When you design herbal tinctures, you consider the quality of herbs you use:
Western herbs, because they are mostly flowers, stems, fruit-berries, and light barks, are perfectly suitable
for tinctures (2/3 alcohol, 1/3 spring water).
Some say that tinctures do not require water, since the generic grain alcohol used is usually not that
strong; it's true, except, there are some herbs that release their finest nutrients through water. Hence also, a single or a combination of western herbs
can be used in infusions/macerations. Over-night, herbs are placed into up to 2 cups of cold water, covered and left in room temperature.
Infusions of western herbs/formulas are strong and effective.
Decoctions are far better for Chinese herbal formulas because of the nature of the thick roots and barks used.
Much like herbal brandies (alcohol only), Oriental/Traditional Chinese herbs are more suitable because those heavy roots and barks
take a long time to process. Some of our brandies are brewed for up to 1 - 2 years; the traditional time is half a year minimum.
Here in Vancouver, there are many places in Chinatown, as well as, in different areas of Greater Vancouver, there are TCM stores,
where herbs and supplies are available.
We always carry our books around because the folks in the store only relate to Chinese characters when it comes to assembling
Chinese herbal formulas. We often take clients to these stores and introduce them to ready-made formulas that they can re-stocked, once they run out.
The Chinese really believe in decoctions - they prefer to boil their herbs: by placing 4-6 oz of herbs
into 4-6 cups of water. When we decoct Chinese formulas, we use up to 8 cups of water; it's less concentrated, easier to drink.
Also, these formulas are boiled for 1-2 hours at a Medium Temperature. With too little water, the water can just about completely evaporate.
So keep an eye on it.
Usually, we prefer tinctures and brandies. - Everlasting effect - slow, steady
improvement, great taste. There are times though when herbal decoctions are in order. When you're dealing with a stubborn, pesky
condition that's chronic, and not responding to preventative sort of tonification, then stronger medicine is necessary. And the decoctions
are perfect - once, twice, or three-times a day - a cup at a time. The Chinese prefer these decoctions; they do not use alcohol, the majority of them.
Come to our seminars, you'll find out more. Alchemical issues have always been of interest to us. Historical perspective, and cross-referencing of
bulk herbs /and herbal formulas with acupuncture points is our specialty.
To participate in these Group Seminars, please email to join the next group; tentatively, Sundays 4:00-7:00PM.
Topics depend on the groups' preference. It might be a combination of both, herbal and TCM /acupuncture FAQ.