柴胡加竜骨牡蛎湯

Over the last couple of years I've found myself battling a number of persistent issues that I have generally considered to be related to stress and anxiety. Irritability, hearing problems, an inability to understand words, dreams about work, and an utter loss of appetite are just a few of the conditions I considered to be caused by the endless tensions felt throughout the day. There's no denying that work certainly contributes to the matter, but there's no logical reason for it to generate the full list of qualms that lead to the barely constrained rage that has started to reappear. There must be more to it.

A little over a week ago Reiko suggested I try some Chinese medicine to help with the unhealthy levels of anxiety that I was feeling by lunchtime every working day, and 柴胡加竜骨牡蛎湯1 specifically. This particular mixture is said to help alleviate the feelings of anxiety that contribute to stress that result in all sorts of consequences. We found some at a nearly pharmacy and picked up a box to test it out.

There are a couple of things to note about Chinese medicine. The first is that it does not work like western pharmaceuticals. So a single dose will do very little to alleviate any particular problem. The amount of time a person needs to take a mixture will vary on a number of factors but, generally, I have found that 3 days is the requisite amount of time required before the effects can be noticed. The first pouch was taken on Saturday after lunch and by Tuesday night I was feeling pretty good. Wednesday was even better and one of the first nights in months where I didn't dream about work. On Thursday the normal day-to-day things that would have me foaming at the mouth by 3:00pm were of no serious concern to me. And Friday was an incredibly productive and positive day.

The medicine with the 11-syllable name was incredibly effective.

This past weekend had a slightly different schedule on account of the boy's birthday, which meant that I missed some of the dosage times. Ideally the medicine should be taken immediately after a meal or right before bed. Every time a dose was missed, I would have problems with my hearing within three hours. When there are problems hearing, I get irritated. Irritation turns to frustration. Frustration escalates.

So clearly the stuff is having a positive effect on my mental health and ensuring that the people around me can have a pleasant day as well. A win-win scenario for the low-low price of 83 Yen per dose.

But is this tenable in the long run?

The first box of Saikokaryūkotsuboreitō packets is almost empty so we'll get some more on order right away. There's a vendor on Amazon that has the very same brand and strength that I'm using now for about 1,350 Yen per box, which makes each dose 56.25 Yen; a slightly better proposition for long-term consumption. If this mostly-natural remedy resolves one of the longest-standing issues I've had as an adult, then I'll owe a giant debt of gratitude to the generations of herbalists in China who concocted the mixture. There are enough real things in the world to be upset about. There is no point letting the mind blow little things out of proportion simply because there is always so much to do and less time to do it in.


  1. さいこかりゅうこつぼれいとう - This would be pronounced "Saikokaryūkotsuboreitō" … which is more than a mouthful.