Great Construction

Terrifying Chinese Herbal Medicine

     When we speak to members of the general public about the terror of medicinal toxins, they think that medicinal toxins refer to Western medicines and for such individuals Chinese herbal medicines do not even count as medicines. This thinking is a great mistake. Rather, there are more medicinal toxins in Chinese herbal medicines. As medicine, Chinese herbal medicines are weaker than Western medicines, but the amount of Chinese medicines is exceedingly great. Since antiquity has been the custom of many to brew Chinese medicine in a pot and drink it every day like tea, so the quantity ingested amounts to many, nay thousands fold that of Western medicines.
     The varieties of Chinese medicines are numerous, and among them, from my experience, one of the most toxic is Gen no Shôko (geranium). Those who have ingested large amounts of this medicine will, when they purify, have very stubborn purifications, and no matter how much may be eliminated, the toxic material will still continue to accumulate, causing weakness or debility that can lead to death. Another is Dokudami (Lizard’s Tail), also rather strong in toxicity, and anyone who has taken large amounts of either or both these drugs must be quite careful. All these medicines have many of the same characteristics as the two aforementioned, and there is another one whose name I cannot recall at the moment, a Chinese medicine that is like jet black syrup candy. I occasionally run across individuals who have ingested this medicine and its addiction is also quite stubborn from which it is difficult to recover. Most indicative of those addicted to Chinese medicines is their complexion. The more they ingest, the more pallid their complexion. What is often called “bluish swelling” in Japanese refers to this phenomenon. Among those addicted to Chinese medicines, many are women, especially those in the entertainment industry. Such is probably the case because many of these medicines have long been touted as being particularly efficacious for women’s diseases. One medicine known to be effective for constipation is a pill called Kiôgan, and I had the experience of treating a person who had ingested it every day for twenty some-odd years, who came down with renal tuberculosis and on whom the doctors had given up. He had ingested just too much toxin from the pills and did not survive. All are familiar with the bluish-yellow complexion of the Chinese people which is probably due to their addiction to Chinese medicines.

Eikô, Issue 207, May 6, 1953
 translation by cynndd