Dragon’s Heartstrings

The Northern Professor is taking a course of Chinese Medicine. The Chinese have their own way of doing things: ten or twenty years ago, I more than once encountered a mildly medicinal tisane in Chinese supermarkets which advertised itself in terms suggesting that the translator had used a sixteenth-century Jesuit Chinese-Latin dictionary in conjunction with a Latin-English one: it claimed to be prophylactic against, among other things, Falling Sickness, Surfeit from bell [sic] full of roast meat, and Furuncle. Doubtless Mr Blair and the Crossness Party has outlawed it on grounds of being unhygienic and contravening the Trades Descriptions Act, but it had a strange poetry of its own.
Anyway, back in the twenty-first century, the Northern Professor, feeling himself to be suffering from a range of ailments more readily comprehended in Chinese than Western terms (Damp, Wind-Cold, and so forth, concomitants of life on the 57th parallel) consulted a Chinese doctor, and is currently in the middle of a month-long overhaul. Itís the element of DIY which always comes as a bit of a shock with traditional Chinese medicine. Rather than merely getting a jar of pills, each week, you get a carrier with seven brown paper bags containing a mixture of dried this and that which only Albert Dumbledore could love, and youíre expected to take it from there. Bark, certainly, fungus, probably, strange reticulated black things which are anybodyís guess, twigs, roots, berries. The following week, itís a different selection, but whatever it is, you boil it all up and drink the resultant strange blackish brew, which inevitably tastes of Brillo Pads boiled up with ginger and liquorice. It is exceedingly nasty, but the consolation is, it does seem to be working.

One Response to “Dragon’s Heartstrings”

  1. Jan Foster Says:

    I remember that tisanish thing. It was also good for Bad Throaght from Excess Smocking, folk-arts movement gone mad, evidently. Yes it worked! Willow-bark, probably (that’s my grandma talking.)

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