Getting a cold these days is frightfully inconvenient and that’s just what happened to me in the past two weeks. Finally, my throat got to the point where it needed soothing throwing salt water gargle, honey water, and time to break open that new bottle of Pei Pa Koa (枇杷膏).
Several years ago, I couldn’t find a bottle at T&T and bought a copycat brand and it was not tasty. Effective but really gross. What’s beautiful is how much I look forward to my next dose!
About its name
Wikipedia has some remarks about the name and I put the name through Google for my own edification. First off, it seems to be an older system of Cantonese romanization and did not get updated to Jyutping or – worse – Pinyin.
The full name is 京都念慈菴川貝枇杷膏 with the following notes:
- Wiki explains that 京都 refers to Beijing although Google Translate will tell you it commonly and currently meants Kyoto, Japan
- Wiki also explains that 念慈 means “in memory of mother” – the Jyutping is “nim6 ci4”
- Wiki claims 枇杷膏 means “loquat syrup” but Google Translate thinks it means “ointment”. 枇杷 is “loquat” and 膏 is “paste”
- Leaving 菴川貝 – 川貝 is “tendril-leaved fritillary bulb” (Bulbus fritillariae cirrhosae in the image below) – 菴 returns “I don’t know” from Google Translate and no result from Sheik Cantonese dictionary!
About the packaging
I love the illustration of the herbs that make up the syrup (list cribbed from Wiki to save me time)
- fritillary bulb (Bulbus fritillariae cirrhosae, 川貝母)
- loquat leaf (Eriobotrya japonica, 枇鈀葉)
- fourleaf ladybell root (Adenophora tetraphylla, 南沙參)
- Indian bread (Wolfiporia extensa), 茯苓)
- pomelo peel (Citrus maxima, 化橘紅)
- chinese bellflower root (Platycodon grandiflorum, 桔梗)
- pinellia rhizome (Pinellia ternata, 半夏)
- Schisandra seed (Schisandra chinensis, 五味子)
- Trichosanthes seed (Trichosanthes kirilowii, 栝蔞)
- coltsfoot flower (Tussilago farfara, 款冬花)
- Thinleaf Milkwort root (Polygala tenuifolia, 遠志)
- bitter apricot kernel (Prunus armeniaca, 苦杏仁)
- fresh ginger (Zingiber officinale, 生薑)
- licorice root (Glycyrrhiza uralensis, 甘草)
- menthol in a syrup and honey base
And if the illustrations that harken back to old school botanical texts weren’t cool enough, I flipped the sheet over and I have no idea what it all symbolizes but it’s way cool.