All Hallows Evening:
Celebrating Growth, Death, Renewal. Celebrating the Cycles.
Eleven Cauldron Flavors
- Gui Ban. Latin: Plastrum testudinis. English: Fresh Water Turtle Shell. Function: Tonify Yin;
- Ge Jie. Latin/English: Gecko. Function: Tonify Kindy Yang;
- Lu Rong. Latin: Cornu Parvum Cervi. English: Velvet of Young Deer Antler. Function: Tonify Yang;
- Hai Ma. Latin: Hippocampus. English: Sea Horse. Function: Tonify Yang;
- Zi He Che. Latin: Placenta hominis. English: Human Placenta. Function: Tonify Yang.
- Sheng Di Huang. Latin: Radix Rehmanniae glutinosae. English: Rehmannia. Function: Cool the blood;
- Shan Zhu Yu. Latin: Fructus Corni officinalis. English: Cornelian Cherry. Function: Astringe, bing;
- Shan Yao. Latin: Radix Dioscoreae oppositae. English: Chinese Yam Rhizome. Function: Tonify Qi;
- Fu Ling. Latin: Scierotium Poriae cocos. English: Poria. Function: Regulate water and drain dampness;
- Ze Xie. Latin: Rhizoma Alismatis. English: Water Plantain Rhizome. Function: Regulate water and drain dampness;
- Mu Dan Pi. Latin: Cortex Radicis moutan. Peony Tree Root. Function: Cool the blood.
Collect, clean, and process herbs on the last Full Moon during the Virgo Zodiac, between August 22 nd, and September 22 nd (alternately, August 17th through September 17 th).
Virgo is the maiden based on the Greek Astraea, the last of the Greek Gods and Goddesses the fled the Earth at the end of the Silver Age, taking immortal residence on Mount Olympus.
Virgo is the Goddess of the Earth, and as the seasons of Spring – Summer – Harvest come to their cyclical end, Virgo nourishes and retreats. And so shall we.
At the height of the full moon, at total ascension (varies based on year and location), prepare the herbs for tincturing and add the tincture menstruum (40 – 50 percent alcohol, 50 – 60 percent water).
Set-aside until the following full moon, placing outside the house, on the northern most side (the side of Yin, the side of dark. Strain and press the tincture when the following full moon comes, storing the elixir tincture for use beginning on the 31 st of October (Samhain: The Festival of the Dead).
Take 30 milliliters (3 droppersful) upon waking, waiting 30 minutes before eating. Take another 30 milliliters (3 droppersful) 30 minutes before lunch, and take a third and final dose of 30 milliliters (3 droppersful) two hours prior to sunset.
Starting on October 31st, take the tincture until Spring Equinox, on an alternate dosing schedule of five days on, two days off.
Liuwei Dihuang Wan
Eleven Caldron Flavors is built upon Liuwei Dihuang Wan. First introduced during the Song Dynasty (960 CE – 1279 CE), as a pediatric formula in the Xiaoer Yaozhen Zhixue (Key to Syndrome Identification and Therapeutics of Children's Diseases) by physician Qian Yi (1030 CE – 1113 CE). Qian Yi also wrote the famous formulas Yi Gong San (Powder of Extraordinary Merit) and Dao Chi San (Powder to Guide out the Red).
The ultimate goal of Liuwei Dihuang Wan is to strengthen and tonify (replenish) the Kidney, but to do so systematically so that each requisite step of gaining post-natal Kidney Jing is addressed, each included herb is balanced, and the requisite organs are benefited. In this formula, Kidney Jing is expressed as:
"Essence is the material basis of qi. Qi derives from essence, and the functional activity of qi, in turn, produces essence. For example, primordial qi is transformed from congenital essence, while acquired essence is derived from food through the function of the stomach and spleen. Abundant congenital essence leads to vigorous primordial qi, promotes the stomach and spleen's functional activity and enhances acquired essence. In this way, congenital essence is continuously replenished."
"Essence and blood can mutually transform into each other. Essence and blood are stored in the kidney and liver respectively. Abundant essence in the kidney ensures rich blood in the liver. Abundant blood in the liver generates more essence for the kidney." (State Administration of Traditional Chinese Medicine, Advanced Textbook on Traditional Chinese Medicine and Pharmacology (vol. 1), 1995-6 New World Press, Beijing.)
But what makes the Eleven Caldron Flavors unique is the essential alchemy performed with the inclusion of five potent, rare Qi tonics (the first five in the following list).
Together, the Eleven Caldron Flavors fortifies the Kidney Yin, Yang, Qi, and Jing. This is a formula that, like Halloween, is to celebrate death, growth, and renewal. This is a formula of inspiration and mystery, of folklore and fun—this is not a formula of use. Here are the herbs of the formula and their uses. These are all herbs pulled from Classical Chinese and Traditional Chinese Medicine.
Liuwei Dihuang Wan is a classic, important, and often used formula both in Classical Chinese Medicine and in Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM).
Latin Zoological Name: Plastrum testudinis
Common English Name: Land Tortoise Shell
Nourishes the Yin and settles the Yang. Used for Deficient Yin patterns with ascendant Yang and for Deficient Yin of the Liver and Kidneys.
Latin Zoological Name: Gekko gecko L.
Common English Name: Tokay Gecko
Benefits the Kidneys and tonifies the Lungs, thus is useful for Kidney and Lung deficiency. Tonifies the Kidney Yang, useful for impotence and frequent urination.
Latin Zoological Name: Cornu cervi Parvum
Common English Name: Velvet of Young Dear Horn
Tonifies the Kidneys and fortifies the Yang, useful for patterns of Deficient Yang, including impotence, cold extremities, lack of strength and soreness in the lower back and knees, and frequent urination.
Latin Zoological Name: Hippocampus
Common English Name: Sea Horse
Tonifies the Kidneys and fortifies the Yang. Used for impotence, urinary incontinence, and debility in the elderly. Enlivens the blood.
Zi He Chef, aka Tai Yi
Latin Zoological Name: Placenta hominis
Common English Name: Human Placenta
Uses: Powerfully tonifies the Qi, Blood, and Yang, and benefits the Essence (Jing). Also used for debilitation with deficient Qi, Blood, Yin, and Yang, impotence, infertility, habitual miscarriage, and insufficient lactation.
Shu Di Huang
Latin Botanical Name: Rehmannia glutinosa
Common English Name: Rehmannia, Root of the Chinese Foxglove that has been cooked in Wine
Tonifies the Blood, Nourishes the Yin and useful for Deficient Kidney Yin.
Shan Yu Rou, aka Shan Zhu Yu
Latin Botanical Name: Cornus officinalis
Common English Name: Fruit of the Asiatic Cornelian Cherry
Stabilizes the Kidneys and contains the Essence, useful for weak and painful lower back and knees and impotence.
Latin Botanical Name: Rhizoma Discourage
Common English Name: Chinese Yam Root, also Fairy Food
Uses: Tonifies and benefits the Spleen and Stomach, benefits the Lungs and nourishes the Yin and the Yang of the Kidneys and Lungs.
Latin Botanical Name: Poria cocos
Common English Name: Hoelen
Uses: Strengthens the Spleen, drains Dampness. Quiets the Heart and calms the Spirit.
Latin Botanical Name: Alisma plantago-aquatica
Common English Name(s): European Water Plantain, Water Plantain
Uses: Drains Kidney Fire promotes urination with the goal of draining Dampness.
Moutan, aka Mu Dan Pi and as Dan Pi
Latin Botanical Name: Cortex Moutan Radicis
Common English Name: Tree Peony Root Bark
Uses: Clears Heat and cools Blood, invigorates Blood, clears Fire caused by Deficiency
Have a Happy and Safe Halloween
* Two important notes here:
Firstly, We first published this blog in 2016. So if it rings a bell, that's why.
Secondly, Since that first publication, China has—regretfully, sadly, heartbreakingly and unfortunately—reversed its 25 year ban on the use and trade of rhino and tiger parts.
While Chinese medicine does make use of animal parts, making use of endangered species, in any way threatening or compromising the natural world we live within and inhabit, is so contrary to the fundamental nature of Chinese medicine—a medicine rooted in nature—that it, the use of engendered animals, is antithetical to the medicine. It ceases to be, it no longer is, Chinese medicine.
I wrote this blog post with humor. Perhaps, with the lifting of the ban on rhino and tiger parts, that humor is lost.
I will republish it here to make use of the opportunity to emphatically state my position against the use of these animal parts and my position that the use of them—the use of any endangered species—is fundamentally not Chinese medicine.