The Whole Is Greater Than The Sum Of Its Parts
Chinese Medicine embraces the wholeness of living things – the people we treat, the plants we use as medicine, the environment in which we live and life in general . It isn’t that we ignore little details; we consider them pieces of the bigger picture, smaller parts of the whole.
When formulating the herbal products for Zi Zai, I use whole ingredients: natural butters and oils, beeswax, extracts or infusions of plant parts. Okay, one could argue that shea butter is only one component of the karite tree or Da Qing Ye is only the leaves of Isatis tinctoria and not the whole plant. And it is true that infusing olive oil with Da Qing Ye (Isastis leaves) isn’t the same as when the final product contains the leaves in their entirety. But these ingredients are minimally processed – as close to being in their original form as usefully possibly when we start out. That is what I mean when I say I use “whole” ingredients.
Chinese herbal medicine has evolved over thousands of years of experienced clinical use. Thousands of years. We know which species of plant to use, what part of the plant to use, where it is best grown, what time of year it should be harvested for highest medicinal properties, how it should be cut and processed, which other herbs it is best combined with and what dosage should be given for the desired effects. We also understand how the proportion of dried herbs to oils and cooking time affects the strength of the resultant infusion. We do all of this to ensure consistent results – both for efficacy and for safety.
I have been studying this herbal medicine since 1996 and I love it. I love holding the herbs in my hands, the texture of them, the fragrance, the colors. It connects to me to the earth. Plus, crafting products with such wonderful ingredients is downright fun. Herbs are a gift from the earth and I am grateful I get to work with this medicine every day.
Publish Date: June 9, 2010 *Articles may include updates since original publishing.