Wednesday, October 12, 2011

Medicinal Herb Festival

Last weekend, I had the chance to check out Seoul's annual Medicinal Herb Festival in Jegi-dong. It was a memorable experience.

The area is home to hundreds of herb shops, making it one of the more fragrant neighborhoods in town. I saw more ginseng in various forms than I've ever encountered and watched as vendors sliced and diced herbs for retail purposes. Oh, and it wouldn't be a Korean festival without the sound of samulnori drums.

However, the most memorable part was visiting Yangnyeongsi -Seoul's Herb Medicine Museum. My friend and I were treated to a 2-hour tour of the museum with our own personal guide, an older Korean woman with the knowledge base of a college course textbook. Her English was astounding, and we learned so much.

Key takeaways:
  • until fairly recently (50 years ago), scraping one's unwashed scalp with acupuncture needles was a method for disinfecting them.
  • many different animals, including deer, frogs, and bears, were used to make traditional medicines; this practice is now illegal, though still occurring in parts of Asia.
  • since my body temp runs hot, I need to avoid white ginseng and stick to red or black.
  • based on self-reported answers to a quiz, I was diagnosed Soyangin (healthy stomach, weak kidneys; aggressive and fun) and Taeyangin (strong lungs, weak liver; smart, initiative, masculine, impatient, and stubborn).

on cup:  "Hope only happens to the person who is hoping."

1 comment:

  1. what a hoot! i know one aunt of yours who would have thoroughly enjoyed herself and would have joined right in with the vendors. can you guess which one that would be?? thanks for the fun info and their diagnosis of you. interesting to say the least. xox love you and miss you sweetie. aunt nan