Mellified Man

Yeah, I missed last week, too, even after I said that I wouldn’t. In my defense, I’ve had a lot of work coming in lately, and I should have that to share soon.

But enough about me. You feeling alright? You look a little pale. Hey, try some of this “miren” stuff; it’ll pick you right up. What’s in it, you ask? Well, it’s an all-natural, all-organic medicine developed by Arabs centuries ago and brought to China by pharmacologist/writer Li Shizhen. So, yeah, totally legit Eastern folk medicine! Nothing to worry about!

You’re still worried, aren’t you? That’s understandable, considering that, if you know Chinese, you might be aware that “miren” (蜜人) means “honey person.” We’ll come back to that. Let’s back up a little.

Li Shizhen, during his travels in the Middle East, heard stories of miren, or mellified man. In his book, Bencao Gangmu, he wrote that the Arab people created this special concoction as a cure-all. It was even believed that it could heal broken limbs. Pretty rad, right?

Okay, okay, you want to know what’s in it. I understand. You did eat a lot of it. But just hold on.

So anyway, this mellified man was allowed to ferment for 100 years in a stone coffin. After it was created, the date was etched into the coffin so it wouldn’t be opened early, like a fine wine.

Oh, you caught the coffin part, huh? Yeah, alright. So, if you must know, mellified man has only two ingredients: good, wholesome honey… and a mummified corpse marinated in it for a century.

Hold on, don’t freak out. Just take it easy. The mummies were volunteers who donated their bodies to help out their fellow man, kinda like how folks give their bodies to science today. It’s practically altruism!

To prepare themselves, they would only consume and bathe in honey until “經月便溺皆蜜”– “after a few months, all they could excrete (defecate/urinate) was honey.”

Then, when they died (because the Winnie the Pooh diet is not a realistic lifestyle), they’d be interred in the coffin and, 100 years later, they’d totally be there for some kid with a busted arm. It’s the circle of life!

Now, to be fair, Li Shizhen makes a point of saying that he doesn’t know if the story is true or not. But, hey, that doesn’t rule out the possibility that someone tried it at some point.

Bottoms up!