Forms of Oriental Herbal Medicine
Traditionally, herbal medicine would have been dispensed as raw leaves, twigs, bark, flowers, etc. This method is impractical, since the herbologist must keep hundreds of herbs in stock that must remain fresh and free of mold or insects. Preparation of formulas under these circumstances are labor-intensive both for the herbalist and the patient, who might be required to soak, boil, strain, re-boil, re-strain, etc. to get the resulting decoction. The pungent odors and bitter tastes of many herbs prepared in this manner would discourage patients from completing their treatments.
Here at Sage Wellness Center, we save our patients the trouble of preparing decoctions from raw herbs by providing a combination of effective, yet easy-to-use tea pills, pills, liquid extracts and granules. Tea pills come from a decoction of herbs that is boiled, leaving a powder that is rolled (usually with honey) into easy-to-store balls resembling peppercorns. Liquid extracts are made by combining the herbs, boiling them to extract the active ingredients and suspending them in alcohol. They are the most potent and most effective forms of herbal medicine. Granules are made by taking the powder from the formula preparation with the water boiled away and mixing in starch to form granules. Granules can be taken mixed with water or in a capsule. We use granules for formulas that are more beneficial when taken hot or warm.
The form that your herbal formula comes in is dependent on your diagnosis and the severity of your symptoms. For acute diseases, we give you either liquid extracts or granules because it is faster and easier for your body to absorb these forms. For subacute diseases, pills are more appropriate. For long term chronic diseases, tea pills are given because of their lower cost and mild action.
Oriental Patent Herbal Medicine
Oriental Patent Herbal Medicine (traditional Chinese: 中成藥, Simplified Chinese: 中成药, pinyin: zhōngchéng yào) is a kind of traditional Herbal medicine. They are standardized herbal formulas. From ancient times, pills were formed by combining several herbs and other ingredients, which were dried and ground into a powder. They were then mixed with a binder and formed into pills by hand. The binder was traditionally honey. Modern teapills, however, are extracted in stainless steel extractors to create either a water decoction or water-alcohol decoction, depending on the herbs used. They are extracted at a low temperature (below 100 degrees Celsius) to preserve essential ingredients. The extracted liquid is then further condensed, and some raw herb powder from one of the herbal ingredients is mixed in to form an herbal dough. This dough is then machine cut into tiny pieces, a small amount of excipients are added for a smooth and consistent exterior, and they are spun into pills. Teapills are characteristically little round black pills.