09 Mar Story of the Fisherman & His Daughter
Pu Gong Ying – Asian Dandelion or “Fisherman’s Herb”
Pharmaceutical Name: Herba Taraxaci
The 16-year old daughter of a government official in ancient China was suffering from mastitis with a triangular lump underneath her left breast. She was in pain and was becoming very worried, but she dared not tell anybody about it, because deep down inside she felt very ashamed, although she had done nothing wrong.
But her illness was subsequently found out by her maid, who disclosed it to the girl’s father, pleading with him to hire a doctor.
On inquiry into his daughter’s condition, the official became very angry, as he suspected that his daughter Image courtesy of Oshims Herbal Pharmacy
must have done something immoral to have caused her mastitis. He rushed to his daughter’s room and began to strike her in the face.
“How could you do such a shameful thing – you are disgrace to your family!” shouted the father. The maid insisted that his daughter had never gone out alone, and could not have possibly done anything immoral. The father wouldn’t listen and so the daughter ran away from home that night out of fear and desperation.
She went to the riverbank and thinking that no one would be around at that hour to see her, she quickly jumped into the river in an attempt to commit suicide because she didn’t know how to swim.
However, a fisherman was fishing from a rowboat nearby with his 16-year old daughter. When they heard the splash, the fisherman’s daughter instantly jumped into the river to save her. Once they were both on board, the fisherman was surprised to see a girl about the same age as his daughter.
They rowed the shocked, unconscious girl to shore where the fisherman’s daughter began to change the girl’s clothes, giving the girl her own extra set of clothes. In the process, she discovered the swelling in the young woman’s left breast. At that moment, she immediately understood the reason for her attempted suicide. After telling her father about it, the fisherman replied, “We will go dig some plants for her first thing in the morning.”
The plant turned out to be a perennial herb with white milky juice in it, yellowish flowers and straight but fleshy, thick roots. They found the plants the following day on the roadside not far from the river. After digging, washing them clean and boiling them in water, they told the girl to drink the liquid. In the meantime, the fisherman instructed his daughter to crush some of the whole plant and apply them to the girl’s breast externally.
Upon hearing of the whereabouts and the attempted suicide of their daughter, the official and his wife, feeling greatly worried and deeply regretful, rushed to see the fisherman to bring their daughter home. Their daughter, grateful and in tears, said goodbye to the fisherman and his daughter, going home with her parents and taking a bunch of the plants with her. Before she left, the fisherman kept reminding her to continue using the herbs for her illness.
After she fully recovered from her mastitis, the official’s daughter told her maid to plant the herb in their garden. So that she would always remember the fisherman and his daughter, she named the plant after him without knowing their names.
Experiments show that Pu Gong Ying contains folic acid and strong anti-bacterial properties. It is widely used to treat breast cancer, mastitis, hepatitis, appendicitis, urinary tract infections, acute tonsillitis, mumps, pharyngitis, influenza, laryngitis, and sore throat.