The price of the mung bean has hit an all-time high in China after a health expert promoted its bodily benefits on television, Times Online reported.
The wholesale price of one pound of the little green beans reached 8.3 yuan ($1.22) per pound last month, up from 2.5 yuan (37 cents) per pound a year ago, according to Chinese officials. Since last month, the wholesale price has slightly decreased at 6.5 yuan (95 cents) per pound today.
Many people say this sudden spike in price can be attributed to Chinese health guru Zhang Wuben’s recommendation of the mung bean, though Chinese officials have yet to acknowledge the Hunan Television talk show host played any role in the matter. Officials have even gone as far to denounce Zhang as having any medical credibility.
Zhang’s book “Eat Out the Diseases You Have Eaten” contains recipes that feature the mung bean and sold 3 million copies three years ago. The 47-year-old Zhang also runs a health clinic in eastern Beijing, where he sees 50 patients a day. Clients usually have to wait two years to see the health guru for a price of 1,800 yuan or more than $264.
But the clinic has been closed since Saturday and the health TV personality hasn’t been located.
In the past, Zhang has prescribed his patients to drink a mixture of stewed mung beans and licorice root instead of all other drinks.
Zhang was recently quoted as saying that his health advice including what foods are best to eat isn’t a factor in any food price increase.
“The rising prices are completely unrelated to my food treatment,” Zhang said. “I am a man, not a god. You can’t say that I have anything to do with a rise in the price of eggplant simply because I say to eat eggplant. Hot peppers are what I oppose most strongly, but their price has risen too.”