Shares in a Hong Kong distributor of a traditional Chinese cough syrup surged as much as 55 per cent on Monday following a report the product was becoming popular in the US.

Hong Kong local media over the weekend picked up a Wall Street Journal article from Thursday touting the reported benefits of Nin Jiom Pei Pa Koa, a syrup distributed by Kingworld Medicines Group, sending the company’s share price rocketing on Monday.

The Journal said the popularity of the syrup had grown through word of mouth and that while it could be bought in Chinese pharmacies in the US for $7, it was also sold for as much as $70 online through third parties. However, the newspaper also cautioned that taking herbal supplements could create potential health risks.

Nin Jiom Pei Pa Koa is said to have been created during the Qing dynasty after a provincial commander asked the royal family’s doctor to cure his mother’s cough. The resulting syrup was a mix of natural herbs and honey. Nion jiom means “in memory of my mother”.

Those singing the praises of the cough syrup in the WSJ piece are not the only people in the US to have discovered the product. Singer Jason Mraz said in 2015 that he drinks “a shot” of the syrup with mint tea before performances and recommends the concoction to other performers.

Nion Jiom Pei Pa Koa accounted for 42.6 per cent of Kingworld’s total sales for the six months to the end of June 2017.

Kingworld shares were up 33.6 per cent in afternoon trading in Hong Kong.

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