chapter  II
10 Pages

"EVEN THE GODS FIND IT DIFFICULT TO DISTINGUISH BETWEEN PILLS, POWDERS, AND PIASTERS" (Proverb)

Chinese materia medica was highly interesting; it was as often startling. I learned from the Frenchman, Du Halde, in his book, The .Art of Medicine .Among the Chinese, written in 1735, that ginseng and tea were indispensable ingredients of ?tlmost every prescription; animals and herbs contributed most of the other essentials. Large white ants powdered with tea seeds and inhaled would clear up head noises. Ashes from burned elephant's flesh mixed with oil cured scalp sores. The ashes from the·· animal's breastbone acted as a tonic, and even more surprising, would help a man to swim. The ashes from a camel's chin whiskers cured internal hemorrhoids; the same beast's dried and powdered dung would stop nosebleed and kill vermin.