Herbal Medicine

On our last day at Peking Union Medical College Hospital, we were taken to a community pharmacy in Beijing that was one of three pharmacies in the city that was known to have the best traditional herbs. Aside from the regular counter, the pharmacy had its own counter for traditional herbs and included several employees dressed as nurses who were experts in this field. A total of eight herbs were presented at the counter to us, but with the language barrier and the difficulty of translating these into English, we did not know the exact names. Many of the other glass shelves within the pharmacy also displayed herbal medicines and their prices. One of the herbals we managed to find in English was wild ganoderma lucidum, used to prolong life and longevity. Other surprising items we saw for purchase included deer antlers and dried lizards.

Beside the herbal medicine counter, there was also a consultation room where patients could wait and see the doctor for recommendations on traditional Chinese medicine. In this room, it contained the four posters of the most famous doctors of traditional Chinese medicine.

Throughout the OTC aisles contained many teas and other herbal medicines used for certain conditions. One of the herbals I was familiar with that was available is Fufang Banlangen Keli, which my mother introduced to me when I was young. It is used as a cold/flu medicine and comes in packets of dry granules which are dissolved in hot water. Drinking this helps relieve sore throat, fever, and inflammation.

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