Over the last few months we have expanded our herbal apothecary, or pharmacy, here at White Lily. We have gotten a number of questions in regards to them, so let’s take this opportunity to address a few!
First, what do they do? Each raw herbal formula is specifically and individually prescribed to each patient for their particular diagnosis. The power of Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM) comes from the individuation possibly through the wide array of herbs available. Each herb has a particular and synergistic effect in the formula itself. Plus, by combining these herbs in different amounts we can direct the formula to the problem areas. Formulas can treat anything from fertility to simple pain and everything in between.
Second, are they hard to make? When you get your prescription, you also get detailed instructions on how to prepare the decoction (like tea, but stronger). In general, one dose of herbs is combined with water and simmered for 45 minutes. After that, strain out the liquid and simmer the herbs for another 45 minutes. Strain the liquid again and discard the herbs (they make great compost by the way!). You now have your decoction ready to take!
Lastly, what do they taste like? Well, as we talked about earlier, each formula is made up of different kinds of herbs. TCM herbs can be different parts of plants, foods and minerals. In extreme cases certain animals (although we don’t use many of these in modern formulas). You already know lots of the herbs we use commonly, especially if you tune in to our Herb Thursday post on Facebook and Instagram. Ginger, Goji berries, Dates, Cinnamon bark are just a few that have some rather pleasant tastes to add to your formula. However, many of the decoctions tend to be on the bitter side of taste. A taste that we here in the US are not accustomed to. But when taking your formula, remember, this is medicine. You aren’t drinking it for recreation. Have you ever bit into an aspirin or Ibuprofen table? Most formulas taste much better and you can modify the taste by adding honey, or other natural ingredients (ask your practitioner beforehand) to help make the medicine go down!