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New ’cooling’ water to help beat the heat

Rachel Soon
Medical Writer
12 Dec 2018
Terence Then, speaking at the Cooltopia launch.

A new ‘cooling’ drink product incorporating elements of traditional Chinese medicine (TCM) was launched in Kuala Lumpur recently.

Cooltopia Cooling Water, a new product by the Wen Ken group, is a modernized version of the company’s flagship Three Legs Cooling Water product, which has been produced and sold in the country since 1937.

“The drink is formulated with purified water and natural (pharmaceutical-grade) gypsum fibrosum and calcitum, which are ingredients recorded in the official Chinese Pharmacopoeia,” said pharmacist Terence Then, sales executive with the Wen Ken Group.

Gypsum fibrosum (shi gao) and calcitum (han shui shi) are both naturally occurring minerals with historical use in TCM. Gypsum fibrosum is primarily composed of anhydrous calcium sulphate, while calcitum or calcite stone is a form of calcium carbonate. Both are commonly included in combination with other TCM ingredients to provide a ‘cooling’ effect in compounded formulations.

In the theory of traditional Chinese medicine (TCM), the ideal state of the human body is one where elements of ‘heat’ and ‘cold’ are balanced. The concept of ‘heatiness’ refers to an excess of the former, which can manifest in some individuals in the form of feverishness, sore throat, mouth ulcers, acne, dark urine and/or excessive thirst.

Animal trials of gypsum fibrosum have previously reported measurable antipyretic effects on lipopolysaccharide-induced pyrexia in rat models. One possible mechanism explored is that the element stimulates expression of the protein aquaporin-3 (AQP-3), which plays a key role in maintaining water content within skin cells. [Asian J Tradit Med 2009;4(2):82–84; Biol Pharm Bull 2013;doi:10.1248/bpb.b13-00494]

Conditions that may induce excessive ‘heatiness’ include long-term exposure to hot and humid weather, insufficient rest, stress, hormonal changes, as well as consumption of foods with ‘heaty’ elements such as durians, deep fried foods and curries. ‘Heaty’ foods are typically those that increase blood circulation, stimulate the body, and have high calorific value and cooking temperatures.

Terence highlighted that a state of ‘heatiness’ was different from a state of fever as the latter was a symptom in reaction to infection by pathogens, while the former referred more to an experience of internal heat within the body, which could occur due to non-infective reasons.

Speaking at the launch, Then added that the more contemporary packaging and the introduction of fruit flavours to the traditional formulation is intended to make it suitable for a wider range of consumers as a preventive and corrective solution for ‘heatiness’, as well as an ordinary thirst-quenching beverage.

According to Then, Cooltopia is indicated for traditional use in fever relief and body ‘heatiness.’ Its recommended maximum consumption in adults is one bottle four times daily, with half volumes for children between 7 to 12 years of age, and quarter volumes for children 4 to 6 years of age.

“It is also safe for diabetics to consume, but in moderation,” he added, clarifying that there was no added sugar content to the product.

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