Potions, powders and pills, oh boy

I’ve been drinking something that tastes like dirt. I’ve also been drinking something else that tastes like weeds. Both are supposed to be good for me.

It’s an Asian thing — there’s a cultural fascination in with potions and powders and pills outside of “Western” medicine and healthcare. I don’t doubt that a lot of Eastern alternatives work, and not just acupuncture.

Some of it is that foreign countries simply have different medicines. I grew up taking Japanese pills called “Ru-Ru” (more or less pronounced that way) because my mom used it for everything from headaches to colds and fevers and just plain old feeling icky. She still buys bottles of it when she goes back to Japan. The pharmacist at her hometown drugstore recognizes her everytime she returns to stock up on Ru-Ru and other Japanese drugs.

Beyond pharmaceuticals, there are a lot of other health products marketed to Asians that might make non-Asians scratch their heads. Or just laugh. For instance, there’s a popular tea called “Diet Tea” that shows up in Asian grocery stores. We’ve tried it, and it helps people “diet” by serving as a powerful laxative. You’ll lose weight, all right. But it won’t be from managing what you eat.

Along these lines, I’ve been drinking up powders that were given to me: Aojiru and Ginseng Tea.

Aojiru is a Japanese product that’s made from powdered young barley grass. You dissolve the powder in water, and it tastes just like you’re drinking liquified weeds.

Ginseng tea is a sweetened concentrated ginseng powder that makes a brown liquid that might look like tea, but tastes like dirt. Or dirt softened with sugar. It’s a Korean product, sold in packets.

Why do I drink these? Because they’re supposed to be good for me, and hey, why not?

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