TCM company tastes success with new drink

TCM company tastes success with new drink

Chinese medicinal tonics are usually bitter and not everyone's cup of tea.

To make them more palatable for a greater number of consumers, traditional Chinese medicine (TCM) firm Poli Medical set out to make a less bitter potion.

The push was led by Mr Dylan Hu, 28, a director of Poli Medical, who joined the business two years ago. Poli Medical was established by his father 40 years ago.

The younger Mr Hu was keen to help the firm expand into the region with new products appealing to a wider consumer base.

So he worked with the Food Innovation Resource Centre (FIRC) at Singapore Polytechnic to develop a Chinese herbal tonic, called Ling Zhi Immunity.

The bottled tonic is now sold here and in the Philippines, Cambodia and Myanmar.

Mr Hu also wanted to develop an "East meets West" potion, which would use traditional Chinese herbs fortified with vitamins from Western medicine.

"Lingzhi is notorious for its pungency and bitterness. The challenge was to make it less bitter, and then add to its 'strength' with Western supplements like vitamin B1, B2, B6 and C, zinc as well as other Chinese herbs like red dates, longans and wolfberries," he said.

In the last two years, he worked with the centre to find the right level of bitterness.

After all, consumers familiar with Chinese tonics would not accept the product if it did not taste somewhat bitter like all traditional Chinese medicine, he said.

FIRC's food technologist Ruzaini Hashwam was nervous as he had never taken traditional Chinese medicine and had no idea what it would taste like.

"But in the end, this turned out to be an advantage because I could give better input," Mr Ruzaini said.

He took the time to learn about Chinese herbs and how to make traditional herbal tonics. He wanted to know how long herbs would boil before being ready to drink or before turning bitter.

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