East versus West: Alternative Medicine

Ancient and Mystic

Who will not look at other avenues for cure?

We did.  And he came heavily recommended.   One touch at the pulse, one look at the throat and the extended tongue, and he will know what is wrong with you.  At least that was what we were told.

He was Dr. Tan Ci Shou and he practiced traditional Chinese medicine.  A healer (there are many accounts from friends and strangers that make him sound larger than life).

I have no knowledge of traditional Chinese medicine.  Or what I think I know, I learned from some Chinese movie (or is it from a Korean tele-series?) and novels (Amy Tan?).  But it is fascinating and enchanting and carries more charm than the synthetic (non-natural and expensive) medicine of the west.

And okay, we were something short of desperate – as the pronouncement from our three doctors did not sound very promising.

So one Sunday afternoon, we meandered along the streets of Binondo to Fu Yong Mansion, Ongpin corner Teodora Alonso Street.  It was there that we found him, at a nondescript, decaying building, two fu dogs guarding the entrance.  We were excited to meet our alternative (also scared).

He was wearing white and sat at the corner of a box-shaped room, flanked by a female assistant and 5 other people.  We sat and waited for our turn (hand on the camera – I originally wanted to document the experience but did not because I got shy).  I imagined how this office must look like on a regular day (not on a Sunday at 4pm), when a line would snake out from the room, down the stairs and onto the hot, busy street, everyone sharing their stories (or not), while waiting for their 5 minutes with Dr. Tan.

Because really, that is all it takes.

The conversation (which was in Chinese) roused me from my reverie.  Hubby, who understood a smattering of Cantonese explained to me that they – Dr. Tan and his current patient – were talking in Fookien (which he does not understand).  We shared a laugh (we were both nervous and could see it in each other’s eyes).  The doctor dismissed the patient in front of him and barked at hubby to come near.  Hand to pulse, eyes to tongue and throat, the doctor said, “Mahina puso” (weak heart).

Amazing.  But then we already kind of knew that.

He then asked “Tableta o laga?” (tablet or tea?).  Since we had a little introduction to Dr. Tan and his ways and knew that tea is abominable (awful, gross) but more potent, hubby answered “Tea…?”  Dr. Tan then proceeded to write some Chinese characters on white paper, gave us a calling card for a Chinese Drug Store where we can get the “medicine”, gave us a list of what hubby is not supposed to eat or do and barked for his fee (400 pesos or less than $10).

Dazed, we went out of the room.  The paper in our hands said: For Clients with Heart Problems.  Abstain from: oily and greasy foods (all types of animal fat), ice and cold foods, carbonated drinks, liquor, cigarettes, coffee, eggs, strenuous exercises.  Please keep warm and be very careful of catching colds.  Mild exercises such as leisurely walking is advisable.  Clients with heart problems caused by goiter/thyroid (hubby does not have this) should avoid cabbage, radish, eggplant and carrots for life.

We walked out to the sun and walked straight to Hogwarts, er, the Ching Tay Chinese Drug Store, which was around the bend.  We found herbs, dried and hung, claws attached to appendages, things (plant or animal?) which looked and smelled like dung – all fascinating and powdered and smashed and grated and weighed by 5 busy women.

We went back 2 more times to Dr. Tan and would have continued but we got the ultimatum and had to do the pacemaker implantation emergency surgery.

Yes, hubby is now okay, breathes better but his doctors made it clear that the pacemaker will not totally heal hubby’s heart.

So Dr. Tan will get a visit from us soon. We are not sure how effective he is, but he is okayed by hubby’s doctors (the “West”) who see no harm in us trying traditional Chinese medicine.

Hopefully, hopefully, the East will work its magic.

Be rich,


Article by Issa.  Art by D. Copyright 2010.
website: www.YouWantToBeRich.com
email: [email protected]

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  2. jillsabs says:

    I’m keeping you and your hubby in my prayers. Stay strong Issa!

  3. Glenda says:

    May you and your family find the true purpose of the challenges coming your way and be at peace always. Keep smiling!

  4. Pingback: Melissa Briones
  5. Issa says:

    @Obet He requires you to return to him when the tea/tablets have been consumed. Usually, the prescription lasts 3 days so you return to him after 3 days. So you visit him twice a week, at most.

  6. L says:

    Hi! May I know if he charges for the consultation and if he does, how much did it cost? Should we also tell them ahead we’re arriving or can we just walk in? 🙂
    Thank you!

  7. Issa says:

    @L He charges P400 per session (as of April/May 2010). And yes, you can just do a walk in. If you can, bring a friend who can speak Chinese so you can ask him all of your questions. Please let me know how it goes 🙂

  8. pepper timi says:

    hi melissa,
    i have witnessed how dr. tan treated my friend with leukemia after drinking herbal medicine and i have other friends with cancer that were all treated and healed now. Patience is a virtue. Goodluck.
    Pepper timi

  9. Issa says:

    @Pepper Timi Truth be told, we have not been back to Dr. Tan’s since hubby’s pacemaker implantation. I understand he does not accept clients who has had surgery (not verified, though). But from time to time, we wonder, had we waited, would hubby still have needed a pacemaker implantation? But yes, Dr. Tan’s success stories are many and if we were given a more positive prognosis, maybe we would have waited it out too. Thank you for your comment and more power to you.

  10. Paulchamberlain_cornejo says:

    hi,i have a problem in my SGPT can Dr.Tan can give me advise or best cure for this wc is he believes that will be effective enough to lowered it…ty ( if please can email me on [email protected] )

  11. Issa says:

    @Paulchamberlain Not sure if he can diagnose SGPT or give the cure for it. But you can try. Personally, my GGT (not SGPT, though, but both are related to liver function) was also high a few years back. And I was in danger of having cirrhosis of the liver – when I do not even drink alcohol! Through research, I found out that because I drank too much antibiotics in my life (this country’s doctors like to prescribe antibiotics for everything), I was killing even my good bacteria. And over time, when the bacterias recover, the bad bacteria grow faster than the good, and they somehow produce alcohol, hence the imbalance and the high GGT. One way to balance things out is through probiotics, though, which you can get from Yakult, among others. Or you can take acidophilus bifidus (from Healthy Options), which was what I did. After a few months of religiously taking acidophilus bifidus, my GGT was lowered. It was amazing.

    Here’s a disclaimer, though. I am not a doctor. This comment is not intended as and does not substitute for medical advice, but only to let you know about my experience. And like I said, GGT is different from SGPT. There are also other things to consider – like history, etc. Please also know that acidophilus bifidus is a supplement and has no approved therapeutic claims. I suggest you consult a doctor, or Dr. Tan. Please let me know how it goes. Thanks!

  12. Issa says:

    @Mcalmenar I think there is no harm in going to Dr. Tan. I am sure he will let you know if he can help. God bless.

  13. Issa says:

    @Mcalmenar I think there is no harm in going to Dr. Tan. I am sure he will let you know if he can help. God bless.

  14. Johsmdl says:

    I will be going to Dr. Tan’s clinic today 10 December 2011. He was highly recommended by my sister. Been hearing good things about the doctor. Before I go there, i am praying fog Lord guidance. I know and i believe that prayer morethan anything alse is a powerful tool. And Dr. Tan is hopefully an instrument to be used by the Lord for all our sickness. Lets be all positive that Lord will guide us and Dr. Tan will help us. God Bless us all.

  15. Anonymous says:

    Don’t worry, Johnsmdi. I am sure He will be there and that He will be guiding Dr. Tan. Best of luck .

  16. Guest says:

    hi pepper can you refer to me your friends with cancer that were healed by dr. tan. my dad has cancer and i would really like for him to talk to healed patients because he is having second thoughts on taking alternative meds. thank you. my number is 09167710411.

  17. youwanttoberich says:

    Hi Pepper, Apes,

    My father died of cancer and sometimes I wonder if we made the wrong choice – chemotherapy – knowing what we know now. Chemotherapy kills all cells, bad or good. It caused my father agony – caused him to be weaker – and it killed him at the end. If I knew then what I know now, I would probably embrace alternative medicine. The gentler effects of alternative medicine would make for what they call, “quality of life” and maybe, hopefully, full recovery. But it is too late and we are left with only regrets.

    Dr. Tan’s batting average is good, based on what I have heard and what you confirm here, Pepper. Thank you. My prayers are with you and your father, Apes. Let us know how else we can help.


  18. Linnel says:

    Nakapag pacheck up na din ako dun, at nagulat ako dahil may kasamang hitsurang ipis ang herbal! Kaya medyo nadidiri ako inumin, siguro gamot yun or cultured ung ipis pero, kahit na ipis pa din eh.

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