I Just Took The Red Pill
My personal experience with a secret Chinese formula
Forced IP transfer isn’t all one way. To do business in China, you have to share your AI source code with the Peoples Liberation Army. If you want to sell your herbal remedy in the United States you have to reveal your ingredients to the FDA. That’s what Yunan Baiyao Group allegedly did (didn’t actually do) when it began selling it’s 120-year-old herbal formula in the US market.
Yunan Baiyao is China’s #1 formula for healing traumatic injuries. The formula claims to both facilitate coagulation and improve circulation. It’s a proprietary mixture of vasodilators and coagulants. In China, it’s the thing you take when you have soft tissue injuries and you want them to get better faster. Yunnan Baiyao also, what you take on the way to the hospital in the event of catastrophic bleeding. I can’t imagine a more useful formula to keep around the house or in the glove compartment. However, if you’re reading this in North America, the traditional medicine has at least one major flaw. You can’t have any.
I say that Yunnan Baiyao’s ingredients have been “allegedly revealed” because Yunnan Baiyao Group, the parent company that produces the Yunnan Baiyao product line, has claimed that the formula contains the ingredients listed on the American packaging, that the US and Chinese product formulas are identical, and that “nobody knows the secret formula”. As of this writing, I believe that the third claim is the most accurate.
One obvious difference between the American and Chinese product lines is the Chinese version of the capsule, spray, and powdered forms of the product come with what I’d like to call a “magic super pill” but which is more fairly called an “emergency pill”. The official translation is “Insurance Pill” but obviously that’s just silly. The emergency pill is to be taken only for catastrophic injuries and gives the product the allure of being prescription strength even though the FDA busybodies insist we call it a mere herbal supplement. Where available, the pill is held in such high regard that even though Yunnan Baiyao is a staple for athletes, moms, and the injury prone, I’ve never met anyone who has actually taken it. Removing the pill makes Yunnan Baiyao about 90% less fun. Just as the Nanny State intended, no doubt.
The other source of my skepticism is that I’ve taken the American versions of Yunnan Baiyao a few times, and I took a standard dose of the Chinese version including the Emergency pill just before sitting down to write this. In contrast to my experience with the American version, the Chinese version made me feel really funny.
The lightheadedness and tightness in my chest were almost immediate, and even though my fitbit is lying uselessly by my console with a fully drained battery, I can assure you that my heart is racing. I’m also making many more typos than usual and having trouble organizing my thoughts for this essay. None of this should be taken as a condemnation of Yunnan Baiyao. I’m not taking their product as intended and even if I die before publishing this, it would hardly invalidate the effectiveness of the product for preventing death via a ruptured spleen.
My symptoms demonstrate that Chinese Yunnan Baiyao contains something more than it’s American counterpart. What could it be? I don’t have the most sophisticated chemical equipment, but the pre-installed chemical analysis package I like to call my sense of taste confirms that this stuff contains a ton of Ginseng and Pseudo ginseng. The powder must also contain something red-yellow my guess would be ground realgar. Pharmacologically, this is hardly an insight because realgar and Ginseng are extremely popular ingredients in traditional Chinese medicine. However, I defy anyone to taste American and Chinese Yunnan Baiyao and tell me they contain equivalent amounts of ginseng.
The real test is still underway: Will this stronger formulation, help me to recover from my horrible neck injury? I’ll find out when I try to get out of bed tomorrow morning but I suspect the only cure will be time. Time travel back to 2016 to teach my former self a more ergonomic method of defending chokes.