|Official Name||Toutong Cai|
|Common Name||Toutong Roots|
|Common Use||Food, Medicinal|
The Toutong Cai is an herb whose roots are primarily used in curing stomach aches and other digestion-related ailments. The plant is native to the Far East lands of the Ch'ien-Ji. It has a spicy taste which makes it a common ingredient in many Ch'ien-Ji dishes. As such, it is known as an exotic ingredient to the rest of the world. It is known as the main Alchemy ingredient for the creation of Toutong Yun, medicinal pills that are taken to alleviate digestive problems.
Toutong Cai was first cultivated in the Chien-Ji's ancient homeland, Shi-Yao-Lan, where it was used in cooking and as medicine as far back as recorded history. As a medicine, the herb was most commonly used as the main ingredient for Toutong Yun, a ball-shaped pill that can be taken to soothe stomach and digestion problems. After the Ch'ien-Ji's exodus from their home, the plant was carried over to the Yang-tzu Islands where the herb's usage had remained fairly unchanged for centuries.
In modern times, interactions with foreign nations through trade and cultural influence opened the way to experimentation with new medical and alchemical techniques. Recipes for Toutong Yun have been changed and improved with the addition of new herbs and ingredients to bolster the pill's effects. With advancement in technology allowing for larger scale production of the pills, different specialized variations of the pill have popped up. Some are made specifically for treating indigestion, some specifically for vomiting, others yet only for diarrhea, and so on.
Toutong Cai is grown for its thick, knobby rhizomes or storage roots which develop underground. These have a dull golden color and can spread horizontally up to a foot long in tuberous sections about the size of a fist. Thick roots grow from these rhizomes and anchor the plant to the ground. Each section can send up a new shoot which grows into another stem. Above ground, the plant is a simple grass-like plant with a thin stem and long, thin leaves that fan out sideways, creating the image of a wide but flat plant. The Toutong Cai blossoms with a tight cluster of small white flowers at the top of its stem.
Uses and Abilities
The roots of Toutong Cai are spicy and is often used in Ch'ien-Ji cooking. The roots are usually chopped into slices that can be used to marinate meat and fish, or heated with oil to produce a savory aroma when frying food. Toutong slices can also be seeped in hot water to make a variety of herbal teas. The leaves, while not as popular an ingredient, can also be chopped and used for many meat and vegetable dishes.
The main use of Toutong roots are for relieving digestive problems. Common home remedies involve simply taking a bite of the spicy root and chewing on it or making teas as previously mentioned. A more professional method involves using a pestle and mortar to make Toutong Yun, a small round pill about the size of an olive that comes in various shades of brown, earthy green or black. The pill can calm stomach aches and heartburn by neutralizing stomach acid. It can also relieve vomiting, bloating, excessive gas, diarrhea, and other digestive related problems.
The pill is made by grinding Toutong roots and other herbs into a fine powder, which is then combined with bits of water and filler ingredients such as flour which bind the ingredients together and help the pill keeps its shape. This creates a doughy mixture which is then shaped into round pills and allowed to dry. The pill remains effective for several months if properly stored. It is usually chewed rather than swallowed whole, the effects begin minutes after consumption and relief lasts for a few hours.
- Toutong Yun has a sweet, earthy flavor with a lot of bitterness. The plant's natural spiciness is also present though less pronounced. Different recipes for the pill create slight variations in taste.
- While pills have been the traditional method of application, modern Alchemists have experimented with liquid remedies that more strongly concentrates the effects of the root and can be absorbed by the body more easily. This method has not become widespread yet due to traditional medicine makers being very defensive of their practice.