Monday, November 15, 2004

"Most Chinese in China do not see traditional Chinese medicine and Western medicine as being in conflict. In cases of emergency and crisis situations, there is generally no reluctance in using conventional Western medicine. At the same time, belief in Chinese medicine remains strong in the area of maintaining health and wellness. To put it simply, you see a Western doctor if you have acute appendicitis, but you take Chinese medicines to make your body healthy enough to prevent appendicitis, or you recover quickly from the surgery." - from, "Definition of Traditional Chinese Medicine"
I meant to post this yesterday when it had some sort of relevance but, as evidence of just how very spaced out I was feeling, I completely failed to post it and only saved it as a draft. I also skipped my dance class as I had, by 5.30pm, lost the ability to differentiate between left and right, so met Taxloss and Boatie Flatmate in the pub. We sat and stared into space a lot and the Beloved managed to drop a pound coin and it completely disappeared. The three of us had a comedy quarter of an hour looking for it but it had definitely, completely and utterly vanished. Then we had one last look and I found it in the turn-up of my trousers. How we laughed. I hate Mondays.

Had a nice weekend relaxing at home and playing Cluedo in the ICA with Taxloss and Boatie Flatmate. Perhaps I hadn’t been quite aware of how much I needed to rest during and after my attack of the lurgie but this weekend, I prioritised shutting down and spending time on my own and just chilling out. I started thinking idly this morning about supplements and guides-to relaxing and how Chinese medicine has been incorporated into a lot of the stuff I see in cosmetics and food and Western medicine. It’s quite risky stuff and I speak from experience as one who has grown up with both Chinese and Western medicine; I once went to a Buddhist ceremony in Chinatown and everyone attending was given a cup of tea made of some sort of dried root - lots of tourists had been attending for the colours and the chanting and had been given this tea as well. I went home on the tube and was almost sick – my heart was racing and I was dry-mouthed, panicking, giddy and nauseous. I wondered how many other people had drank the tea and how many of them were feeling the same way. It is not easy to predict what effect certain stuff will have on certain people and also, who is regulating the potency of things like ginseng added to vitamin pills? Who decides what is a good dose – a Chinese doctor or a Western one?

This isn’t a subject I’m pursuing in a ferocious, investigative reporter-type way – it’s just something my mind has drifted to this morning. Something about the weather and the state of my head today brought back a memory that includes ginseng and so, I suppose, that’s why I’m writing about it…

In the pursuit of relaxation and unwinding during exam time at university, I once went through the mysterious Dried Things my mother had given me along with a rice cooker, some TUC biscuits, a very small frying pan and a very big spatula, instant noodles and a bottle of port. I found a bag of dried and flaked ginseng root and spent a good five minutes weighing the pros and cons of drinking an infusion of the stuff in my moment of need. Pro – it would definitely relax me, in fact, I could spend the rest of the day feeling stoned and mellow. Con – I would inevitably suffer a migraine and perhaps even heart palpitations. I chose not to drink any ginseng tea.

However, when Former Flatmate A approached me in her simultaneous hunt for relaxation, I gave her the ginseng and she had a large cup of the stuff. I warned her about the possibility of a migraine / headache but she risked it and when I popped in to see her an hour later, she was serene and mellow. Very mellow. Very. There had been a half hour of headache but after that… just airy lightness and calm. This stuff was the good shit, clearly. She got less work done after the ginseng than when she was experiencing full-scale stress but at least she was mellow.

I would like to take this opportunity to recommend some herbal hippy-tea which I picked up from the local hippy-health food shop this weekend: Heath and Heather Night Time Tea. It’s so good, I’m still half asleep now and feeling seriously mellow and slightly stoned. I checked the ingredients a hundred times before I bought it and then again before I drank it, in case there was any ginseng lurking in there but was satisfied that there was none. Now I’m wondering, in my floaty-mental state, what was in there that wasn’t ginseng but has the same effect without the unpleasant migraine the G-stuff triggers.

Laa-laaa-laaa. I’m off to smell the flowers and have a chat with the trees. Wooooooooooo.

Edit: Jesus, I was fucking stoned, wasn't I?

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