Chinese Medicine

In Pingyao, a tour guide named Mr. Liu approached me on the street advertising his tour that included a visit to the Chinese doctor. Since I’m quite interested in different forms of medicine, I decided it would be worth a shot. Additionally, Mr. Liu had a notebook full of testimonies from happy customers and seemed like a genuinely nice man.

We visited a few hold homes, and then went to see the doctor. Apparently this doctor is the most famous in Pingyao. This claim might have some merit considering there were about 15 other people in the office when we arrived, all of whom locked eyes on me the instant I walked through the door.

We were able to leapfrog some of the other patients and soon I was having my pulse taken. The process included one reading on each wrist for about a minute or so. The doctor soon started listing my symptoms. They seemed a bit vague, like a horoscope that works for a large number of people.

“Do you sometimes have headaches?”

“Well, yes”

“And your lips are dry.”

“Yes, but you can tell that by looking at them.”

Just like that I was diagnosed. The cost was about 25 cents for my consultation and it took all of 3 minutes. Mr. Liu looked at me sternly and said, “don’t worry, it isn’t very serious.” That’s a relief I thought, but soon the doctor had scurried off to find my medicine as I protested that I felt fine. After about 10 minutes, he came back a bit disappointed. I was informed that he didn’t have the neccesary medicine for my condition. He said I should avoid sugary foods, and with that we had a photo op, said goodbye and continued on our tour of the cobbled streets of Pingyao.

My visit to the Chinese doctor was more comical than anything else, but it was an interesting glimpse at Chinese medicine. While I was there, “pharmacists” were chopping up a variety of herbs for patients, many of which included five star anise. I don’t doubt that some of these concoctions help people, perhaps more so than cold medicine or aspirin. I guess the true test will be a visit when I’m actually not feeling well.


3 Responses to “Chinese Medicine”

  1. Adam Says:

    did you print out a coupon for this too?

  2. Auntie Annette Says:

    Hi Ed,
    Caught up with you today. I know that Michael would enjoy reading about your experience with Chinese medicine. Right now he is in NYC. Very busy and finally beginning his new home in Sun Valley. Such problems they have had! Unnecessary for certain. It’s life I guess.

    When do you plan to come back to the USA? I love your journal and have given your site to friends and they are also enjoying.

    Had a great visit w/Uncle John — problem is that it wasn’t long enough. He left this morning!

    Well, hope to see you upon your return and continue to educate us. You are doing a fantastic job.

    Love you Auntie

  3. Joanne Says:

    Hi Ed!

    It’s wonderful to sit here at 11 pm and catch up on your blog. Just reading it makes me want to put China on my list! I’m really impressed that you can travel alone; you should write a book 🙂

    It’s so special to have time with Courtney, but we’re looking forward to having you home safe and sound. We have a really special little girl to show off, and I can’t wait for you to meet her. No, not Maddie; Belen!

    Safe travels, and keep the blogs coming!


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