Tung Shueh is a Chinese herbal remedy used as an anti-inflammatory to ease joint pain and arthritis. The Cow’s Head brand is the Tung Shueh most commonly sought after in the United States in spite of reports of undeclared substances found in it.
“Tung” means “circulate” and “shueh” means “blood” in Chinese. Tung Shueh is not trademarked and is used to refer to a wide variety of herbal remedies that claim to promote circulation and ease pain.
Different brands of Tung Shueh contain as many as fifteen varying ingredients. The herbal remedies angelicae sinensis root and rhizoma homalomenea are found in most varieties of Tung Shueh.
Tung Shueh users have tested positive for diazepam (Valium), an ingredient not listed on the Tung Shueh label that is illegal to sell or purchase without a prescription. Mefenamic acid, an NSAID pain reliever, has also been found in Tung Shueh, though not listed on its label.
Certain compounds often found in Tung Shueh such as aristolochic acid and mefenamic acid and the flavonoids cianidanol or sciadopitysin are known to cause renal failure.
The Cow’s Head brand of Tung Shueh is illegal in the United States due to the findings of diazepam (Valium) and mefenamic acid (NSAID) in these pills. Purchasing any brand of Tung Shueh is risky since many Chinese remedies refer to themselves as Tung Shueh regardless of the ingredients.