Researchers are hoping to pinpoint the ailments that compel thousands of people to visit herbalist clinics each week by setting up a database of patients' records. Hong Kong University's faculty of medicine and the Tung Wah Group of Hospitals will study the records to gain more knowledge of traditional medicine. Dean of medicine Professor Chow Shew-ping said: 'We want to give [Chinese medicine] more credibility. We thought we should do this data in a form which can be analysed. 'We have to start asking simple questions like age distribution, if there are more women visiting, children, and what kind of disorder they come to have treated.' Professor Chow said the analysis would then go on to look at how many visits were necessary for treatment - and the dosage of medicine used. Up to 1,000 people visit the free herbalist clinic at the Tung Wah Group of Hospitals in Sheung Wan and the clinic at Kwong Wah Hospital every day. 'In six months, we should know efficiency of the medicine, where there is room for improvement, and what the possible complications are,' Professor Chow said. Hong Kong University cancer researcher Linda Koo Chih-ling said the last time a similar study was done in 1988, about 70 per cent of clinic visitors attended for bone setting, and 30 per cent for gynaecological reasons. She expects the new database to show a different picture. 'There are so many disorders now where Chinese medicine is complementary to other medicine.'