National Geographic : 2012 Aug
Every day during harvest season, Tibetan sellers arrive in Serxu with their batch of worms. Above, they dry them on one of the town's two streets, evaluating each: Is it undamaged and a good size? Does it have the desired yellow hue? Serxu's worms have a reputation for quality. ruddy color and a palpable vigor. On better days, it's easy to give the worms the credit. Other times, she's reminded that all cures, ancient and modern alike, have their limits. Yet on her most recent medical visit, she recalls, her doctor was shocked by the swi ness of her improve- ment. "He didn't even remember I was a cancer patient," she says. j Since the reporting for this article was completed, Yu Jian's cancer turned virulent and ended up taking her life.