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.

Herbal formula in the grinder

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.

Tags: Chinese herbal medicine, Chinese medicine, herbal medicine, herbs

Topics: Chinese Medicine, Herbs for Skin Care, Miscellaneous

Publish Date: June 9, 2010     *Articles may include updates since original publishing.

About the Author ()

Diana Hermann is a licensed acupuncturist and board certified in Chinese Herbal Medicine. She received her Master Degree in Acupuncture and Oriental Medicine from the Oregon College of Oriental Medicine in Portland, OR and trained in China at the Nanjing University of Traditional Chinese Medicine. Diana treats patients in her Fort Collins, Colorado clinic and hand crafts herbal skin care products for her company Zi Zai Dermatology. In 2015, she completed the Diploma In Chinese Medicine Dermatology program from Avicenna in London, UK. She completed the program for a second time in 2019 in Chicago.

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