Sustainable Cultivation: Sun Ten Organic Shi Hu (Dendrobium)

Award-Winning Sustainable Cultivation

Sun Ten's ingenuity has led to the research and development of a sustainable method of cultivating medicinal dendrobium. Winning the 2020 Shennong Award for agricultural innovation, their method to promote organic growth involved using biodegradable tape to attach dendrobium seedlings to betelnut trees. The resulting harvested dendrobium had greater potency compared to imported wild-grown types. Dendrobium will feature in Sun Ten's upcoming Energy Jelly product. 

What is Dendrobium used for in TCM?

Shi Hu is the stem part of the Dendrobium genus plant (orchids). It is traditionally used in Chinese medicine to tonify Kidney Yin and Stomach Yin with its sweet flavour and cool nature, generating fluids to treat Yin Deficiency. Research shows medicinal effects include antiangiogenic, immunomodulating, antidiabetic, neuroprotective, hepatoprotective, anti-inflammatory, antifungal, antibacterial, antiherpetic, aquaporin-5 stimulating, and alleviation of hyperthyroidism symptoms. [1] 

More Information

You can learn more about how and why Sun Ten chose to cultivate their own supply of dendrobium in this video: 

[2,160 days deep in the mountains of Nantou new value for herbal medicine in Taiwan was created] Dendrobium is an important raw material in Traditional Chinese medicine and we previously relied on Chinese imports of wild dendrobium. To produce better quality medicine, we decided to grow our own. My name is Chuang Wu-Chang (PhD, Sun Ten President). I have been in the TCM industry for over 20 years. [Locally cultivating medicine dendrobium for better medicine] Seven years ago, I brought Dr. Hsieh Jui-yu onboard to help with the Sun Ten medicine dendrobium cultivation project. At the time it seemed like a simple idea but nothing is ever simple. No one in Taiwan has ever tried to do this and we failed a countless number of times, over hundreds of thousands of dendrobiums. For the first three years we cultivated seedlings, and eventually we found our answer in the betelnut trees of Nantou. [In search of sustainability: six years of R&D] The dendrobium is an orchid, and although Taiwan is well-known for growing ornamental orchids, cultivating medicinal dendrobium is incredibly difficult. We explored various methods, from growing them in greenhouses to planting in artificial soil outdoors, all the way up betelnut trees as epiphytes, where we had our breakthrough. We wanted to find the perfect environment where dendrobium can flourish organically, free of pesticides while producing zero waste. In the search for sustainability, we even developed a patented technique, using biodegradable tape that not only mounts but also helps the plant retain moisture.  [Sustainably revolutionising dendrobium cultivation] In 2020 we received the Shennong Award, an accolade for agricultural innovation, for our method of cultivating medicinal dendrobium. We plan on using dendrobium farming to help transform the local betelnut tree industry. To produce organic medicine dendrobium our team looked to biomimetic agriculture. Weeding by hand, reducing the amount of fertilizer and water and not using pesticides, we were able to grow dendrobium that was even more potent. This is one of our researches, Bai Zong-yan. When he read the lab report saying the potency of the dendrobium we grew was several times that of the imported ones, you can tell he was really proud of his job here. [The more adverse the growing conditions, the better the quality. A glimpse of the truth of life from medicinal dendrobium.] Over the course of decades, our scientists have achieved many milestones. Their research, knowledge and experience are passed down to new teams and partners through a framework built on trust. And our customers trust us to produce safe and effective products, which we are doing, while striving to use locally produced medicinal herbs. [The future of Sun Ten, the future of Taiwan's TCM.] Now that we have achieved our own sustainable supply of medicinal dendrobium, we are currently working on using smart farming technology to control stability and cost, and developing new formulas where the efficacy of dendrobium can be applied. I believe this is the way to innovate new value for the TCM industry in Taiwan, and to become a key player in the world. [Persevere in product quality, in accordance with the value of life. In the last 75 years, Sun Ten has been a leader of Taiwan's TCM industry. Sun Ten was the first to produce bottled TCM herbal extracts, receive multinational GMP factory certifications, establish a professional laboratory for TCM quality analyses, establish a medicinal dendrobium farm. Driven by innovation, Sun Ten continues to establish and strengthen key links in Taiwan's TCM industry. Sun Ten's mission to care for people through TCM is as important as its philosophy to give back to nature what has been taken. Sustainable product is Sun Ten's strategy to usher in a new era of sustainable business.] 

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