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Nin Jiom Pei Pa Koa

Chinese cough syrup

Nin Jiom is a famous brand name in Asia. Ask almost any Chinese person what is the best cure for a cough and they will most likely tell you "Pei Pa Koa" (Pi Pa Gao, which means Loquat Syrup), the main product of Nim Jiom. Founded in 1946, Nin Jiom Medicine Manufactory Limited has become one of the leading Chinese medicine manufacturers in Hong Kong. Nowadays, Nin Jiom Herbal Cough Syrup is popular and available in over 20 countries around the world.

The story of Nim Jiom and its syrup begins with Yeung Kan (also known as Yang Xiaolan), a Qing Dynasty official (provincial commander), who was born around 1880. His mother was suffering from a serious lung condition, with persistent coughing, for which he searched for a cure. He found a successful remedy in a loquat syrup, using the recipe of Ip Tin- See, a famous Chinese physician. In memory of his mother, Yeung produced the medicine for others, giving it the name Nim Jiom, which means "memory of mother," and made it freely available to everyone, for posterity. From the story came the inspiration for the Nin Jiom logo - the Filial Piety Trade Mark.

At first, a small factory was set up in Beijing, but during the Sino-Japanese War, the Yeung family fled to Hong Kong and later emigrated to Brazil. The business was sold to a Hong Kong Chinese medicine practitioner, Tse Siu-bong. Nin Jiom Medicine Manufactory was thus established in Hong Kong (Kowloon Peninsula) by this doctor at his Chinese medicine shop. The manufacturing company was incorporated in 1962, and Tse remained head of the company for the next 40 years.

Ip Tin- See
Chinese Physician

Yeung Kan
(Yang Xiaolan)

Nin Jiom filial piety logo
(son serving his mother)

To cope with the increasing demand for the cough syrup, in 1984 the factory was relocated to the New Territories - with a 90,000 sq. ft. plant with fully-automated production lines and the most advanced equipment. The Hong Kong headquarters remains responsible for coordination of the marketing in Hong Kong, Macao, China, Asia, Europe, and the U.S. In 1992 and 1997, the factory was awarded GMP (Good Manufacturing Practices) certification by the Australian Therapeutic Goods Administration and the Pharmaceutical Control Bureau, Ministry of Health of Malaysia, respectively.

A key ingredient in the syrup and derivative products (such as an herbal lozenge made from the same basic ingredients) is fritillaria bulb; the company imports HK$17 million worth (more than 2 million U.S. dollars) from mainland China into Hong Kong annually. Other herbs used in its formula are grown mainly in western China (Sichuan Province), processed in Guangxi Province, and then imported into Hong Kong. The formula also contains loquat leaf (from S.E. China), adenophora root, poria mushroom, citrus peel, platycodon root, pinellia tuber, trichosanthes seed, polygala root, licorice root, ginger rhizome, schizandra fruit, and peppermint. These herbs are well-known for clearing up phlegm congestion, alleviating cough, and soothing a sore throat. It is in a honey base. The product has the reputation of relieving coughing promptly and with a soothing effect and pleasant taste. It is particularly suited for dry cough, irritated throat, and thirst.

Discussing the success of Nin Jiom Pei Pa Koa, Chan Yin, director of the company, said that their corporate mission is to ensure product quality, efficacy, and trustworthiness in the development of Chinese medicine in order to gain worldwide recognition. Nowadays, annual sales turnover of Nin Jiom is HK$400 million (over 50 million U.S. dollars) with steady annual growth. In 1999, Nim Jiom was awarded one of the "Hong Kong Top Ten Brand Names" by the Chinese Manufacturers Association. The product has been available in the United States for more than 20 years and is the leading Chinese cough syrup product here.

Nin Jiom now has three production facilities. The Hong Kong headquarters is responsible for both production and worldwide marketing. The Taiwan factory (pictured here; a 40,000 sq. ft. plant opened in 1996 to replace the older Taiwan facility) is mainly responsible for developing ingredient concentrates and serving the local Taiwan market. The Taiwan factory was awarded the GMP Certificate by the Taiwan Government to signify their products met international standards. The Singapore plant is a production center specializing in the testing of various prescriptions as well as conducting research to find out the most efficient way to produce traditional Chinese medicines.

At the Singapore plant a series of Chinese herb teas have been successfully developed. They include products labeled Cold Remedy, Livereen, Rehmannia Plus, Bestrong and Femalle. These are produced by way of extraction, concentration, and dehydration, an increasingly popular method of preparing traditional Chinese formulas that formerly had to be cooked for an hour or more at home by the consumer. To make these, one simply adds water and they are ready for consumption.

An alternative to the Nim Jiom syrup is Natural Herb Loquat Extract, another product of Hong Kong, that is used for coughs but has a thinner consistency. Some people prefer the thinner syrup, but the thicker Nim Jiom formulation is better when there is a scratchy or sore throat, as it coats the throat and includes herbs that are particularly good for that application, such as platycodon.

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