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Nianggajia

In this paper, I address the local perceptions and experiences of efficacy among producers and patients of a popular Tibetan medicine in multiethnic Rebgong, a regional hub of Tibetan medicine in Qinghai Province, prc. Known as the ‘White Pill’—Rikar in Tibetan, Jiebaiwan in Chinese—it is often taken directly without prescription for stomach and digestive disorders that are common among Tibetan, Han, and Hui patients. I will examine the White Pill’s classical formula and how different local producers in Rebgong explain what makes their own White Pill so effective and popular. Based on interviews with patients of different cultural backgrounds, my research shows that the popularity of this Tibetan medicine is increasing among both Tibetans and non-Tibetans in Rebgong during the past decade. This is probably due to the new ways of producing the White Pill by specifically targeting common digestive disorders, which often and previously have been experienced as not being satisfactorily treated by Chinese biomedical pharmaceuticals. In particular, Rikar or Jiebaiwan is locally known and experienced to be simply the most effective treatment for stomach and digestive disorders without having side effects.