My first memory of traditional folk medicine involves drinking a pleasant-tasting soup, then peeking in the pot and recoiling in shock -- the soup was made from dried seahorses.

我关于中国传统草药的首次记忆源于一碗美味的汤,可当我一窥锅内却依然吓了个半死——那汤竟是用干的海马做成的。

China has thankfully started regulating the TCM market to better control the use of certain ingredients, such as endangered animals and illegal substances. Though, unusual ingredients such as animal genitalia, baby mice, insects, and fungi are still found in a some traditional folk remedies. Here are a few with impressive staying power over the years.

感谢上帝中国已经开始控制其中药市场,严禁使用濒危动物和非法物品入药。不过传统药材中依然会用到许多不寻常的东西,比如动物鞭、幼鼠、昆虫和真菌,看来短期之内是无法消除了。


Korea: Baby mice wine

韩国:幼鼠酒

To make baby mice wine, stuff rodents no more than three days old into a bottle of rice wine and let stew for a year. The tonic is believed to be an all-purpose cure for everything from asthma to liver disease.

要制作幼鼠酒,你要把三天大的小老鼠泡入米酒里,静置一年。这种补酒据说包治百病,包括哮喘和肝病。


China: Deer penis

中国:鹿鞭酒

The Chinese in Guangzhou eat tiger penis to boost sexual performance and stamina. Tiger penis has been banned for obvious reasons, so the equally impressive (in terms of heft) deer penis is more often consumed. Although the alcohol-soaked substance is legal, consumption is on the wane: Chinese athletes were banned from consuming it during the Beijing Olympics.

在中国广东,人们吃虎鞭壮阳。在虎鞭被国家禁止之后,就饮鹿鞭酒代替。虽然据说功效不如虎鞭,但在北京奥运期间,运动员仍被禁止饮用。


Tibet: Caterpillar fungus

中国西藏:虫草

The caterpillar fungus (Cordyceps sinensis) is highly coveted because it grows only in the high altitudes of the Himalayas. The fungus kills and mummifies a caterpillar, then sprouts a grass-like reproductive body -- hence its worm-like appearance. Tibetans have used it for centuries to treat cancer, fatigue, and other ailments. According to legend, locals once successfully resisted a Mongol attack because they ate copious amounts of the fungus.

冬虫夏草只在喜马拉雅地区生长,它的生长过程非常有趣:虫草蝙蝠蛾幼虫是每年7-8月在土壤中生长期间感染上虫草孢子,孢子开始在幼虫体上萌发菌丝,菌丝充分利用虫体内的营养大量繁殖并蔓延至整个体腔。约10月份幼虫死亡成为僵虫。这是一种异常名贵的草药。在西藏,人们长期用它治疗癌症、疲惫和其他疾病。据当地的传说,西藏人曾因吃了虫草而击退蒙古族的侵略。


Thailand and Vietnam: White ant soup

泰国和越南:白蚁汤

A soup made from ant parts -- eggs, larvae, bodies -- sounds like stomachache in the making. But according to WeirdMeat.com, it’s delicious: “The eggs are soft and pop gently in your mouth with a wee bit of sour taste.” The high amino acid content also keeps muscle, hair, glands, and organs in top condition.

这种汤由白蚁的卵、幼虫和身体熬制而成,据称它非常美味,并能让你的身体机能达到绝佳的状态。

Indonesia: Bat hearts

印度尼西亚:蝙蝠心脏

In Jakarta, fruit bats are sold to passersby, not as exotic pets, but as a cure for asthma. The custom is to remove the heart while the mammal is alive, then cook and eat it.

在印度尼西亚,蝙蝠被当做治疗哮喘的药材出售、而非宠物。传统的做法是生取蝙蝠心脏、再烹调吃掉。