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Gender, Health, and History in Modern East Asia$
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Angela Ki Che Leung and Izumi Nakayama

Print publication date: 2018

Print ISBN-13: 9789888390908

Published to Hong Kong Scholarship Online: September 2018

DOI: 10.5790/hongkong/9789888390908.001.0001

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Housewives as Kitchen Pharmacists

Housewives as Kitchen Pharmacists

Dr. Chuang Shu Chih, Gendered Identity, and Traditional Medicine in East Asia

(p.166) 6 Housewives as Kitchen Pharmacists
Gender, Health, and History in Modern East Asia

Sean Hsiang-lin Lei

Hong Kong University Press

By way of analyzing the health doctrine of Dr. Zhuang Shuqi 莊淑旂 (1920-2015), arguably the most popular author of traditional medicine in contemporary Taiwan, this paper discovers a surprisingly close alliance between gender role and traditional medicine, an alliance that she created on the basis of the allegedly traditional practice of viewing food as medicine. Instead of promoting the general idea that food has health benefits, Dr. Zhuang used her own personal tragedies to argue for the provocative idea that inappropriate intake of food is what causes people to fall victim to cancer. As each food functions like a double-edged sword, both the major cause of and a powerful tool for coping with cancer, preparing food in the kitchen, in her eyes, becomes comparable to handling effective and dangerous drugs in the “family pharmacy.” As the result, Dr. Zhuang urged housewives to identify themselves with the role of the “family pharmacist” and to take responsibility for the health of the whole Family.”

Keywords:   Chinese Medicine, Gender, Housewife, Food, Traveling Comparison

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