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Olympic Banter: Don't Try These At Home

I've arrived in Beijing. It's hot and muggy. And despite all the reports that I wouldn't be able to see my feet in front of me, I have to say, the heat more than anything seems to be the issue for me.

Over the next three weeks, I'll be reporting live from here to bring you the business side of the Olympics. Hopefully, what you find here you won't find anywhere else.

Today's topic is Chinese medicines, most of which have been banned. So if you're an athlete here and you hear there are some potions that can make you better, don't trust that "going natural" will get you by. Here's a list of traditional medicines and what they supposedly do.

  • Deer Penis: Has been used to aid athletic recovery.
  • Mongolian Milk Vetch: This is a root that has been used to stimulate the immune system.
  • Deer Antler Powder: Has been used to promote bone and joint health.
  • Caterpillar Fungus: This is a concoction made out of the fungus that grows on caterpillar's carcass.
  • Bear Bile: Used as an anti-spasmodic and is also seen as a natural painkiller.
  • Rhinoceros Horn Powder: Believed to be able to reduce fevers and reveal the presence of poisons.
  • Gecko Tonic: The tail and the backbone of the lizard, which inhabits southern China, is used for strength and endurance. Taking this probably wouldn't help you save money on your car insurance.
  • Cicada Shell: The empty shell of the cicada, which it sheds every seven years is ground up. It is said to have sedative effects, but also reduces muscle spasms.
  • Questions? Comments? SportsBiz@cnbc.com

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