Fong Wan Herb Co.

1924 directory ad

Fong Wan was an herbalist in the early and mid 1900s. Fong’s business was investigated by state and federal officials for his advertising claims for his herbs, but he was never convicted. Satisfied customers testified on his behalf in a 1932 trial. Some of his later advertisements would detail attacks by the federal government on his herbal practice.

According to historian William Wong, “Wan parlayed his herbal profits into real estate, nightclubs and restaurants.” In San Francisco, he owned the Club Shanghai and Chinese Cellar. In Oakland, he owned the Club Oakland and Nanking Cafe. “He pays nightly visits to his Club Shanghai and Club Oakland, chauffeured in either his 1948 Packard or 1949 Buick by Elmo, a young man who said Fong cured him of a serious disease.”

Herbalist king Fong Wan
Provided miraculous cures
Doubted by mainstream medicine
“I am the light of the world!”

This stop is part of these tours: