August 02, 2010

Of porcupines, bezoar stones and a tarred lung

The last time I met my ex-colleague, he asked me “Hey Shiek, you trekked a lot of jungles right?” I said “Yes, why?” He then asked “Have you come across porcupines?” I thought why a sudden interest in porcupines, so I asked him “Why? Can eat arr? “No lah” he said. “But some porcupines have some sort of stones in them … they are called the bezoar stones” he added. “Huh? “What stone?” I asked curiously. He then showed me a brochure which contains pictures of a type of stone that supposedly have great medicinal value. It is called “hao zhu zhao” (mandarin) or bezoar stone in English. It was the first time I heard about the bezoar stone.

He then told me that many “lou sais” (big bosses) and “yau cheen lous” (rich people) are now paying thousands of dollars to buy these stones. Some Chinese medicine shops are selling it at RM1000 for just half a gram. Wow, must be some sort of wonder stone. Later I found out that bezoar is a mass of food, usually from consuming grass and herbs, found trapped in an animal’s stomach system and is historically used in Chinese traditional medicine.

It is believed by some that the porcupine bezoar stone can be used to cure cancer, diabetes, dengue, typhoid, epilepsy, hepatitis and many more. Really? Then why the hell all those scientists are still searching everywhere for a cancer cure … hey, search no further, we have plenty of porcupines in Malaysia! Porcupine bezoar stone can cure deadly diseases? Naaaah! I tell you what … I am not convinced at all until it is scientifically proven. Whether it really has fantastic healing abilities or it is just a simple gall stone, it is up to you to believe. If it really works for you … great, I wish you a speedy recovery.

The irony is that many rich bosses are paying thousands of dollars for the stones hoping that they will cure them of their various health problems. Why the irony? First, these rich “lou sais” spend thousands on their excessively lifestyles. Believe me, I have seen so many of them wasting away their perfect health due to their over indulging habits. And when their well being began to deteriorate attracting a host of health problems, they then spend thousands on strange stuffs like the porcupine bezoar stone hoping to find some sort of miracle to solve their problems. Actually they are hoping for an easy way to buy back their health with money.

Hey, it is none of my business what people do with their money and their well being right? Look, I am also talking about myself. Many years ago I too wasted away my health. Not that I am a "yau cheen lou" but I over indulged in a poor man’s luxury … cigarettes! I smoked away one of my lungs. Those days I was doing three large packs of cigarettes a day and over the years, my lungs were smoked hard and brittle. One fine day out of the blue, one of my lungs decided to collapse and I ended up in the ER. Looking at the x-ray the doctor said “Tak nampak apa apa lah” (can’t see anything) and I said “Macam tu baik lah” (like that it is ok then, thinking that there is nothing wrong). Then he said “Tak nampak sebab semua sudah hitam lah” (cannot see anything because the lung was all black … probably full of tar).

An immediate thoracic surgery was arranged to fix the tarred lung that was punctured in five places. I was wheeled into the operation theatre on a cold stainless steel trolley (just like dead bodies being pushed in some CSI episodes). And just before they put the mask on me, I saw the “tunnel with a light at the end” and before I have time to figure out whether it is really a light at the end or a bloody on-coming train … everything went black.

I woke up with tubes all over me. Terribly in pain but was glad my good thoracic surgeon pulled me out of the tunnel. I realised I was in ICU, hooked up on a machine that was making an irritating “teet, teet, teet” sound. Though irritating but I know this sound means everything is OK … was really worried that it may just go “teeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeet” (then you won’t be reading this). While recovering in the hospital, my doctor took me to see a small girl and said to me “Shiek, this girl was born with a defective lung … she have no choice but to suffer but you were born with perfect lungs and yet you chose to smoked it away”.

I smoked away one of my lungs and now I do not have 100% capacity of it. I have to live with that for the rest of my life. I will not be able to do a lot of things that a person with a healthy lung can do. No matter how much I exercise or how many mountains I trek, I cannot bring back my health. Nor can I spend thousands to buy some miracle stones to cure it. I regretted it deeply.


Anonymous said...

hi shiek,

wow! never knew u had a lung sergery before. but glad tat u can njoy life wt trekking now.

it's never too late or i'd say regret is useless. just learn and hope for the best fr our past mistakes.

i wud not beleive in unproven chinese medicines as well. a lot of them hv steroids inside. u know wat? studies hv proven tat if u smoke 1 packet of cigarette a day for 20 yrs, very likely u will get COPD (Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease), a chronic lung disease, basically ur lung is already spoilt by d tars.

anyway, glad u survive n njoy life! Cheers..


Shiek Eng Meng said...


Thanks again for reading and commenting on my blog.

I just hope that those who read my article don't take their health for granted. My message is ... money cannot buy back your health.


The trekker, agnes said...

hi shiek,
Persuers in the rat race will work all their life to gain money and possession, not taking priority of health, then later need to buy back health, if it is still there. Irony isn't it ??

Shiek Eng Meng said...

Thanks Agnes for your comment ... which is exactly what I am talking about ... but sadly many people don't see the irony of this.


M said...

Dear Shiek,

I stumbled on your blog during my search for more info on these bezoar stones. While I agree with you that money can't buy back health, I think it's unfair to tag people looking for expensive alternative medicines as rich people who has wasted away their health.

Some people have no choice and is desperate to look for cures for their loved ones who are diagnosed with terminal illnesses and is willing to pay as long there's a chance that they will get better.

I am not rich but a friend has recently been diagnosed with third stage cancer and all our friends are trying to pool are resources to pay for this "rich man's medicine". Although I am doubtful of the effectiveness of this so-called "medicine" but if it gives my friend a fighting chance, then we are willing to try as long as it does not make it worse.

Anonymous said...

shiek, for your record only 0.3% of the porcupine got bezoar. that y it is so expensive in the first way.there is some scientist start look into chinese medical seriously as an alternative way to heal human being and bezoar is 1 of the item they study. and last but not least, if it is proven that bezoar can really cure ur lung, do u wish to buy it? so is not fair to judge those rich ppl on how they try to regain their health back

Shiek Eng Meng said...

Thanks for your comments ... first of all, if the stones works wonder for anyone, I am all glad for the person.

For me, I don't believe it and so I don't think it will work for me ... that is why I wrote this article for about the bezoar stones ... if there is scientific proof that it works, then it would have change the medical world already.

It is strictly my very own opinion and my very own point of view that people are wasting precious dollars for these stones ... you don't have to agree with me.

Anyone can have their own opinion ... that is why I like people to comment and share their thoughts ... I am sure there are many people with strong beliefs that the bezoar stones will work for them ... by all means, use it. And I sincerely hope they will recover and get better soon.

People may think that it is not fair for me to judge the rich seeking regain their health ... I agree that every one will try everything to cure themselves ... with alternative ways or others ... BUT my point is about those people who destroyed their health with their over indulging habits in the first place.

Maybe to shed a bit of light in this point, for your info, I used to work in the liquor industry ... believe me, I have seen people wasting away their health downing bottles of hard liquor every night ... and when their liver burnt out, then they look for miracles to cure them so they can start drinking again ... that is the irony I am talking about. Again this is my very own point of view.

Thanks again for your comments :)

Anonymous said...

Hi Shiek,

The benzoar stones powder works well on me. When I diagnosed with dengue in 2010. My brother from Malaysia brought a few packets of the benzoar stones powder to the hospital for me. I consumed one small packet of that and my fever & cold is gone the next day. Doctors discharged
me after the next day. I should said it works wonderfully.

Stone Shiek said...

I am glad that the bezoar stone works for you ... that is absolutely wonderful :)

But still I am not convinced ... anyway that's just me :)

Anonymous said...

Some friend of mine do bussines with that stone...
They kill many porcupine just to find the stone...

Anonymous said...


I am not a 'yau cheen lou' and it really stretches my wallet to buy 2 doses of this bezoar concoction from Eu Yan San just now. Cost me almost SGD30 per dose and that is only for 1 day. I am a desperate mommy. He has been coughing and runny nose with loads of mucus and phlegm since March, 3 months now. 4 visits to family doctor plus chest x-ray no help. I decided to try this and pray to God that he get some respite.

Stone Shiek said...

Hi ... though I am not a believer of bezoar stones but that is just me.

If it works on other people, I am glad and I really hope it works for you too.

Anonymous said...

Maybe they should xray it first.

Anonymous said...

Hey my father has been buying/selling porcupine stone for quite soemtime. I hope you don't mind visiting his website.

Hope it helps people who are looking for porcupine stone too. Great article :)

May Yu said...

Nice article there.
Anyway, different people have their own beliefs and opinion. Most modern lifestyle people don't believe chinese medicine because its not scientifically proven and there are quite many people who prefer chinese medicine because of experience/history proven it to work, better than taking drugs.
I don't believe there is a single medicine out there that can cure so many disease. It's the way to sell their product. Porcupine Bezoar, like u said, created by cosuming herbs. It's proven to booast a human's immunity so it can help you fight ur sickness, not CURE them.