Drying Herbs

Herbs can be dried by placing them on a rack in a warm room. This will take several days to dry thoroughly. If your stove is capable of being at 140° it can be used as a dehydrator. A more convenient way to dry herbs is to use a dehydrator. These are available commercially, or one can be made easily. There are several references at the end of this document for instructions and commercial suppliers




Jars – for storing herbs Ceramic or translucent jars work the best, though transparent canning jars are more readily available.

Knife – a good sturdy knife for cutting herbs. Thinner and smaller blades do not offer the control when working with harder herbs

Mortar and pestle or a food processor – grinding herbs. I personally recommend 2 different mortar and pestles one for toxic and one for non-toxic as it is difficult to get them thoroughly clean.

Labels – identify and date formulas Herbs are sometimes difficult to identify after they have been ground or formulated, plus it helps you track the shelf life

Notebook – It cannot be stressed enough; Record everything. Purchase and formulation dates, as well as formulas both the ones that worked and the ones that didn’t.

Pots and pans – When making some formulas it is better to have a specific set of pots as the formulations can sometimes destroy a good pot. Ceramic is the best choice, steel is the second best. Avoid iron, copper, brass or other metal pots as the pots can contaminate the herbs.

Double boiler – for working with wax If you don’t have one a makeshift one can be made by simply placing one pan into a large skillet with water in it.

Dehydrator – a simple one can be made by building a box with screen shelves and a 100 watt light bulb.

Scale – it is better to apply formulas by weight rather then volume as you have different volumes for some of your lighter leaves. A scale that can measure grams is best.

Alcohol – Though many sources say to use vodka, I prefer Everclear as it is stronger and will pull more of the constituents out.

Vinegar – clear vinegar works better then apple vinegar

Oils – Olive oil, grape seed oil almond oil and other varieties work well.

Beeswax – This works much more efficiently then paraffin wax and will work better on the skin

Honey – For making lozenges and to flavor teas.

Tincture of benzoin – to add as a preservative for formulations

Strainers – tea balls, metal strainers and cheesecloth all work well to


The Healer’s Oath

The Physician takes care of people’s life.
He is placed at the head of the hundred arts and crafts, sitting with equal footing of Premier and Minister.
It is the art of humanity.
One should not look down on the Physician as practicing the Little Tao, only integrated with no false character, tranquil and serene,
can a person discuss the subject of medicine.
Those who enter my gate should know that the distress of others is also mine.
No delay should be allowed on a call from a patient.
Do not ask if the patient is noble or poor.
Always keep in heart the saving of life.
The mouth should not cease reciting medical texts; the hands continuously fiddling the hundreds of herbs.
Do not be jealous of the knowledge of others.
Do not comment on the attitude of other physicians.
Do not slander the physician who has cared for the patient previously.
Do not slander the prescriptions of other physicians.
Do not cultivate fame.
Do not be greedy of money.
Do not boast of your knowledge and ability.
Do not flatter the powerful and wealthy person; you would rather have your arm broken than bend your back.
To save life is your sole aim, idea, purpose, and concern.
If the course of disease is baffling without sign of improvement; you must with trembling caution wholeheartedly review your diagnosis and treatment.
If you are visited by monks or taoists who wish to pay you, accept not a cent.

Zhong Shan’s Medical Teachings
March 10, 1933
From the diary of Dr. Chang Teh Hway (1895 – 1971)
Oriental Hospital, Teng-Chong, Yunnan.


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