LIFE IN KOREA: Cure-alls in a Bottle

by Daniel Massicotte, 13/08/2011

Depending on how many times you go to Family Mart or the nearest pharmacy (many times in my experience), you may or may not know about a collection of bottles at each of these convenience depots that are meant as somewhat natural remedies against certain problems you might have. There are literally dozens of these bottles and I definitely can’t cover them all. 

Don’t get the idea that you should only read this section when you’re sick. audemars piguet replica watches By reading it now, you’ll learn what you can use when you’re in agony regardless of where you are. If you have a smart phone, you can refer back to this article, so no worries if you forget one of the following names. 

Sang-Hwa-Goal-De and Sang-Hwa-Tang
These two bottles are the same thing, except that one is sold chilled while the other is available at the pharmacy in a “hot fridge”. Hence, it’s served hot. The cold one is on the left of the image above. Think of these medicines the way you would think of that tea grandma made for you when you were sick. It’s not cough medicine and it tastes terrible. If you chug it down it’s a lot easier. It’s a great tea to drink when you have a cold, are fighting pneumonia or have a runny nose.

Unlike most of these cool potions, this one is only available at the pharmacy. It’s for helping out with an upset stomach. When you have the 'flu' as a result of food poisoning, it’s important to put yourself through a certain ritual. You can drink some of this “potion”, but you should also do the following things:
- Avoid food that has flour or excessive meats. They take a long time to digest.
- Eat a lot of “jouk”, which is rice soup. The restaurant “boon-jouk” is great for this.
- Visit a doctor and tell them that you have a stomach ache. Most doctors speak English.
- if after 4 days you still feel terrible, go to an acupuncture clinic. I’ve had 'stomach flu a number of times and each time, it took longer to get over it. During the last bout, I had acupuncture after about 2 weeks and that helped solve the ferocious headaches and stomach pains.
Whatever you do, don’t ignore stomach problems hoping they will go away. Bear in mind  that you are in a foreign country and eating unfamiliar foods.

To remember this one, think of  what “goal-de” sounds like - Cold. Seng-Gang is ginger - basically this is ginger tea. You want to drink this HOT when you are having throat problems or you’re fighting Bronchitis or Asthma. You don’t have to buy it in a bottle. You can buy the pouches in a tea box at the grocery store and boil your own water.

Ginger tea is a great combatant against dust particles and yellow dust storms too. If it’s the spring you’ll want to drink plenty of it to soothe your throat from the irritations caused by yellow dust. I might as well mention that cider and pomegranate vinegar are great for bad coughs too. If you wanted to try a really badass drink that helps with the spring coughs, mix 2 parts vinegar and 1 part orange juice in a glass and drink it. 

In your quest to find good teas that sooth your throat, you will come across a bottle of what looks like honey called “Goule-Cha”. This means “Honey-Tea”. Be aware that many of the bottles of honey available are really just honey that’s loaded with sugar. This does NOT have the same healthy effect that real honey has when you mix it in warm water.

About the author: Daniel Massicotte is a young budding entrepreneur in Korea who teaches English to high school students on his spare time. You can learn more about him here.


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