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May 30th, 2008 | categorizilation: all categories,China

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In the instructions for the “Tranquilizing Mind and Replenishing Brain Liquor”:

Points for attention:

1. Pugent and fatty food is forbidden, also avoid cigarette and wine.
2. Keep optimistic mood and avoid getting angry or indignant while taking this medicine.

I visited a pharmacy in downtown Shanshan today hoping to get some regular antacid medicine for the heartburn I have been suffering lately. You know, the general, run-of-the-mill Zantac or Quikease or something.

As I entered the pharmacy, the pugent scent of exoitc herbs and dried animal bits assaulted my nostrils. It was kind of like walking into cosmetics section on the ground floor of a department store, except instead of a smell of synthetic man-made substances, it was a smell of nature, concentrated 100-fold into mysterious glass viles sitting on the countertops.

From the time I stepped into the pharmacy, I had the feeling that I was not going to find any run-of-the-mill western medicines here. But I decided to give it a go anyway.

The pharmacist I spoke to was an attractive middle-aged woman who blushed and glanced nervously at her workmates as I approached her. We went through the same blundering awkward routine that I always go through when the local is not sure if they will be able to communicate. They go to say something, but then at the last minute turn away, smiling a fake smile that covers their embarrassment.

I quickly pulled out my notebook and scrawled indigestion in Japanese (Chinese characters) on the page. She smiled in relief and motioned for me to follow her. She pulled out a mysterious looking package with Arabic and Chinese lettering.

Chinese indigestion medicine (Shanshan, Xinjiang Province, China)

On the back of the package, under the ingredients, in the Chinese characters, I could make out lots of references to various types of trees, grass, dirt, stones (Southern Cold Water Stone, no less), claws, birds, and skin. I said I would give it a go. Three times a day, four pellets a time.

I mentioned in passing that I was very tired after doing all the strenuous traveling. The pharmacist gave me a thoughtful look and pulled out a large box. The characters on the front I recognised as “Peace Spirit Brain (something) Fluid”. I turned the box over and there was a description in English. Tranquilizing Mind and Replenishing Brain Liquor it spouted it large lettering. Sounds like fun, I thought, so I bought it too. In the ingredients I recognised the characters for mushroom, sheep, possibly testicles but I’m not sure, grass, fruit, bird, and neck. It really is a lot of fun when you can recognise many but not all of the characters. How the mind relishes in filling in the blanks…

I took the two medicines back to my hotel (60RMB later), and opened up the brain liquor.

For tranquilizing the brain (Shanshan, Xinjiang Province, China)

For a split second I thought I had bought something to be administered intravenously. I expected to find a large drill and long needles to gain access directly to my cranium. However no, these fears were unfounded. Innocent straws were included. The brain juice is taken orally through the straw from the small viles.

I made sure to read the instructions before consuming my first vile, and among other things, I was instructed under no uncertain terms to abide by the rule at the beginning of this post:

2. Keep optimistic mood and avoid getting angry or indignant while taking this medicine.

Right’o. No worries. Will do.

The indigestion pellets, by the way, taste like sulfur.

If exotic species of plant begin growing out of my nostrils, I will be sure to take photos.

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    Permanent Link     Comments (9)

Comment by Keith — May 31, 2008 @ 1:33 am | post a comment

Google says that you are eating concrete. Hope it doesn't slow you down too much ;-)

"The invention provides a soft capsule for calming the nerves and nourishing the brain, which is prepared from concrete powder, suspension auxiliary agent and light-screening agent. The invention also discloses the process for preparing the soft capsule and its quality control method."

Comment by rob — May 31, 2008 @ 6:11 am | post a comment

Old peolple in China highly reconmend Caterpillar fungus for all kinds of ailments.


They come in various grades. The best ones being bloody expensive. Example US$1,500 for a box of 12… Those ones come in a wooden cigar presentation box. I'm sure there are better vintages though. I've heard some families having one tucked away for emergencies. Nibble half and it can bring you back from the dead. That comes from a reliable source too. Perhaps it may be the answer for you Rob…. Spend all your remaining money on a really expensive caterpillar…..Just a thought…..

Comment by haidee rich — June 2, 2008 @ 3:23 am | post a comment


It sounds like your having a tough time at the moment, after biking to work for the 1st time in years today I felt a smidgen of your pain, nothing comparable but i feel sympathy for your woes. Scenes will change soon enough for you I am sure-may you find reason to rejoice in all moments.

Comment by Charlie — June 2, 2008 @ 9:06 am | post a comment

Rob, I know it's not easy, but you have peolpe here making the treck with you. We are learning and enjoying the second hand discoveries. Your efforts are truly appreciated.

The Pensacola people are behind you.


Comment by Lo-IQ — June 2, 2008 @ 2:47 pm | post a comment

I've been abit self absorbed with my impending trip and everytime I wander back here, the adventure seems to just get bigger, now going to have a good catch up to see what been going on.

in the meantime the very best regards from darkest surrey.

Pingback by japanese trees — June 2, 2008 @ 8:26 pm | post a comment

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Comment by Aunty Les — June 3, 2008 @ 3:44 pm | post a comment

Will be interested to hear how the Chinese medicine worked. It's been around for centuries and I'm sure much of it is as good as our Western stuff.

Comment by Daniel N. Lang — June 6, 2008 @ 10:52 am | post a comment

Gidday Rob!

The slogan on the medicine reminds me a lot to a slogan I had on a Chinese coke:

Future Cola – Future will be better!


It's kind of entertaining to read that on a long boring day on the road :-)

And I guess you've kept an optimistic mood and are much better

Greetings from the GRAND CANYON, USA,


Comment by CC — June 7, 2008 @ 5:34 pm | post a comment

Hi Rob!

From the sounds of the brain liquor, and the warning, I wouldn't be surprised if it was psyllociban (not quite sure if i spelled that right) extract.

I'm behind on the times, but am planning to catch up over the next few days.

Peace, brother.


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