Chinese Medicine

Snakes were a major ingredient in the medicine

I went for a walk over our lunch break the other day and was fortunate to run into what may be the most interesting sales pitch I’ve ever seen. When I approached, the salesman had just laid out a tarp and taken the top off of the large white plastic barrel in the picture. I watched as he reached into the barrel and first pulled out several handfuls of the dark brown wood chunks and roots and piled up on the tarp.

As he turned on the microphone and began his sales pitch, he continued to reach into the barrel, pulling out handful after handful of dead snakes, dripping with a thick brown liquid, which he laid on the tarp next to the wood chunks. As he did so, a sharp, herbal scent filled the air, honestly not unlike one that I have smelled in Chinese medicine shops before. His assistant dragged a whole dried crocodile and snapping turtle over and placed them on the tarp as well, indicating that they too were ingredients in the home-brewed remedy. Unfortunately the sales pitch was in Sichuanese so I could only catch a few words, and was not able to tell for sure what the medicine was for. The overturned top of the barrel served as a dish in which he poured a little bit of the medicine as a free sample, and as I watched a number of onlookers approached and allowed him to rub the medicine on their arms or legs. I guessed, which a fellow volunteer at ARDY confirmed as likely, that the medicine was meant to relieve muscle pain.

Unfortunately the sales pitch was all in Sichuanese

Demonstrating the medicine on an onlooker


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