China has a long and ancient history exploring its indigenous substances for their healing and medicinal properties. Shen Nong, one of China’s three most ancient yellow emperors, known as the Divine Farmer or Divine Healer, was said to have lived 5,000 years ago. He was credited with writing the “Shen Nong Ben Cao Jing” , an herbal pharmacopoeia which classified 365 medicinal ingredients, hundreds of which he personally tasted, classified and graded for their effects.
Since that time onwards China has culled its medicinal ingredients from plants, animals and minerals of the earth. Today, Chinese Medicine draws from a pharmacopoeia of over 2,000 substances many of which have been researched thoroughly in relation to their clinical uses, pharmacology and interactions. They are still divided into the traditional three categories according to effect and toxicity. High grade or food grade medicinals (predominantly plants but also some animal products) were considered to be superior because they are non-toxic and can be used for extended periods of time with ongoing activity. Many of these medicinal grade substances are tonics intended for long term use and which in many cases fluctuate adaptogenically according to the bodies needs. The two lesser grades of medicinals were used to control disorders of a more acute nature and were countered with other ingredients or processing to minimize toxicity.
Unlike western herbal therapy which is more single herb based, Chinese herbal medicine usually combines medicinal ingredients in formulations to balance and facilitate healing from a particularly individualized perspective aiming effect at patterns of imbalance more than disease. This is considered treating both the “root and branch” of a problem. That is to say the symptom and what Chinese medicine considers to be the cause of the disorder are treated in most cases simultaneously. This symptomatically resolutive practice differs from the more symptomatically suppressive style of allopathic drug therapy a great deal. However in some cases integration of herbs and drugs is necessary with the advantages of both producing the best result. Chinese medicinal therapy by itself should be free of side effect and beneficial at any stage of almost any problem. It can be used as the primary therapy for many disorders or in conjunction with acupuncture and other therapies.
Chinese medicinals can be administered in a variety of forms and ways. One of the oldest formats which is still considered the best and strongest way to take herbs is in a water decoction or what the Chinese call “Tang yao”- soup medicine. This process requires a boiling preparation and is best due to its potency and specificity allowing the practitioner to customize ingredients and dosage ( for more specific instructions, please see our herb cooking info sheet). Medicinal wines and tinctures also have a long history and are used for many tonic herb and medicinal preparations due to their long lasting nature and potency. More modern methods of taking herbs are in a pill or powder format including the well known Chinese “patent” herbs which are standardized formulas made into a pill or capsule by a pharmacy. Your practitioner will decide which style of herbal usage is best for you based on need and compliance.
We at Turtle Dragon are dedicated to maintaining a high standard of quality in our products and raw medicinals . We are proud to offer you one of the most comprehensive herbal apothecaries in central Texas to meet your needs. The use of herbal medicine drastically enhances your treatment effect and broadens the scope of treatment for your therapist. We will be happy to answer any questions you may have regarding the necessity and type of herbal therapy you may require.