Po Chai Pills: May contain stuff, etc.

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So I got me some of them reasonably famous Po Chai Pills here in Hong Kong. The name means “protective aid” pills, but you won’t be able to tell much from that. And the box info deploys the standard ass-covering elusiveness that alternative medicine types have been perfecting over the years: it says that the stuff “is good for relieving” (note, not “is a cure for” or “will relieve“) the following:

fever, diarrhoea, intoxication, over-eating, vomiting and gastrointestinal diseases.

Yep, they’re saying it’s good for relieving intoxication. As opposed to hangovers. Good luck in court with that one.

The ingredients include a hodge podge of common traditional Chinese medicine bits and pieces, including poria, pogostemonis, and, erm, semen coicis (don’t worry, it’s just a plant seed). Worryingly, the ingredients list ends with an “etc.”

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This may reflect the fact that a couple of years ago, Po Chai capsules were withdrawn from sale in Singapore and Hong Kong after the government found that they contained a few stray ingredients not mentioned on any boxes.

The capsules were found to contain traces of phenolphthalein and sibutramine. Phenolphthalein is a laxative that causes cancer (now there’s a double whammy and a half) while sibutramine is an anorexiant that causes heart attacks (touché).

The bottled tablet form of the stuff has since returned to the shelves, presumably no longer containing any carcinogenic laxatives, but presumably still claiming to be produced using the traditional recipe and procedure developed way back in 1896. That “etc” sure covers a multitude.

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But it’s true what they say on the internet. Po Chai Pills do come in a kick-ass box.

So that’s okay then.



Categories: Alternative/Complementary Medicine, Cancer, Health, Heart disease, Traditional Chinese Medicine

5 replies

  1. perhaps its an emetic – that might fit with a liberal interpretation of this benificent product’s effects

    the guy on the box doesn’t look very happy – perhaps the product is just about to take effect

  2. I have taken many types of harmful western medicine such as coactifed (prescribed by my family doctor that caused serious constipation and raising heartbeats) and many types of nasal spray on the shelves for allergy that cause bleeding and damage to your inner nose membranes. People were brainwashed by the advertising and stereotyping that western medicine is always safer and more trustworthy.

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  4. I was first introduced to Po Chai pills in 1989 while visiting Hong Kong. It has worked for years anytime I’ve had a loose stomach. I never travel without a box, and have freely given them to friends and relatives. Some have said it has no effect, but I have found it to be great with stomach flu and a variety of things.

  5. 786 You left out the important consideration of whether they work; and personal experience with them over twenty years has demonstrated to me that they do indeed work, and very well at that.

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