the herbalist

J-Lo was kind enough to introduce me to his herbalist on Dundas this morning. Upon entering, I was greeted by the comforting smells you'd only find in a Chinese medicine shop. The place was dark and dusty. An old lady with gold teeth waited patiently for the boys behind the counter to pound out her order of herbs.

"My friend's here to see your grandfather."

"Have a seat at the back."

I sit across from an old man with a surprisingly smooth face, despite his age. His grandson asks me to hold my wrists out. The herbalist presses his fingers against them and asks me what my problem is, while his grandson translates from English to Cantonese, Cantonese to English.

"Well, I have trouble going. The pooping -- it isn't regular. And I'm going through menopause but I don't want to take the hormones my doctor has prescribed."

Within seconds, the old man tells me what's wrong. My liver is overheated.

"Do you eat a lot of unhealthy foods? A lot of beef? Eggs?"

I shake my head. What constitutes as a lot anyway?

I leave the store with three bottles of pills, all labelled in Chinese. Take six of these with breakfast. Take six of these for lunch. Take eight of these before you go to bed.

For lunch, I treat myself to a platter of hot dogs wieners and eggs on rice, a delicious bo lo yau and a mug of HK-style milk tea. And six of them yellow pills, of course.


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