Phoebe’s Trip to China

Wednesday, 15th February 2017

Phoebe's Trip to ChinaToday we are handing the blog over to Phoebe Noble.  Some of you may already know her smiling face from around the clinic – at the reception, preparing your herbs and working on Sundays doing massage. Through all of this she’s also been studying Chinese Medicine at RMIT, the final part of this course includes a trip to Nanjing. So here is Phoebe’s Trip to China!

The Chinese Medicine course is not your standard Bachelor course.  In the second semester of the last year all students head off to Nanjing in China to see and experience Traditional Chinese Medicine at its root; to see the way it is practiced in China, to witness its popularity, its esteem and to observe its efficacy used on its own and integrated with Western Medicine.

So off I went with my two year old daughter in one hand and her granny (my mum) in the other. We didn’t know where we would live or how we would communicate but we were excited.  After flight delays, an unexpected night in Hong Kong and a missing porta-cot, we arrived hot and sweating into 35 degree Nanjing.

A few days later we had found somewhere to live, worked out how to confidently cross the street and discovered where to buy the best Bao Zi (steamed buns).  I was almost ready to start at the hospital.

My schedule was to spend a week in each Gynaecology, Paediatrics, Dermatology, Acupuncture and Digestion out patient departments.  Initially being in the hospital was overwhelming. The amount of people jamming themselves into a room at any one time was excessive and the speed at which the doctor see’s patients made it hard to follow a case. It was certainly a different experience to seeing Annalise and the team at Quiescence or your GP here in Australia.

Overtime I adjusted to the commotion and figured out how best to learn with the help of good translators.  It was great to see such a vast array of conditions treated with this ancient yet still so very popular medicine.  It was also inspiring to see medicine used in everyday cooking and eating.

Two popular herbs (in their fresh form) came into season during my time in Nanjing. The first was the herb Hong Zao (red dates). Resembling small apples the fresh Hong Zao (Jujube fruit) was seen being sold on the streets in abundance.Phoebe's Trip to China

As dates they are used extensively and commonly in Chinese Medicine formulas to tonify and invigorate the Qi, Nourish Blood and Calm the mind.  But who would have thought such a treat preceded them. The jujube fruit is delicious. Its apple/date flavour and pear like texture leave both me and my two-year-old daughter saying, ‘More! More!’

Then as the weather started cooling down the Hawthorn fruit started to make an appearance. Called Shan Zha in Chinese Medicine. When dried this herb is used to help with indigestion and – as my mum discovered – it has a diuretic effect which may help to lower blood pressure or move some excess weight.
When eaten fresh this fruit is sour and crunchy. It is most often sold coated in sugar and the sweet and sour taste is to die for. 

You know you are becoming a local in China when you feel people have stopped staring at you, when you get to know your local fruit vendor and when you have found a good coffee shop. We were getting to this stage after 10 weeks when it was time to head home. We were feeling a little exhausted and had just about reached our limit of dumplings and oily vegetables. In contrast to our somewhat precarious arrival we left Nanjing in style with two staff members, from the apartment we stayed in, helping with our bags down to a fancy taxi with a driver who wore gloves. We couldn’t help but feel a sense of achievement, for surviving Nanjing with a two year old and completing 6 years of study.Phoebe's Trip to China

Thanks Phoebe, we’re glad to have you back in the clinic and look forward to seeing more photos!

Phoebe’s days of availability at the clinic are:
Tuesdays  1:00pm – 7:00pm
Thursday 1:00pm – 7:00pm
Sundays 9.00am – 3.00pm
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