Thursday Nov 29, 2007

Ah-choo

You know it is coming and you are defenseless as naked. Yes, the cold season is upon us. Bring out the usual arsenal: the hand sanitizers, sometimes just soap and water; the Airborne style homeo preventives, including the trusted high-dosage vitamin-C; even the flu-shot in hope that the recipe is right this year — all in vain. Sneeze, cough, running nose, fever, watery eyes. You've got it. Keep yourself hydrated and rested. It will pass in a week or two. There is nothing you can do now. Or, is there?

There is the recent Zinc lozenges surge. Take several a day and you heal faster. Of course we will always have chicken soup and that nose twitching warm lemon and honey drink.

Visitors to China may peruse the impressive collection of herbal cold remedies in any pharmacy here. The lack of (western) scientific credential does not equate ineffectiveness or shortage of testimonies. In fact, many use them before those chemically synthesized healing options. Tastes like tea: strong and pungent.

TongRenTang (同仁堂) is the golden brand for Chinese herbal medicines. Two of their classic recipes rake in millions every year in this season. BanLanGen (板蓝根) became the miracle elixir during the SARS episode. GanMaoQingRe KeLi (感冒清热颗粒) packages literally fly off the shelf whenever someone in the office sneezes.

As an experiment, I bought 10 boxes each last year to the office and offered them to whomever. They disappeared with a trailing blue smoke. A few days ago, I brought in 20 boxes each. Gone in a flash too. My unscientific survey shows over 80% of Sun's China employees will take them as preventive measure or to speed up recovery. Even westerners also swear by them.

And the best part? It costs 10rmb per box of 10 doses. I think that's cheaper than chicken soup. <script language="JavaScript"> TagStart() Technorati("China") Technorati("Cold") Technorati("TongRenTang") Technorati("BanLanGen") Technorati("GanMaoQingRe KeLi") TagEnd() </script>

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