The sky’s the limit for an ancient hemorrhoid cure

“The person who created this stuff should receive a Nobel Prize, an exemption from China’s one-child policy, front row seats at the Olympics, an entire stable of miniature giraffes, and free Ivy League education for their children,” raves one top-rated Amazon review. Another, from Australia, calls it a “gamechanger.”

A cure for cancer? A remedy for baldness? The cheeky remarks, in fact, refer to a cure for a more fundamental ailment: hemorrhoids. If they are to be believed, a Chinese ointment allegedly dating back to the Ming dynasty may offer the ultimate relief for those suffering from a condition that typically provokes more giggles than sympathy, but affects 50 percent of China’s population.

Its makers say that Mayinglong, an over-the-counter ointment, contains “seven traditional Chinese medicines,” including musk and bezoar from an ox’s stomach, which can “soothe, relieve and heal inflamed, painful hemorrhoids and anal fissures.” Ma Jintang, a Muslim doctor specializing in herbal medicines in Dingzhou, Hebei province, originally formulated the ointment in 1582 to treat eye inflammation.

This is subscriber exclusive content

Become a subscriber to continue reading

Bottoms Up is a story from our issue, “Wild Rides.” To read the entire issue, become a subscriber and receive the full magazine. Alternatively, you can purchase the digital version from the App Store.


Huang Sizhuo is a contributing writer at The World of Chinese.

Related Articles