I love looking at Chinese dispensing establishments. All those gorgeous urns full of herbs, trunks and boxes of roots and transparent fins and skeletons, and large cabinets full of tiny mysterious drawers filled with medicinal powders.
Chinese herbal medicine spread to many countries and pops up in many fascinating historical tales. Explorers took knowledge and herbs to back to England and other European trading countries.
Australian and American gold fields were well-known for having Chinese healers who dispensed powders, lotions and medicines to sick prospectors. Dispensing houses were often only a tent with a herb garden out the back.
Traditional medicines were dispensed from urns into containers eg packets, boxes and coloured bottles. Cabinets were designed with small drawers to store materials. This medicine included material from plants, animals and minerals, either imported or collected locally.
The therapeutic action of medicinal ingredients in Traditional Chinese medicine is described according to several different criteria: Qi attribute ( hot, cold, warm,cool, bland), flavour ( pungent, sweet, sour, bitter, salty) and acutract association – its affect on particular organ systems.
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