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Ever since I’ve been in Malaysia, I've heard people talking about foods being 'heaty' – e.g. someone will say 'Don't eat [insert type of food here] when you have the flu because it's heaty', or something like that. Recently, I finally discovered what 'heatiness' really is – I was out in the sun for a bit too long one day, and got some sunburn: then, after a few days, I noticed that I kept feeling a bit uncomfortable - overheated, an unpleasant feeling in my stomach, and a bit tired. But even if I turned the aircon on and had a nap, for example, I still felt too much 'internal heat'. Suddenly it dawned on me - I was suffering from 'heatiness'! (Another symptom was an itchy neck. I didn't connect to it at the time, but later someone told me it was typical of heatiness - apparently you can even end up with boils on the neck).

Anyway, so WW got some herbs from the Chinese herbalist - I boiled it all up and drunk a big glass or two every day for a week or so, and felt better.

Some time before that, I had received a free bottle of Cool Rhino which is meant to be a cooling drink (apparently it's rebranded 'Three Legs Cooling Water'). I was curious about the main ingredients Gypsum fibrosum, and 'calcitum', and on what basis they are meant to be 'cooling'.
Cool Rhino cooling drink with Gypsum fibrosum

Gypsum fibrosum, is known as a 'stone drug' - i.e. it is a mineral (it's also used in building!) which has beneficial health properties. Investigation of the use of minerals in medicine was particularly common amongst Taoist alchemists who sought immortality, and knowledge of its use goes as far back as Ge Hong's (281 -341 AD), book Bao Pu Zi's Inner Treatise ("Discovering Chinese Mineral Drugs")
"Raw gypsum (Gypsum Fibrosum) has been shown to have an antipyretic effect, that is, it can be used to reduce fever. However, pure manufactured gypsum does not display this property. This suggests that the antipyretic effect is produced by one or more of the impurities normally associated with gypsum in its raw state (Guo et al, 1958)." ("Discovering Chinese Mineral Drugs")

In its prepared form it is known as Gypsum Fibrosum Preparata or Duan Shi Gao.

I noticed dosages "9-30 grams, up to 90 grams for very high fever", or "10-50 grams"; in the bottle there is 90mg, so I can't imagine there is much chance of overdosing, even if you take 4 times a day as they recommend.

As study on rats shows that it "can accelerate the formation of collagenoblast and micrangium in wounds, and the proliferation of granulation tissues, thus promoting the skin wounds to healing" (Source) (whatever that means :-S)

Calcitum, or Han Shui Shi, is also apparently good for relieving heat. The recommended dosages are also well above the 45mg in each bottle of Cool Rhino ( "9-30 grams" and "3-10 qian" – 1 'qian' is 5 grams). I think 'calcitum' is basically the same as calcium, which is also a mineral.

Basically – it seems that traditional Chinese medicine does support the use of these ingredients for heatiness, but at much higher doses than there is in Cool Rhino. As for me, unfortunately I did not have it at the time I had heatiness, but I had previously got round to testing it one day when I was feeling hot after working in the garden. It was not chilled, but I can’t say I felt any different… My advice is, if you want relief from heatiness – go to a herbalist and chuck down the bitter stuff!

Here are some resources on Chinese medicine
The Essentials of Chinese Medicine
• A detailed explanation of different “Herbs that clear Heat”
• What looks like an authoritative Introduction to Chinese Herbology


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yapthomas on :

yes! I agree... chuck down on those bitter stuffs...

julian on :

actually you kind of get used to it and it's not so bad. Cheaper too, I think.

synical on :

My favourite "cooling" drink is still barley - even though I usually skim the top (not a fan of the sediment) when my mum boils it, haha. Got to remember to avoid Milo cos that's supposed to be "heaty" too...

I have never tried the cooling water for myself, and am not a fan of the bitter stuff.

julian on :

Ya the barley is nice - actually it's a common drink in Spain too, for the reason. Though they don't talk about heatiness and all that

Jamie on :

I've given up trying to differentiate heaty and cooling food. Eating durians is meant to be super heaty. But pour water into an empty durian shell and drink it, et voila, it suddenly becomes cooling!

julian on :

I was told water with salt...

Nigel on :

hey julian. haha sorry. this comment is not related to ya post. Couldnt find a chat box to leave a comment. xD maybe you should put one.

and yeah. You wrote a comment before aite? yeah maybe next time we'll have some chat. Besides i saw you a few times before, e.g : Elawyer conference. =)


julian on :

Hiya thanks for dropping by :-)

Actually you can leave comments via the 'contact' tab above, but no worries - hope to catch up sometime :-)

cari bilik sewa on :

yeap. this is definitely made in malaysia and beer helps to cool down your body too

Expat on :

You guys in Malaysia are out of your mind,
Gypsum fibrosum is used in USA for sheet rock walls,
or gypsum board used for wall partitions. Why not add asbestos to your drinks too. Haha Bunch of loonies

julian on :

My, what incisive wit! What a credit to your country you are.

XiaXueYi on :

Why do you eat any food them? They contain calcium, which can give bladder stones, or iron (used to make hammer heads and screwdrivers) which can cause iron poisoning.

Or how about table salt which is made with a combination of explosive metal and corrosive gas.

In other words, you aren't any good with your science. Stop being clever, why not eat many chocolate pieces a day and see whether you get sore throat or fever the next day?

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