For hundreds of years, the people of Vietnam have used opium as a sedative and cure-all, and addiction, especially in rural areas, is common. After every harvest, the elders have been able to continue using opium, but the younger opium users eventually run out and have had to get clean until the opium is plentiful again. Simpler versions of Heantos have been always used in these villages to make withdrawals more comfortable.
Heantos was first concocted in the 1980’s in a lab as a potent tea by Dr. Tran Khuong Dan, one of Vietnam's foremost herbalists, whose father and brother died hopelessly addicted to opiates. Mr. Dan, pronounced Zen, set out to find a cure for addiction using traditional, natural ingredients. He traveled the length and breadth of his country, where many people still swear by herbal cures over more modern medicines. He conferred with the local herbalists and healers, culling secret homemade remedies used for addiction treatment for ages. He scoured traditional Chinese and modern medical texts to learn as much as he could about addiction and methods of treatment. Then, he made himself dependent first on opium, and then on heroin. After six months of intensive trials using his own body as a research laboratory, he developed a new traditional medicine remedy from extractions of thirteen plants and herbs. And when he broke his addiction, he knew he had succeeded in his quest. It was given the name of Heantos - a play on the words "heat of the sun”, from an ancient Greek word meaning “health-giving plants”.
Starting in 1995, the Vietnam Academy of Science and Technology (VAST) cooperated with Dan's group for scientific developments of Heantos. The ingredients were isolated into three components, and refined by chemists to be most effective for each of the effects of withdrawals off of opiates. Now, through the improvement of the extraction method and the standardization of the composition of ingredients, these three components, called Heantos 1, 2, and 3, are now produced as hard capsules at 0.5 grams each. This is what is now referred to as "Heantos 4" or more simply, HEANTOS.
Weren’t there a few Heantos deaths in the 1990’s?
The truth of those cases is unclear, but not to worry, that all happened well before the scientific development of Heantos4 pills. Those few cases involved the unregulated doses of Heantos syrup, not pills.