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China sees soaring medicinal herb prices

BEIJING, Jan. 5 (UPI) -- Soaring prices of herbs used in traditional Chinese medicine are being blamed on supply shortages and closing down of herbal plantations, officials said.

The China Association of Traditional Chinese Medicine found an average price rise of 84 percent for 537 traditional herbs, with prices of some medicines increasing by more than 300 percent, China Daily reported.

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Jinyinhua, or Japanese honeysuckle, used to treat colds, costs four times more than a year ago.

And taizishen, or false starwort, commonly used to tone the body, has risen from $3.60 a pound to $16 a pound.

Some retailers and clinics have stopped selling medicines with the greatest price increases.

With crop prices rising, many peasant farmers have cut down their herbal plantations in favor of growing crop plants, causing total production of herbs to drop 20 percent since 2,000, China Daily said.

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