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Category: Herbal Pharmacy

December 5, 2023

Chinese Patent Medicine and Over-the-Counter Herbalism

Building Your Herbal Confidence Over Layers of Generational Practice

The phrase “Chinese patent medicine” extends to describe herbal recipes generally composed into pill or tablet form for wider accessibility and streamlined dosing when compared to more traditional raw herb decoctions. Their preparation into prepackaged prescriptions descends from formulations in ancient texts, such as the Shang Han Lun and the Jin Gui Yao Lue, time tested by generations for over 2,000 years. This historical context establishes not only the ingredient herbs, but the preparation required for single herbs before they are mended together, and the harmonizing proportions necessary to bring out the intended effects of the entire composition.

Tea pills are made starting with ground herbs mixed into a paste with a binder – water, honey, or a liquid herbal extract – then rolled or …

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September 25, 2023

Loving the Lungs for Autumnal Transition

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The Lungs are a delicate organ often needing our support, and especially call in our attention in the Fall during California’s fire season and across seasons as the weather gets colder into Winter.

Moving deeper into Autumn we can support the health of our physical and emotional bodies with the elemental logic of Chinese Traditional Medicine. Through this season we depart from the Heart-centered fire of Summer to honor the element of Metal, and the organs of the Lungs and Large Intestines which filter and purge. We have lived through annual peaks in Yang energy and start to distill the lessons we’ve lived through, deciding what is most necessary to carry forward. Energetically, Lungs process through the emotion of grief so the seasonal contraction truly is a gentle nudge towards inwardness, retrospection and release.

The Lungs are a delicate organ often needing our support, and especially call in our attention in the Fall during California’s fire season and across …

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May 17, 2023

San Fu: Treating the Winter illness during the Summer

三伏(sān fú) usually appears between Xiao Shu and Chu Shu when there is a combination of high temperature and humid in nature.

Treating Winter illness, or 冬病夏治 (dōng bìng xià zhì), during the Summer, or by using 三伏贴(sān fú tiē)

What is 冬病夏治 (dōng bìng xià zhì)?

冬 病 (dōng bìng) means illnesses that happen more often or get severe in the winter. For example, bronchitis, bronchial asthma, rheumatism, rheumatoid arthritis, and Spleen & Stomach deficiency and coldness in Chinese Medicine perspective, etc. 夏治 (xià zhì) means the condition of the illness improves while the yang is rising in the summer. With the differential diagnosis, taking Chinese Medicine internally and externally can prevent the severity of the illness in the winter.

What is 三伏贴(sān fú tiē)?

三伏(sān fú) usually appears between Xiao Shu and Chu Shu when there is a combination of high temperature and humid in nature. There are 30 …

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November 14, 2022

Student Spotlight: A Visit to Oakland Chinatown

This term I am doing my Herb Room internship under the capable direction of the Herb Pharmacy Manager, Le Jiang. Spending time with the raw herbs and  granules, mixing formulas has proven enriching to say the least. Le is a  wealth of knowledge, and a terrific resource and an even better study mentor- especially where formulas are  concerned.

Imagine my surprise and enthusiasm when she asked me if I’d like to go on a field trip to Oakland’s Chinatown! With no hesitation, we were off.

The Mission

Our mission was to secure more Lianhua Qingwen Jiaonang for the school pharmacy. It’s proven an effective treatment for the symptoms of Covid-19, and having it in stock to support our community has been an important measure.

After parking and walking a …

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October 12, 2022

A Look at the History of Ējiāo (Donkey Hide Glue) and Its Vegan Substitutes

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In recent years, Ējiāo treats have become more popular. Dive deeper into its history, medicinal properties, and vegan options.

Before the Tang Dynasty, Ējiāo was Cattle Hide Gelatin; and Vegan Options Are Readily Available Today as Ējiāo Substitutions.

Ējiāo is a medicinal that plays a role in many important formulas that are commonly prescribed for our patients.  In Herbology I we are familiarized with the Latin translation of Ējiāo, Asini Corii Colla, to mean “donkey hide glue.” However, Asini Corii Colla, is not a literal translation of the word ējiāo and reveals assumptions based on the recent history and current production of the medicinal. Try pasting the characters for ējiāo 阿膠 one at a time into Google translate to see what you get. 阿= A 膠= gelatin.  The word ējiāo simply means “gelatin” and is by no means specific to one type of animal.  Historical …

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June 27, 2022

The Kitchen Herbalist: Summer Solstice Sun Tea

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Tea made by the power of the sun to nourish, cool, and relax us in the summer heat.

What is Sun tea?

Sun tea is tea that has been made using the power of the sun. Instead of steeping herbs in hot water, you put the herbs & water in a vessel under the sun to infuse. Any combination of tea-appropriate plants can be used in sun tea, either fresh or dried. The most important thing is to place the herbs in a safe, clear container in direct sunlight for at least an hour. In choosing your container, we suggest using glass, as plastic containers can leech chemicals into the tea.

Making the perfect sun tea is more of an art than a science; no precise ratios of herbs to water are needed. To get more flavor, you can start the brew with a high …

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November 2, 2021

Recipe: Qiu Li Gao, Autumn Pear Paste

Join the AIMC Herb Pharmacy manager to learn how to make Pear Paste for nourishing Autumn dryness.

Join AIMC Berkeley’s Herb Pharmacy Manager, Le Jiang, to learn how to make a nourishing pear paste for the Autumn. Pears are known for their moistening and cooling properties in East Asian Medicine. With the addition of other yin-nourishing herbs and the tonifying properties of honey, this delicious paste is the perfect salve for fall’s dryness.

Qiu Li Gao (Autumn Pear Paste)

Ingredients:

The raw herbs are available through the AIMC Pharmacy; ask your practitioner for a “prescription” of them next time you visit our in-person or telehealth clinic!

Pears ———————————– 2000g
Luo Han Guo (Monk Fruit) ——– 1 piece
Sheng Jiang (Ginger) ————– 70g
Chuan Bei Mu (Fritillaria Bulb) — 15g
Fu Ling (Poria) ———————– 25g
Bai He (Lily Bulb) ——————– 15g
Mai Dong (Ophiopogon Tuber) — 15g
Ge Gen (Kudzu Root) ————— 30g
Hong …

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September 2, 2021

What’s an Herbal Medicine “formula” All About?

What’s the difference between picking up recommended herbs off the grocery co-op shelf and visiting an East Asian Medicine-trained Herbalist?

The differences an Eastern medicine-trained herbalist can have on building your formula plan is huge. In this blog, we cover the differences between what you may find on the shelves and why finding an herbalist is so important to gain the full benefits of herbs and Eastern medicine. Learn more!

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July 21, 2021

How often do I need to get acupuncture treatments? (and other common curiosities about the course of treatment)

Best practices to get you out of the treatment room and back into your life (and sending all your friends and family our way).

The goal of any acupuncturist is to get you out of their clinic– and hopefully shouting from the rooftops about how your pain went away or that you haven’t slept this well since you were a teenager or one of the other 10,000 benefits of treatment. In order to get you out of our clinic and back into your life (and sending all your friends and family our way), we’ll ask you to commit to a consistent course of treatment for a specific length of time, and then we’ll re-evaluate along the way. You can expect a course of treatment to involve getting acupuncture once or twice a week, some lifestyle or movement coaching, and, when appropriate, a custom herbal prescription.

Consistency is Key

When people …

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March 9, 2021

Self-Care for Springtime Qi Stagnation

Learn to move your Qi Stagnation & transform feelings of stuckness or frustration into hope & creativity.


We’ve arrived at springtime: a time known to 5 Element Theory as an era for movement, growth, and change. In this season, if you’re feeling a little stuck, flustered, or bored, you may have what we Acupuncturists diagnose as “Qi Stagnation”. Qi stag, as its known shorthand, can show up as depression or irritability, pain or discomfort that comes and goes, a sense of bloating in the belly, PMS, or a stifled feeling in the chest or throat.

Luckily, you don’t need to drop in on your Acupuncturist every time you’ve got the Springtime Emotional Itchies (though we do recommend it if you can!). There’s plenty you can do for yourself to work out those kinks and keep yourself from becoming a live …

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