March 16, 2009

The Eew! factor of TCM

When we visited Chinatown in Binondo, one of the many places we went to was a drugstore that sold ingredients for Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM). Many cultures all over the world have their own body of herbal medicine lore, but TCM goes beyond herbal medicine and many of its ingredients are exotic, to say the least. Not so exotic but it brought out an exclamation of "Eew!" from me nevertheless, is this dried common house gecko (we call them tuko because of the distinctive sound they make). TCM states that it is good for the lungs, kidneys, blood and digestive system. Depending on what disease is being treated, it can be used alone or with other ingredients, and boiled as a tea or ground into powder. TCM is based on the idea of balance—yin and yang—and dried geckos are always sold in pairs, one male and one female. Traditional Chinese Medicine seems to be a field that even modern medical doctors and researchers find fascinating, maybe because it actually works. But I can't imagine drinking gecko tea. Can you?

a pair of dried geckos used in Traditional Chinese Medicine

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38 comments:

Olivier said...

en effet voilà quelque chose de très bizarre, personnellement je préfère le thé ;o))
in effect here is something very strange, personally I prefer tea; o))

nobu said...

Suprised!!

Cezar and Léia said...

wowwwwwww
It is...It is...It is...so weird!
I like tee indeed but I agree with you Hilda,I can't imagine drinking gecko tea!

RuneE said...

It seems a bit strange to me and besides, my doctors would forbid since it is sure to clash with my collection of medicines.

Jacob said...

There are some things I just can't eat not matter how "good" they are supposed to be for me.

A nice photo, Hilda, but I've still got to echo, "Eew"!

Aileni said...

Not good for the Geko.

one buddhess said...

Yay!!!! I'm not sure I can take that either...

Lois said...

Eew!!!! My feelings exactly. If I were to try any of these medicines, I would rather not know what is in them!

Vogon Poet said...

Gecko tea. Magical! I feel already better without ever drinking it...
That's probably the oddest photo around today! Great post!

George said...

I encountered TCM while teaching in China. It often worked, but I quickly learned not to ask what was in the medicine I was given!

J.C. said...

This is very fascinating. I didn't know that in TCM, gecko is also used, and even sold in pairs!

I am not keen on TCM coz most of the time the medicine is bitter. Although the medicine usually works, I will try to avoid it. Unless the medicine comes in pill/capsule forms. No powdery or boiled black concoction for me...shudder!

Jarart said...

Eew indeed!

Daryl said...

Weirdly odd

Steffe said...

Nope, I still prefer green tea!

Kim said...

Hilda, Fascinating and great to see these, but mark me in the "Eeewww!" column, too! I'll stick with basic ginseng or green tea or not ask what else is involved in the prescription. :-)
I hope no one has mentioned this to the GEICO Gecko!(Do you see those ads where you are. . .in the states there are humorous ads featuring a very charming gecko which speaks in an Australian accent.)
-Kim

Martin in Bulgaria said...

If you are ill you would be surprised what peopel would try to get better. It make me ill just with the thought.

zentmrs said...

Eww is right! Nice shot!

Marc said...

Poor geckos...

Jackie said...

I'm with you on that - eeewwww!

Thanks for your comment and kind words today. I'm sadly not at the editing stage yet, but still writing (will be for quite some time - hopefully I'll have a good full draft of the thesis by September and then the editing/rewriting really starts in earnest. I want to have it finished by the end of the year though - I've had enough of it now!!).

Sterl the Pearl's Daily Pics of Boulder said...

super yuck! cool pic, though! :)

Nathalie said...

No gecko tea for me, thanks.
Now that photo definitely deserves a +++ mention in the "odd picture" gotha!

raf said...

It's a winning Odd Shot, Hilda, but it would take a lot more than a spoonful of sugar to make that medicine go down!

lunarossa said...

I'm usually fine with TCM, but gecko tea, gosh, what next? Tortoise coffee and butterfly cocoa??? You have to draw a line somewhere....Ciao. A.

Ursel said...

Not knowing what I'm drinking, maybe I could drink it.
And now I wonder how to brew such Gecko to become tea.
I like TCM, but so far I had it in tablet form for the most part. Probably Geckos ground to powder.

Mia said...

Maybe if it were Gecko tea mixed with some sort of strawberry flavor, I'd take it. Hehe. I drank this snake wine in Vietnam once. I could see the snake at the bottom of the bottle. It tasted ok to me :)

Buck said...

Great photo, icky tea!

the donG said...

animal welfare group will definitely be against it. i too will go against it. but i think this are the traditional ways that we cannot just blame them.

Katney said...

I think I'll pass, too.

Abe said...

My apologies, Hila, if I offend anyone, but my first impression of this was a medieval chastity belt of some sort.

I don't know what provoked my mind to think that but something did.

Reena said...

i like trying new things so i might taste this. hehe...

and as long as we are not putting this animals extinct, then okay lang. :)

Hilda said...

Kim:
GEICO hasn't arrived in Manila yet so no, I haven't seen their cute-sounding gecko. Hide their mascot from TCM doctors!

Mia:
Now that deserves another "Eew!"

Antonella, Dong, Reena:
Actually, that's a large part of the protest against TCM. Sometimes, they do use endangered species.

mirage2g said...

But I'd like to try those :D A friend recommended kasi! :D Go Gecko! lol!

Layrayski said...

Hahaha That was great hilda =) The question and the "bulaga" picture was fantastic! Hahah

Juergen Kuehn said...

A nice shot and theme!
Oh no, that's not my cup of tea. But I learned from my residence time in Hong Kong that TCM is an effective cure. On top of that, Yin Yang is a strong combination.

Tamera said...

No sir. I would not want to ingest that!

Halcyon said...

I like tea, but gecko brew might be a little much!

JM said...

Gecko tea? Hummmm... I don't know! Poor gecko!

Joe Narvaez said...

Uy marami nyan dito.