Lucy De La Cruz
University of Mississippi ’20
On July 11th, we went on a tour to one of Jaseng’s Herbal Dispensaries. Jaseng provides a trip for their patients to know where their prescriptions are created. There is lunch included in this trip as well. We rode a bus to the location and there were about 20 people all together. When we arrived, we were all gathered in a room to prepare for the tour. The people there gave us a very healthy tea that included nuts. For me, it was a strong type of tea. Like coffee and tea together. I really liked it and felt healthier as I drank it.
The first room we visited was the room where the pharmacists carefully weighed the ingredients.
Similar to what I had seen in the Handok Museum, they used small wooden cabinets to store all the ingredients.
When I heard about the delivery process I was amazed.
Jaseng really works hard to provide medicine to their patients in a quick and efficient manner. The storage room was fascinating as well. I saw the deer antlers that I had read about and we had the chance to hold one as well. In the beginning I felt bad for the deer, but when I was told that their antlers would grow back after being cut I was reassured.
I also learned that Jaseng always looks for the highest quality of ingredients for their medicine. They take into consideration the climate that creates the best ingredients and they do not restrict themselves to Korea only, but they take into consideration other countries that they believe grow the best ingredients, whatever it may be.
After looking through the storage room, we went to the decoction room. There were many metal containers there, the decoction machines, that were in charge of making each patient’s prescribed medicine. This usually takes about 3 to 4 hours to make. The labels that indicate whose prescription it is follows the medicine throughout each process. The temperatures during this process vary. It ranges from 14 degrees celsius to 60 degrees celsius.
After the decoction process we moved on to the packaging. The pipes behind each decoction machine transfer each of the products into a container. After they transfer the medicine, they are cleaned immediately. This seemed like an efficient way of quickly making a specific medicine.
I had only ever seen plastic pouches used for children’s drinks in the U.S. and I learned that they are also used to drink things like pumpkin juice here. However, I was not aware that it could also be used to store medicine. I realize that Jaseng did this for the convenience of their patients and I think it turned out to be a good idea. Each pouch is weighed to check if it is equal to the others. One of the ladies who participated in the tour asked about the amount of medicine and how its amount was a bit small compared to how much they were paying for it, but I think that the answer to her question was that having too much of this medicine would not be very beneficial. I agreed with this because too much of anything, no matter how healthy, can be harmful for you. It’s like carrots; although a very natural and healthy ingredient, it can be dangerous because if you exceed your portion, you will begin to turn orange.
Next we moved on to Gwanjulgo. It is used for cartilage regeneration and to strengthen the bone. This information is from research by Jaseng and Kyunghee University School of Korean Medicine. The texture of the Gwanjulgo was like slightly dry jelly. Each of these weighed 8 grams. We were given a sample of them to try out. It tasted very healthy and even though it had a sweet coating, there was a slightly bitter flavor. I felt healthier after eating it.
I found it interesting that it was aged for a week. I think this was to make sure that the ingredients were effective. You can have up to 3 a day and they come in small cylinder containers. Although they are small, they are quite expensive. A box with 3 sets of these can cost up to $630~.
Jaseng creates various forms of medicine. We were able to see how the liquid form and the pill form of medicine is made. One medicine that I wanted to receive was the Yookgongdan medicine. It is made of deer antlers and is supposed to help with memory loss. When I heard about this natural medicine I thought about taking some to my parents because, although they are not too old, I want them to continue to stay healthy.
The last room we visited was the shipment room. This is where the prescriptions are packed into boxes and sent to the recipients. They call each patient beforehand to make sure that the medicine is delivered safely and they also explain how and when to take the medicine as well.