Australian Government Department of the Environment, Water, Heritage and the Arts, 2009
This fact sheet provides information on the importation of Po Chai and Chi Kit pills containing the CITES Appendix I plant ingredient known as Saussurea costus (Aucklandia lappa, Aucklandia radix) into Australia. It should be read in conjunction with the general information sheet entitled The Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora (CITES), the brochure Pills, plants and animals - A guide to complementary medicines trade and conservation, and the general information sheet entitled How to export or import wildlife products.
The Australian Government is committed to protecting and conserving wildlife by regulating international trade. This helps protect threatened species against overexploitation, and Australian ecosystems against the introduction of invasive species.
The Australian Government also works with other nations to protect wildlife globally, by implementing CITES (see CITES fact sheet mentioned above).
In Australia, the export and import of wildlife and wildlife products is regulated under Part 13A of the Environment Protection and Biodiversity Conservation Act 1999 (EPBC Act), which is administered by the Department of Sustainability, Environment, Water, Population and Communities.
Regulation applies equally to individuals, commercial organisations and not-for-profit organisations.
Po Chai, Chi Kit and CITES
One factor driving the wildlife trade is the demand for plant and animal derivatives for use as health supplements in complementary medicines (also known as traditional or alternative medicines). These medicines include vitamin, mineral, plant or herbal, naturopathic and/or homeopathic preparations and nutritional supplements.
Po Chai and Chi Kit pills contain a plant ingredient known as Saussurea costus, which is a plant in the family Asteraceae.
Saussurea costus has the pin yin name Xue Lian Hua and can also be referred to as:
Aucklandia, Changala, Kushtha, Kustam, Kur, Lao Mu Xiang, Yunmuxiang, Putchu, Gashtam, Koshta, Kukuth root, Kustam, Post-khai, Saussurea radix, Seppudy.
Saussurea costus is listed on Appendix I of CITES. Appendix I includes species that are threatened with extinction. Personal or commercial trade in Appendix I plant species is permitted only if the specimen was obtained from an approved artificial propagation operation, or if the specimen was harvested before its listing on CITES (pre-CITES). As medicines usually demand fresh ingredients, pre-CITES specimens are generally not used.
The full list of CITES species can be viewed at: www.environment.gov.au/biodiversity/wildlife-trade/lists/cites/pubs/cites.pdf
Exports and imports
Saussurea costus specimens cannot legally be exported from or imported into Australia for personal or commercial purposes, unless they are accompanied by valid CITES export and import permits or a valid pre-CITES Certificate (see below). Permits to import or export may only be granted for Saussurea costus obtained from an approved artificial propagation program.
Specimens of CITES species acquired before the provisions of CITES were applied to that species are not subject to normal permit requirements. Eligible specimens may be exported or imported under a pre-CITES certificate issued by the CITES management authority of the country of export.
Under the EPBC Act, all products claiming on their packaging or labelling (in pictures or words) to contain material from threatened species will be treated as though they do.
What else do I need to know?
Exports and imports of wildlife and wildlife products may also be subject to regulation under the Customs Act 1901 (administered by the Australian Customs and Border Protection Service) and the Quarantine Act 1908 (administered by the Australian Quarantine and Inspection Service). These organisations may be contacted through offices in each state capital, or through their head offices:
Australian Customs and Border Protection Service
5 Constitution Avenue
Canberra ACT 2601
Telephone: 02 6275 6666
Freecall: 1300 363 263
Australian Quarantine and Inspection Service (AQIS)
GPO Box 858
Canberra ACT 2601
Telephone: 02 6272 3933
Freecall: 1800 020 504
Where can I get more information?
For more information on permits, please read the general information sheet entitled Permits to export or import wildlife and wildlife products or contact the department at the address below:
Department of Sustainability, Environment, Water, Population and Communities
Wildlife Trade Regulation Section
GPO BOX 787
Canberra ACT 2601
Phone: 02 6274 1900
Facsimile: 02 6274 1921
Therapeutic Goods Administration Office of Complementary Medicines
PO Box 100
Woden ACT 2606
Telephone: 02 6232 8634 or 1800 020 653
International: +61 2 6232 8634
Facsimile: 02 6232 8577