do a thriving trade

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A nineteenth century British medical officer confidently dismissed Chinese medicine as 'empiricism and quackery' but in Hong Kong alone there are several thousand traditional Chinese medical practitioners and their business shows no sign of diminishing.

Many Chinese doctors and herbalists spend as much time with perfectly fit patients as those suffering from ailments. There is a tremendous emphasis on enhancing sexual potency. Products like powdered Rhino horn are often mixed with other animal and herbal derivatives to produce both aphrodisiacs and other sexual performance enhancing stimulants.

There is a close relationship between the strength and agility of wild animals and the use of their products in medicines which are supposed to reproduce these characters in humans.

Chinese medicine has a use for practically every living creature from insects to large mammals such as tigers, whose paws are served at more exclusive Chinese banquets, bringing the promise of a longer life. A small number of specialist restaurants have Chinese herbalists on hand to help put together meals which respond to the health needs of diners.

Despite the cumbersome preparation and the lack of additives to make the medicines more digestible, these remedies are gaining a wider acceptance outside the Chinese community.