The most virulent and mean-spirited strain of the common cold invariably strikes as the weekend approaches, when doctors are out on the golf course and clinics are closed. And so, a sniffling sneezing coughing mess, we like to drag ourselves in to United Noodles late on a Friday afternoon, to find help near the rice and tea section (across from the aisle labeled Frozen Product). Voilà: United Noodles Herbal Center's on-staff physician, Dr. Wong, who traffics in curative herbs (and needles: she's a licensed acupuncturist) and is at the ready to deal with nearly any nagging injury or ailment short of flesh-eating viruses and other fatal ills. The center is open until 5:30 or 6:00 p.m. seven days a week, and there's usually no waiting. Be ready for a thorough going-over, though: The doc administers a short exam--of your tongue, your pulse, both arms, etc.--and pops a few questions about your stool, headache, muscle pain, fatigue. She'll ask you to choose your cure: bags of herbs that you'll need to boil into a tea at home or traditional pills (cheaper and easier, but not as effective, we're told). Your Ziplocs full of herbs will likely run about $25 or $30; pills are less, and you'll have plenty of leftovers with both.


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