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Herbal Medicine Gains Popularity Among Women (April 7, 2004)

kampo shop
Inside the Nihondo Kampo Museum (Nihondo Co.)
Herbal medicine (kampo) is becoming increasingly popular among Japanese women and is making inroads into their lives in several ways.

In the fall of last year Nihondo Co., which runs a chain of herbal medicine stores around the country, opened the Nihondo Kampo Museum near JR Shinagawa Station in Tokyo. In this facility's Kampo Boutique in Aoyama, where herbal medicine is sold, such products as herb tea are available as well as medicine, and the store does indeed have the atmosphere of a boutique. Pharmacists respond to inquiries from customers, who include many female office workers on their way home from work and female students. There is also a restaurant that offers cuisine with medical seasoning blends of such things as Chinese wolfberry fruit and Chinese date (jujube) and a drink bar stocked with herbal juices. The museum, meanwhile, has a school where people can learn about herbal medicine.

Also in the fall of last year, in collaboration with Nihondo, Kokumin Co., a major drugstore chain, opened a herbal medicine pharmacy in Osaka. And at the end of last year the Wakakusa Kampo Yakkyoku store opened in Tokyo's Ginza, a shopping district where such high-class brands as Chanel and Louis Vuitton are prominent. This store greets its customers, about 90% of whom are women, with a very relaxing atmosphere featuring warm-looking wallpaper, tables decorated with flowers, and comfortable sofas.

Maybe Herbal Medicine Is Just Right for Women
Meanwhile, the weekly magazine Kampo Life began publication in November of last year. Although this magazine does not focus especially on women, about 70% of its readership is female. In addition, an increasing number of university hospitals are setting up special herbal medicine sections for outpatients. The obstetrics and gynecology department of the hospital attached to Toyama Medical and Pharmaceutical University established an outpatient herbal medicine department in 1999, and in the four years since then the number of first-time patients wanting herbal medicine to treat menopausal disorders doubled.

In the background of this growing interest of women in herbal medicine lies their increased awareness of health issues. Rather than turning to medicine for specific illnesses or symptoms, they are interested in taking herbal medicine in order to improve their physical and spiritual condition as a whole. Maybe this idea of treating illnesses by improving underlying physical conditions is what women find appealing about herbal medicine.

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Related Web Sites
Nihondo Co. (site is Japanese only)
Kokumin Co.
Wakakusa Kampo Yakkyoku (site is Japanese only)
Toyama Medical and Pharmaceutical University

Copyright (c) 2004 Web Japan. Edited by Japan Echo Inc. based on domestic Japanese news sources. Articles presented here are offered for reference purposes and do not necessarily represent the policy or views of the Japanese Government.

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