HAKKA

I wrote a big treatise last Saturday on mint, and a taxi we once got in which smelled so unbelievable I had to ask the driver what it was as we were about to get out, when he (without invitation) just reached to the dashboard and sprayed me on the back of the hand with a pure essential oil of hakka, by Kitami – the most popular brand of Japanese peppermint : we were floored by the utter fresh purity of its mintiness –

– – but in the confusion of the last few days I seem to have lost it.

It was an especially minty post, though, and if I find the bunch of paper it was written on again – I am now, mercifully, I think on the mend – I will put it up (I was scribbling like a maniac that day – my brain all over the place after the morning collapsing to the floor with dizziness and somehow getting to work and back).

Hakka, from Hokkaido, is highly mentholated, very white and green, like the packaging, and a beautiful smell. Extraordinarily physically and mentally refreshing, I am already addicted and am going to invest in more products : strangely, I had almost bought some on the Friday for only the second time – it is sold at a famous book store, along with incense – as though I knew what was about to happen: I sometimes intuit things like this advance even though I had felt in tip top condition that day.

This mint, and a very clear and penetrating rosemary oil, have definitely been of help in recentering and fending off the vertigo from the labyrinthitis though when I came home five days ago – I had no idea what was in store for me when I lay back onto the futon and felt suddenly as though I were being hurtled through space while circling like a boomerang – spinning and lurching out of control so hard I had to close my eyes tightly and was yelping and shouting in total panic. Fortunately I am not the puking type so the deep nausea was vomitless but the next day, and the next, it was the same- trying to stand up and then getting thrust back onto the sofa by a poltergeist, collapsing back down whenever I sat up it was horrible – although, it must be said, that this was actually very benign compared to much more severe cases where the unsuspecting find themselves unable to move, even their eyes, and are supine for days, weeks……..

My case, though heinous – totally unexpected but much more common among people (and animals) than I had realized – has certainly been far less mentally excruciating than so many accounts I have read of this inner ear imbalance that totally robs you of agency and casts you about like a rag doll on the moon.

Mint was not enough in this case though. . Only medicine – an IV drip at the clinic round the corner – and various pills, to treat the blocked inner ‘vestibule’.

Plus rest. Lots of sleep.

33 Comments

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33 responses to “HAKKA

  1. Nelleke Oepkes aka Booknose

    You really make a work of art in collapsing into a grievous attack of total loss of balance!!
    Any lady of the 19th century would have envied you!
    Joking apart: what a frightening experience. You must have felt like an astronaut without a space-Ship. But even there the sense of smell comes to your rescue! Truly minted.
    Get well and hopefully no more attacks of this kind.

    • Thanks. I like to ‘process’ my experiences, and it helps to decorate them with cute minty colours.

      I was thinking today about ladies fainting, and dizzy spells; all the characters in novels swooning at the drop of a hat, and wondering if it was linked to this condition.

      Today I was ok until the evening, but it was definitely an improvement.

      And it really was, as you say, like an astronaut whirling at top speed – an absolutely disgusting experience.

  2. How frightening, like a personal horror movie. Hope you recover soon.

    • Literally like a personal horror movie. But as I said, my case so far is mercifully easy compared to a lot of people; the worst ones being where they are actually dragged to the ground by one side of the head and can’t move. Just lying flat on their backs not being able to move and the world swaying and whooshing.

      That first brush with this bullshit on Saturday night was, I think, the most hideous thing I have ever experienced in my entire life- but that was the worst. Hopefully it will keep attenuating from now. I don’t recommend it – but if you like mint, this is a great mint to experiment with. You can buy it on Amazon quite cheaply.

  3. Tora

    Did Duncan ever do the Epley maneuver I sent you the video of?? It is really the best way to move the crystals back to where they belong. I had BPPV and it is quite nightmarish!! Feel better, Neil!

    • Thanks Tora. Yes – I got the video, and I think we will try it this weekend. I am still quite dizzy actually – I thought yesterday it was abating a lot but today is very unstable.

      • Tora

        It only takes 15 minutes and that is including the 10 minutes of sitting up resting afterward. The sooner you do it the sooner the relief. I did this procedure so many times for patients and it was so helpful. I wish I was there to help you.

      • You already have: I am grateful for it. D has tomorrow off from work so we will do it in think: I just hope the throwing the head back doesn’t make my head spin.

      • Tora

        it will make your head spin. I guarantee that. Especially the first rotation towards the side with the crystals out of place. If you do the movements exactly as described, the relief is palpable and noticeable.

  4. It just is so debilitating. After I had my knee surgery, early last year, I ended up having a horrid case of post anesthesia vertigo. It was so bad, but not at all like what you are dealing with. Your situation is so daunting, but I am so happy you are on the mend. Is there anything long term that can be done tp make sure it is remedied? Would hate for this to happen to you again.
    Please rest up and keep healing.

    • I don’t think mine is so bad – the astronaut experience was only two days; since then it has just been standard dizziness I think. The problem is that it is as if your normal life has just gone up in smoke, isn’t it? Post anaesthesia vertigo sounds hideous – it is bad enough waking up from a general anaesthetic as it is – that heavy grogginess and the pain – UGH. How long did it last for?

  5. Z

    Goodness, I had BPPV for a month straight once. I had to stay at my girlfriend’s bizarre crumbling estate in the sonoran desert for 24/7 care, and got very good at jigsaw puzzles. The only scents around were dust and creosote. Happy to hear you are on the mend, and desperately want to experience Hakka..!

    • A month?! Poor you. What kind of treatment did you get?

      Hakka will not let you down : it is the perfect mint. Essential. I have just been inhaling some from a Thai silver miniature snuffbox that has camphor in it that still smells quite strong even though I bought it in Bangkok 25 years ago. I have put in some rosemary and a whole load of hakka and I can FEEL the mentholaceous penetration going into my brain and sinuses. I want to get the spray as well, because honestly the taxi smelled superlative – if BIZARRELY minty – and when he sprayed it on me (quite unusual, no? How often do Japanese taxi drivers spray one with scent?) I couldn’t get over how amazing it smelled. Much nicer than regular spearmint or peppermint.

  6. Tara C

    So sorry to hear about your vertigo! I had a very moderate case last year that dragged on for about nine months, crescendoing to the type of experience you described one night that left me flat out on the bathroom floor for several hours. Utterly miserable. Thankfully it has resolved fully. The Hakka sounds intriguing.

    • NINE MONTHS? Oh my god. Flat out on the bathroom floor? Were you alone? I am surprised how many people have had the same thing: I always thought it was quite a rare condition. How did you get better?

      Fully recommend trying the hakka as it is a great product for the price: the absolute apex of mint.

      • Tara C

        Yes, it went on for a really long time, finally after the crisis that night I phoned my naturopathic doctor who gave me a homeopathic remedy and it cleared up. My husband was home but fast asleep in bed and I was unable to walk, so I just laid there until I was able to crawl to the couch and pull a blanket over myself. The next morning it had eased enough to where I was in less dire straits but I hope never to experience that again.

      • Sorry you had to go through this. It sounds totally unbearable! I feel the same: scared it could happen again and really hoping that it doesn’t.

  7. Robin

    Superb images and great mint-y (ha ha) vibe, Neil.

    P.S. I’m still wanting to know what you’d call a fragrance that smelled like the woods, as in a forest or a glade of trees with everything that’s growing closer to the ground. (I already know you won’t say foresty. Or gladey.)

    • I would say foresty! Or if in pretentious mode, boscous. Which doesn’t even exist. Minty definitely works though (no?!)

      • Robin

        B-B-B-ut foresty is one of the y words. Are you pulling my leg, my darling? (As is minty. I am SO confused!)

      • I think we can put this y thing behind us! I am definitely not anti the letter and that post was just throw away nonsense because I was floored by the vertigo and had nothing else to write.Minty, woody, all no issue – for me it i’was only a mild irritation with that one word : woodsy – which I turned into a deliberately peevish post.

      • Robin

        If so, I believe woodsy reins superior over foresty.

      • Now I see it from your ‘of the woods’ definition rather than a Pollyanna version of woody I would be inclined to agree. Woodsy has more depth than foresty.

      • Robin

        I think it’s all been really quite good fun. I do understand your mild irritation about woodsy and even more, understood that you were writing with your head — your world — spinning. Now, I’m just happy you’re feeling better. I didn’t want to irritate you further by this latest little thread, so do let us forget about it altogether. Tone can be so difficult when it’s all in writing.

      • Today I am worse than yesterday unfortunately – as everyone has said, I think this vertigo is not going to go away so quickly.

  8. emmawoolf

    I feel very drawn to this, possibly in terms of colour and packaging as much as scent (and really hope you are feeling better now). I do hope it’s done the trick. You may know this (I didn’t until recently, although when I think about it, it is somewhat obvious), but in Chinese medicine, when it comes to treatments for nausea and sickness, ginger is the warming one (if you run “cold” – I definitely do not), and peppermint is cooling – for persons who are somewhat more hot-headed…so if ginger doesn’t work for you to calm the vertigo, then mint most definitely should. xx

    • I have been drinking a lot of ginger tea, actually – that at mint. It is vile not having stability in my own head and I find it very worrying (and I just got up and my head was still quite vertiginous), but it is much better than last week.

      I agree about the packaging: I love the colour. And the mint smell is divine – I have been putting a drop onto my toothpaste for the mintiest experience ever.

      • emmawoolf

        You are not alone in finding it worrying: it happened to my father many years ago and he ended up in A&E, convinced he had a brain tumour. I’m glad to hear you are on the (slow) mend. Give it time: it will go. Keep drinking the tea (mint, ginger, whatever you need, I’m sure it will help). And hope you can enjoy your spring break despite being somewhat under par. Sounds as if your body is really screaming at you to have a proper rest. And I know an awful lot about that! Sometimes you have to give it the proper attention it needs. Sending love xx

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