While the country was excited by the successful return of the Shenzhou XI manned spacecraft to Earth, Shenlingcao -- a healthcare food containing a traditional Chinese medicine recipe and produced by Jiangzhong Group -- attracted its own kind of widespread attention because it went up into space to maintain the health of the astronauts.
Shenlingcao consists of ginseng, lingzhi mushroom, cordyceps sinensis and rose. It was developed by China's leading over-the-counter pharmaceutical company, Jiangzhong Group, to enhance the astronauts' immunity during their training and space trips. In the long run, the group plans to make the product available to retailing distribution channels, so that consumers can use it to enhance their health, said Zhong Hongguang, chairman of Jiangzhong Group.
Because space food is subjected to special conditions during space flight such as microgravity and radiation, it must achieve much higher production requirements. To meet them the company installed advanced automatic equipment from Germany and Switzerland at its own production line for Shenlingcao.
This is the world's first completely automated liquid traditional Chinese medicine production line, which carries out the entire production process for the space food in a fully enclosed and monitored unmanned workshop.
The company says the space food is the end result of its determination to perform more scientific research. According to Zhong, the company invests at least 4 percent of its annual revenues into research and development. It is the only Chinese pharmaceutical company which has established four national research centers. "The research and development of space food will not bring immediate profit to our company, but we are willing to do it. It shows that our technology has taken the lead in China and even the world," said Zhong.