Special Post: A Note on Chinese Medicine(中醫)

I’ve had my fair share of experience when it comes to Chinese Medicine, since my first time to Taiwan in 2006, as part of the series of culture classes we took on our study abroad trip (pictures can be seen here), getting a cold in 2008 and trying their acupuncture and powder remedies, and finally just three days ago for a regular health check.

I’m not sure how many foreigners will actually go and try Chinese medicine, I assume there’s a decent amount, but I definitely recommend it if you’re willing to give it a shot[1].

Chinese medicine is different from Western medicine: they tend to look at the body on a whole, while western doctors will focus on the afflicted area. Chinese doctors will also use a combination of medicine, acupuncture, acupressure, and moxibustion to treat you (or a steaming jug of medicine). For example, this time I went and have all of that performed on me just for a regular exam (a combination of acupuncture, moxibustion, and, I guess, electrotherapy?) After all that, I got my medicine and went home.

My medicine consist of, a drink (湯)and a powder(藥粉). The pills are my girlfriend’s, but I thought they looked neat so I wanted to show those as well.

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The above three are the liquid medicine. Each has its own use.

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The powdered medicine comes in little pouches like this.

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The powder inside. I love how you can make out the little bits and different colors.

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I like how you can see the actual powder inside!

So. How does it taste? Well, the liquid isn’t so bad, I actually kind of like drinking it. However, it is bitter. It has the same bitter taste the powder has…

And the powder is intensely bitter. Not like “I-like-my-coffee-black-and-bitter-like-my-soul” kind of bitter, but like “feeling of lacking proper healthcare in the US” kind of bitter. It definitely takes some getting used to, especially taking it in powder form.

As for the results? Well, I can definitely say after the acupuncture, you do feel a different. For me, I felt more awake and clear headed for the day. The moxibustion is fun, since you can feel the heat transferring from the needles down into you body. It’s odd at first, but it’s kind of relaxing.

The powder itself I have to wait on. Chinese medicine isn’t “results fast!”, it takes a few months or a year of using it to really get some results from it. That is why, in 2008, when I had a cold, my Chinese medicine did not work well and I had to just rely on Western medicine. It just works slower on those that have not been used to using it for most of their lives.

I definitely say, if you have the chance, give it a shot. It’s a fun and interesting experience!


[1]That being said, I would like to make a point of warning: While you can likely trust them, you will want to be careful of the materials they use. It is constantly in the news about poor products being used, so make sure you go to a reputable one. This is especially important since it is natural, and if you have any allergies you’ll probably want to let them know. Also, getting acupuncture done by a professional is very important.

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2 thoughts on “Special Post: A Note on Chinese Medicine(中醫)

  1. Yeah, I would recommend going to a well located place that looks like it can be trusted. I always try to take a Chinese friend with me when buying things I don’t know about. Merry Christmas wishes from Beijing!

    • Merry Christmas from Taipei! 😀

      Oh I always go with a friend–Chinese Medicine has a lot of specific terminology that I’m still very unclear about, but at least by going with someone, I know WHY I have five needles in my feet.

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