Wednesday, January 24, 2007

Turtle Deer Kidney Tonic Pills Double Energy Supplement

Generally, I'm a little weary when it comes to eating or swallowing something that came through the mail, but considering that anything that you purchase through traditional (read: brick and mortar) retail outlets has traveled long distances to get there, it's probably not that much of a stretch.

But when you get a product that's called "Turtle Deer Kidney Tonic Pills," (item #250076411039) it makes me think twice. Again.

Perhaps this is the end result of the direct and literal translation between Chinese and English, but one woulda hoped that the person would've been able to come up with a better sounding name. And, considering the grammatical skills of the seller in question (the product is "HIGHLY RECOMMEND!!!" [sic]), this probably shouldn't be surprising. But, it could be worse..."Pocari Sweat" anybody?

The main selling points behind this product are the purported health benefits. From the auction:

Strengthening tendons and bones, enriching qi(energy) and blood, tonic kidneys and strengthening yang. It is used to treat general weakness, weariness, aching pain and softness of the waist and knees, dizziness, deficient kidneys, cold semen, profuse night urination, seminal emission, forgetfulness and insomnia, infertility, men's reduced ability.

While I hesitate to speculate on what exactly they mean by "men's reduced ability," but this is another example of using Chinese mysticism to sell a product to unsuspecting gwai-lo (read: non-Chinese). While there are some reported health benefits of traditional Chinese medicine, much of the evidence is inconclusive, and possibly due to a placebo effect. Certainly, a panacea (read: silver-bullet cure-all) these things are not, although the general populace probably doesn't think so.

My mom was trying to get me into Chinese herbs and medicine, but most of the time it tastes like absolute dirt and makes me feel even worse, although that's probably the end result of the taste more than anything else. This was the same person who got me an energy supplement in a can called "Red Rave" (a cheap Red Bull knockoff), thinking that it was supposed to assist in exercise.

I had to explain to her that it's what college students use to pull all-nighters because of the high concentration of caffeine, at which she offered to take it back to the store, but I told her that I'd use it. And use it I did.

I recall reading an article referencing interest in Chinese culture in the Western world, pointing to cultural re-appropriation such as interest in Japanese animation, the popularity of martial arts, and tattoos in Hanzi and Katana/Kanji (Chinese and Japanese) characters. As the article quips, "If this crap originated in
Germany, no one would care." Heh.

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