I’m really sorry I let you down. I made promises I just couldn’t deliver.
If you recall in my last post Chinese Medicine I planned to drink a pot of Chinese herbal tea everyday to try and improve my reptilian skin, itchy scalp and overall parched demeanor caused by Beijing’s cold dry winter. I know you were hoping I could share the results of a miracle cure.
The concoction, brewed from a collection of beige roots and twigs, smelled a bit like a musty wool blanket that had been stored too long in a closet. It didn’t taste bad but as the holidays approached there was too much competition.
My first-ever homemade eggnog with a splash of Captain Morgan’s did nothing for my skin, but it uplifted my spirits tremendously in the weeks leading up to Christmas.
Then there was the buttery yellow Chrysanthemum tea given to me by a friend. The color just made me happy, and I’d choose the floral aroma any day over the musky medicinal potion.
And then there was the treasured Cadbury’s hot chocolate mix, which felt like such an indulgence topped with homemade whipped cream.
(Instant hot chocolate is a foreign luxury good, not readily available.)
Peet’s Coffee made its debut in Beijing this winter, and Santa brought me a shiny red mug for Christmas. It just didn’t seem right to fill it with Moisturizing Yam Tea.
With all of the competing beverages, I just couldn’t face another cup of astralagus root and dried yam tea.
In an effort to soothe my winter-weary skin, I turned to another (this time external) popular Chinese remedy: snake oil.
I know what you’re thinking. That’s what those fly-by-night traveling salesman used to sell at carnivals in the early 1800s, right?
Actually, it turns out that snake oil has a long history of popularity in Traditional Chinese Medicine. Made from the oil of water snakes, this omega-3 fatty acid rich substance has been used to soothe skin, cure dandruff, relieve split ends and reduce arthritis.
A quick visit to Wal-Mart and I strike gold: there’s snake oil cream right next to snail slime extract. Maybe these cold-blooded creatures can help.
Online shopping offers more choices, from Snake Oil exfoliating gel to Snake Oil hair removers and whitening creams.
I’ve ordered a moisturizer and a scrub. I passed on the snail slime. I’ll check in again in a few weeks and let you know things are coming along.