Standing on the antique Hefang Street, Hangzhou, Fanghuichuntang is a flagship pharmacy of Hangzhou’s traditional Chinese medicine industry. It was founded in 1649 by Fang Qingyi, a much-acclaimed local clinic doctor. An accomplished pediatrician born to a long line of pharmacists, Fang was said to have successfully cured the baby grandson of the local county magistrate, who awarded the pill the title of “Xiaoer Huichun Wan” (literally meaning “a pill that is sure to bring infants back to life”). Hence the name of the pharmacy the Fangs later founded.
|The names of Chinese traditional pharmacies usually follow the same structure. Fang-Huichun-Tang: Fang 方 – surname of the owner; Huichun 回春– meaning “bring … back to life”, named after the trademark medicine of the pharmacy; Tang 堂 – “Hall”, as Chinese pharmacies are customarily named|
Turbulences of the first half of the 20th century plunged most trades into depression. Though having survived the wars (both against Japanese Invasion and the Civil War), Fanghuichuntang, along with most other pharmacies, merely struggled to keep operating until being nationalized in 1956. It was not until 45 years later that it was reorganized and reopened under its previous brand name.
The business philosophy of Fanghuichuntang is summarized in the Fangs’ ancestral doctrine, reading “it is all right to make a profit, but despicable to sell under-quality products”.
The couplet hanging in the central hall of Fanghuichuntang, reading "to develop eight thousand drug recipes to help the people's health, and to gather highly-skilled doctors to bring patients back to life", which suggests its "ambitious" good wishes.
At Laba Festival, Hangzhou citizens queue up for the "Laba Porridge" distributed for free by Fanghuichuntang.
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