Over the course of the last decade, merchants across China have made great efforts to jump on the donkey-rush that has swept the country by storm. If you were to ask the average Chinese local what donkeys are primarily used for that could explain the demand, you would likely receive confused looks, and no clear answer. If you were to follow up with the question: “what is ‘ejiao’, and what is it good for?”, you would then be given a lengthy response explaining all about this magical cure that is rooted deep in Chinese history.
What is Ejiao?
These two questions are in fact one of the same. ‘Ejiao’ is a gel-like gelatin-extract derived from boiled donkey hides, and is regarded as a luxury elixir, which can be consumed as tablets, tonics, and blends, or applied to skin with creams, balms, and face-masks. Historically, ejiao was a beloved all-around cure as well as an aphrodisiac, mostly consumed by emperors and royal families. Standing the test of time, ejiao has remained a favored self-prescribed medicine for the elites of the 20th century.