With a high altitude and a natural environment free from pollution, Qinghai puts out a great variety of natural native and special products well known far and wide. Areas where these goods come from are shrouded in mystery. They attract people to see the province on the Qinghai-Tibet Plateau.
It is a kind of rare and miraculous medicinal herb, and a traditional item of export. Chinese historical record has described it as having the dual nature of “an insect and a plant”, which makes it more mysterious. In fact, it is a worm called hepialus armoricanus, and a parasitic fungus that grows on the head of the worm. The Chinese caterpillar fungus grows on the meadows in mountains 500-3,800 meters above sea level. It has the functions of protecting the lung and benefiting the kidney, increasing vitality, reducing phlegm, relieving cough, building up health, lengthening human life, refreshing the brain and keeping the eyes clear. It is used as a major ingredient in some related products, such as caterpillar fungus liquor and caterpillar fungus extractives, popularly known as high-grade tonic both at home and abroad.
Made from the highland barley unique to the Qinghai-Tibet Plateau, the liquor is brewed with procedures that combine the traditional technology of more than 300 years old with modern scientific method. The best brand of the liquor comes from Weiyuan Town of Huzhu Tu Ethnic Autonomous County. With a nice aroma, clear appearance and a low content of alcohol, the liquor never makes people feel dizzy or parched in the month. It is indispensable for local residents.
It is the Chinese transliteration of the nostoc flagelliforme, known as the “dainty of the plateau”. Pronounced exactly like “making a fortune” in Chinese, facai is considered the best gift for relatives and friends on festive occasions. It is, like kelp and laver, a kind of genus that grows on mountain slopes with proper humidity and precipitation in winter and spring. Facai is so named because of its black color and hair-like shape. Containing abundant microelements such as calcium, phosphorus and iron and other nutrition, it helps build up people’s health, cure hypertension, and lower the level of cholesterol and lipemia in the human body. It can make delicious dishes together with other ingredients, such as Facai with Egg Roll, which is often served by local people to their distinguished guests. Other famous facai dishes include “Brewed Facai” in Beijing, “Mixed Facai” in Shaanxi and “Facai Ball” in Fujian.
Facai is not only a major ingredient for good dishes, but also has medicinal effects in treating some gynaecological diseases, diarrhea, nosebleed and wound after operation. The plant has been put under government protection.
Many Chinese may not know what juema is but are familiar with an episode in the Chinese classical novel, Journey to the West, in which the hero, Monkey King stole ginseng fruits in a temple. In fact, juema is exactly the ginseng fruits referred to in the classics. Containing abundant starch, protein, fat, inorganic salt and vitamin, this wild herbaceous perennial plant can help one’s digestion, invigorate the function of the spleen, produce saliva to slake thirst, increase vitality, enrich the blood and stop bleeding. Local people also use its tuber as an ingredient in preparing “eight-treasure porridge” and rice pudding.
It is the greasy secretion with a powerful odor, produced in a glandular sac below the navel of a male musk deer. It is a rare traditional Chinese medicinal material medical effective for detoxification, diminishing inflammation, resuscitation with aromatics, expelling parasitic worms, stopping bleeding and relieving pain. It is also a major ingredient in the manufacture of perfumes. Qinghai is a principal producer of musk. The main elements contained in musk are muskone, andorsterone, fat, ammonium salt and calcium salt. Many kinds of medicine have it for its miraculous pharmacological functions. The “Qinghai Musk Paste” is an essential for households and travelers to keep with, because it can effectively relieve rheumatic pains, invigorate blood circulation, ease pains, relieve convulsion and reduce swelling.
It is the horn of a young stag before its ossification. Consisting of various elements, including colloid, protein, calcium, phosphorus and magnesium, it is a precious traditional medicinal material for clinic application with the functions of strengthening vitality and building up health.