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Thursday, November 16, 2006

Chinese herbal jelly (Guilingao)

Everytime I see a friend eating the chinese herbal jelly called Guilingao, I always tell them that it is actually made of tortoise shell (the authentic jelly anyway). And the debate never fails to start... They would claim it is not! And since most of the time these jelly sold in pasar malam did not come with any ingredient list, I was not able to convince them otherwise.

Then one day, I happened to chance upon one with the ingredient list.

Guiban. What is that? If you can read the chinese ingredient list, you would realise it literally means ‘tortoise board’. A search on the internet for this 'herb' called ‘guiban’ led me to these two sites: tcmtreatment.com & alternativehealing. Both sites says the guiban is actually the plastron.

And just to be sure what a plastron is, I looked it up in Wikipedia and got this:
Quoted from Wikipedia on 16th Nov 2006:
The plastron is the nearly flat part of the shell structure of a tortoise, what one would call the belly, similar in composition to the carapace; with an external layer of horny material divided into plates called scutes and an underlying layer of interlocking bones.

In certain families there is a hinge between the pectoral and abdominal scutes allowing the turtle to almost completely enclose itself. In certain species the sex of a testudine can be told by whether the plastron is concave, male or convex, female. This is because of the mating position.

Turtle plastrons were used by the ancient Chinese in a type of divination called plastromancy. See also oracle bones.


Yes, the authentic Guilingao uses parts from the tortoise. I don’t think anyone would wait for a tortoise to die of old age before using its platron to make this jelly. I believe tortoise can live for a very, very long time. Does this means they do to tortoise what fishermen do to sharks for shark’s fin?

A better question would be... Do we really need to eat this jelly?


Please leave your comments. There are 20 comment(s).

On 11/16/2006 05:57:00 PM Blogger Lonnie said:
If you believe that you can believe the ingredient's list on a Chinese anything I have this Transpacific bridge I want to interest you in...

Hey from Turtleville....

On 11/16/2006 11:00:00 PM Anonymous jac said:
Hmmm... I never knew that Guilingao is made of tortoise shell until today. Wow, so I've been eating tortoise shell for don't know how many years?!
On 11/17/2006 08:53:00 AM Blogger adriantai said:
jac, you can look at it this way... if you're eating the fake one, most likely it would not have any tortoise shell. in which case, then what's the point of eating the jelly since the 'detox', etc all comes from tortoise shell?

if you are eating the real one, hmmm... maybe you should look into other alternatives. Heard of Melilea or even Herbal Life? :) I'm sure many out there are more than happy to sell them to you.

Hey back Lonnie...!!! ;) Maybe you can source for some fake 'guiban' there and we can do business... But seriously, after my 2 holiday trips there (and lots of 'does-not-work' souvenirs), I'm quite skeptical of what is manufactured there... But I still have your contact details in case I really, really want to bring in some good stuffs... You're still good for it, right? :)
On 11/17/2006 10:09:00 PM Anonymous happy4GuilinGao said:
Melilia and herbalife all MLM la.
Best to take multi vits like pharmaton and lotsa excercise.

Besides, chinese also eat "water-fish"...which is another turtle/tortoise...so whats wrong with this guilingao?...Yummy!
On 11/17/2006 11:27:00 PM Anonymous Gigi said:
Hi everyone,
Allow me to ask you this question. How do u feel if your love ones get hurts or killed? (Touch wood, sorry) Then when you see the animals get killed for human's eating desire, don't you think their family will feel as hurt as you feel. U think the cow parents like to see his son get slaughtered or the other way? Just like u think your parents like to see u get hurt? It is the compassion everyone should develop to help make this world more peaceful, more beautiful without killing. My family have been vegetarian for over 10 yrs and we dont have any health issues. In fact my grandma recovers from her illness and is still living healthy. so does meat really make any good changes in one's health? Think about it fren, no offense though...
On 11/18/2006 12:08:00 AM Blogger adriantai said:
happy4watever, dats why i said 'm sure many out there are more than happy to sell them to you.

now we know why turtle population is dwindling... next time your grandkids ask what's a turtle, just tell them it's something you help make extinct. :)

and hello to you, gigi... long time no see... yup, i can understand what you mean...
On 11/18/2006 12:13:00 PM Blogger Happy4ever said:
I doubt its those turtles (big ones) that r used. Probably its those water-fish that are bred for food, and its shell used to make guilingao. Anyhow, I only tasted waterfish once. BTW, what do u call waterfish?

Tell this to the "ones" at the higher food chain. I'm sure "they" r more than willing to become herbivors.Heck, perhaps evolution will play its part and change all lions/tigers into vegans! So they wont have to run like shit for a decent meal..talk abt "fast" food.

Besides, I wonder what will those
mama & papa plants think when ppl pluck out its "offsprings" for food?

Oh..my grandma eats meat, lives to a ripe old age of 90++, can still walk and run. And passed away peacefully in her sleep. So does meat eating means they r more prone to health problems and higher mortality rate? Or does vege eating means any better?

Besides, watchout for over consumption on Soy-based products..especially tofu. Most are chemical based now, and prone to cause tumours.
On 11/18/2006 12:17:00 PM Anonymous vicky said:
The list says so, but I don't believe it's what it says. It exists if you believe.

Anyway, not a real fan of them.

I have got a vegeterian friend, I asked him why vegeterian. His reply still makes me ponder - they felt pain when killed. Erm...
maybe i'll join the big gang one day!
On 11/18/2006 12:35:00 PM Blogger adriantai said:
this is usually a subject matter i rather NOT talk about... because you'd have some MEAT activist who would feel offended when vegetarians share their opinion and then start to give extreme examples.

when people share and you are not interested in listening, then just dun listen la... why refute and claim the others are wrong. we're humans. we're all unique and think differently.

the other thing is... why is it people think vegetarians = people who survive on lots of soya... in the first place, soya = beans NOT vegetables. if one would only based his or her means on soya, they should be called soyarian or beanarians.

On 11/18/2006 12:52:00 PM Blogger Happy4ever said:
Heh, if u mean me refuting, its only due to the generalisation of vegans who blames meat eaters as being incompassionate without realising that plants MAY have feelings too. They also fail to realise its all part of nature and we, without our tools&equipments, are actually at the bottom of the foodchain. And from the tone of some vegetarians, you'll see they are offended at meat eaters (for them being incompassionate to animals)
Besides, if one can give their opinions, others too can give..regardless if these opinions are in agreement or mutually exclusive. So u have two sides of the story.

And as u know, i'm slowly moving into vegetarian products,(I have nothing against vegetarians) and most i find appalling is the chemical based processed vegetarian food. Fresh produce is best but organics r expensive.
On 11/18/2006 01:48:00 PM Blogger adriantai said:
happy, when someone calls themselves a vegetarian, it means eat vegetables la... ok, and beans, etc too...

nobody ask you to go eat mock-meat. like i said, if eat mock-meat only, then should be called soyatarian or something like that (mushroom head also ok since some of the 'mock-meat' are made of mushroom stalks... heh heh)

btw, i love mushrooms. :)

anyway, i'll be writing about the new food pyramid soon enuff... :)
On 11/18/2006 01:50:00 PM Blogger adriantai said:
i would dread to think too if everyone in this world turns vegetarian... i dun think we'd have enuff food... :)

so yes, we should celebrate the diversity...
On 11/18/2006 03:55:00 PM Blogger Happy4ever said:
What i meant was, most vegetarian foods sold and promoted in markets and restaurants..are mostly mock meat. Thats why i seldom go vege restaurants..unless i'm rich. The closest and "better-est" vege dish is chapfan with real vege.

Besides, i chance upon an email where a lady who consumes too much soya got cancer..since she thought soya was good for health (and helps lose weight).

Anyhow, i'm learning new vege dish to cook..but i hate all the washing and slicing.
On 11/18/2006 03:58:00 PM Blogger Happy4ever said:
Oh...and MaiKaiDee's recipe book does help.

Peanut sauce with popia...nice...but to make the sauce = hard work!
Well, no pain no gain!
On 11/22/2006 12:05:00 AM Anonymous Gigi said:
Sorry didnt mean to provoke so much personal opinion or comment. And if I sounded personal I apologize. Ofcoz there is no proof that vege will live longer, one's mortality depends on a lot of factors. Not only the food we consume, but also merits we inherited from the past(Happy: like yur grandma, she must had accumulated lot of merit). Actually, like atai said, being vege is not just mock-meat or soy.. one has to eat balance to stay balance. Thats why we like to promote taking grain or wheat products. Vegetable and fruits ofcoz is the most healthy source. Thats why we should cut down on the procesed food. Do you know that animals nowadays have been injected lot of growth hormon and antibiotic, which are not good for our body.(this is not a debate, just sharing what i know) Talking about plants being 'killed'. I hope I will not provoke more objection. Just wanna share little thing I know. Although plants also have life. The different btw plants and animal/man is that plants dont have soul/spirit like man/animal do. Plants will not cry, plants will not talk, plants has no emotion. Have u ever seen plants say 'ouchhhh' when u pluck them. But have u seen how animals struggle when they are being slaughtered? To further explain it will go into some spiritual topic which I dont want to discuss as not many ppl will believe. But if would like to share some of your valuable opinion especially about the meaning of life,if u also think that life is not just "work,eat, play, enjoy"(all sensual pleasure) If you feel that there is somethign more important in life that you want to fulfill or achieve. u r welcome to drop me some lines at gigim53@gmail.com Again, I hope I did not offend anyone. Just sharing what I should say. Not a debate. Thanks for yur time.
On 11/25/2006 02:44:00 PM Anonymous Anonymous said:
hmm...clearing things up..

ok a little biology.

KPCOGS. what? KFC? no la
it means

kingdom, phylum, class , order, genus and species. In biology, animals are first class into kingdoms- mamalia, reptilia, fish and so on.
then phylum-chordata(backboned)

and so on...till reach genus and species which is what the scientific names of an organism..

eg. staphylcoccus aureaus, u noe MRSA?

er...how bout homo sapiens- human?

ok turtles, tortoise and terrapins are three different kind of order.


ok...adrian tai give u all a nice link...


well...it said there tortoise plastron...

it did not said turtle plastron..
furthermore...the wikipedia link on plastron is a general defenition of what a plastron is.,.

dont get confused by this-
Turtle plastrons were used by the ancient Chinese in a type of divination called plastromancy. See also oracle bones.

this means they take the bone and see whether can mali mali hom 4d numbers out...not eat them...-_-
( if this stills worry u whether 4d buyers are causing extinction to turtles...er...theres the word ancient there..)

if, the one kind chinese medicine website is true, that it only uses tortoise plastrons, then people out there go ahead sapu guilinggao only la, dont need to feel all ...aiya...im killing turtle...sei la... :(

well... i also thought turtles were the sea animals and tortoise was land...turn out rong...if u go see...some turtles lived on land..

even if it was turtle plastron...who noes it might be



a snapping turtle...enjoy

btw...adriantai...i too hate the feeling when my friends disagree with me on things that im positive about...hehe..u noe..this piece of tortoise info can be very usefull next time..

eg. ur auntie try to hao lian she got nice guilinggao to eat...halfway she eat, tell her inside got turtle shell.. ^^ haha..

enjoy her expression change.
On 12/06/2006 12:25:00 PM Blogger adriantai said:
hi juliantea...

wah, dats a lot of info for me... hmmm... snapping turtle looks like a tortoise. now i'm just like... so confused... heh heh...

still, killing turtle or tortoise... just not my cuppa... :)

hmmm... google for guilingao and this post is in top 3 position. not bad! :)
On 2/08/2009 01:36:00 AM Anonymous Anonymous said:
I found out the other day that the jelly is made with the critically endangered three-box turtle. Whether this still holds true or not, I do not know.
But I had no idea before...
On 2/08/2009 01:37:00 AM Anonymous Anonymous said:
Sorry, had to edit.
It's called the three line-box turtle and is especially endangered due to the dessert.
On 6/02/2013 10:24:00 AM Anonymous Anonymous said:
They do not produce it woth tortoise shell anymore for most of the franchise markets this product to vegetarians and for the production of tortoise shell, it will be at a higher cost then what you are buying at a regular pasar malam. And no, RM10 worth of tortoise in a pet shop don't make the cut if you are to compare with the ingredient guiban.
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