Years ago I first encountered turmeric when I grew an abscess about the size of a half ping pong ball. It’s all because of napa cabbage, my favorite. In the northern part of Asia where I grew up, napa cabbage has been something we eat frequently, the only vegetable abundantly available during the winter time when I was young.

This particular day in New Jersey, after finishing my work, I was a little over zealous and ate a whole head of the vegetable. The next thing I knew, I was having this abscess coming out at my private area. I thought of going to see the doctor, but the location of the abscess made it a little embarrassing. A human body, even in the best of conditions, looks rather ridiculous and absurd. This is probably why humans have to create an even more absurd “beauty standard”, just to make us more secure about our physical presence. Now my absurd physical existence plus its distressed private area just felt more embarrassing than anything else I’ve faced before. I hesitated between going and not going to the hospital as the abscess persisted and my every walking step caused pain. I thought about lancing it myself. I was afraid of the pain that I would have to endure, but more than the pain, I was worried about the infection that might occur afterwards. What could I do?

And my dilemma was unexpectedly resolved the next morning after a bad night of sleep when I browsed online and found turmeric being something to cure abscess for thousands of years. And that’s it. No hospital, no doctor, no lancing, no infection. Just apply turmeric and the abscess shrank and shrank until it almost completely disappeared. I mean almost. It’s not completely disappeared. The scar is still there, after many years.

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