My Experience on the TCMzone Training & Study Program in China, May 2019 -Bruce Gustafson, LAc., DAOM Fellow, Associate Dean Emperor’s College of Traditional Oriental Medicine

I had been looking for a few years for the right time in my busy professional life to have the opportunity to travel and study TCM in China. With my eye on the TCMzone sponsored tour and their Clinic+Bruce_headshotprevious successes, I signed up for the May 2019 tour and study. It turned out to become the greatest study and travel experience I’ve had, and far exceeded my expectations.

After a direct flight to Beijing and checking in to our comfortable, modern 4-star hotel, we took advantage of an extra day before the formal tour started. Nearby was the Chinese Ethnic Cultural Heritage Park, with acres and acres of beautiful grounds, lakes and waterways, showcasing domestic buildings, art and cultural heritage of various ethnicities, all part of China’s history. It was a wonderful way to acclimate and enjoy strolling through the beautiful grounds.

Next day, our TCMzone tour began with a day full of sightseeing in and around Beijing. Our group met our Beijing based tour guide and interpreter, Selina, and off we went in our van outside the city, to climb and walk along the Great Wall, a sure bucket list experience not to be missed. I do wish we could have stayed a bit longer there, yet our busy day still included visits to the Temple of Heaven and the Forbidden City, to experience these great icons of Chinese cultural history.

On our last day in Beijing, we toured the Summer Palace, with its inspiring grounds, lakes and temples; after a group lunch, we were off to the train station for our bullet train journey to Shanghai, where the TCM training program would begin.

For the next two weeks of our program, our group was immersed in morning clinical rounds within different modules at Longhua Hospital, and then on to inspiring afternoon educational lectures at the Shanghai TCM University campus nearby. Our guides and interpreters for the two weeks in Shanghai, Curry and Kai were simply exceptional, both going way above and beyond expectations to make sure we were oriented, supported and well taken care of, and they were always available!

The hotel accommodations were 4-star wonderful, and an easy 10-minute walk to both the hospital and campus, through a lovely area of tree-lined streets, shops, restaurants, convenience stores, an herbal pharmacy, and just steps from a Metro station. This was a perfect location for access to our training locations and to all of Shanghai, as our group often made excursions outside of our studies, in the afternoons, evenings and day off.

In our daily small group rounds at Longhua Hospital, we had direct observation and interaction with physician/patient care, diagnosis and treatment recommendations in busy integrative settings, often seeing between 14-20 patients in a morning rounds session. There was opportunity to ask questions of the patients, or the treating physician, either directly or via our interpreters, if needed. We rotated daily among modules which included the Pulmonary, GI, Cardiology, Orthopedic/Traumatology, Oncology, Gynecology, Endocrine and Acupuncture departments. As a result of these observation days, I’ve gained some refreshing perspectives on treatment modalities, including some new acupuncture protocols to utilize in my own practice.

It was inspiring to actually experience TCM and Western based medicine approaches used together in an integrative way in an outpatient and inpatient hospital setting; to see how Chinese herbs were prescribed in clinical settings, both similarly and differently than we do in the US; and to see how the different departments and physicians would cross-refer, based on patient needs or wishes.

Shanghai TCM University is also keen on growing the acceptance of our medicine through research and evidence-based studies, so many of our afternoon educational lectures were also presentations on clinical TCM conditions that included contemporary research on various treatment modalities. Our group also had a 2-afternoon Powerpoint presentation and lecture on the 8-Extraordinary Vessels, which was the clearest and most accessible coverage on the topic I’ve experienced.

One of the nicest aspects of this trip was the balance of “work and play time.” With most afternoons and evenings free, our group would explore Shanghai, the old and modern sections, great restaurants, a high-end tea shop tasting in Old Shanghai, the Yu Gardens, the Pearl and Shanghai Towers, etc.

As part of the entire experience, TCMzone provided a guided day trip to Suzhou city where we toured an actual silk factory, the serene and gorgeous Master of Nets Gardens, and a gondola-type boat ride through the canals of Old Suzhou. This was one of our group’s favorite days off!

After the weeks of my satisfying and successful training experiences, on our last day we had a graduation ceremony at the Pudong campus of Shanghai TCM International University, toured their gorgeous and incredible museum filled with ancient Chinese artifacts, manuscripts, and exhibits on many of the leading Chinese physicians and thinkers throughout the long history of our medicine. Topping all of this off, we finished with a private tour of the herbal manufacturing facility TCM Zone herbs originate from. Here, we witnessed the thorough, detailed and scientific processes that are used to make sure these powdered extracts are the best possible we can offer to our patients.

This entire tour and training, sponsored by TCM Zone, was thoughtful, full of rewarding experiences and very well organized. I come away having had a deeply satisfying time and a wonderful travel/educational experience. I am intending to make use of another TCM Zone tour in the future, and I do not hesitate to recommend this opportunity to anyone interested in  advancing one’s knowledge and having an experience of Chinese culture and some of our TCM heritage.

TCMzone, a US Pioneer of Granule Herbs for Healthcare Practitioners

By Sherri Taylor, L.Ac.

TCMzone, LLC is a leading national herbal product company located in Tempe, Arizona that has raised the standard of Chinese Medicine.   quality-labTCMzone utilizes high quality contract manufacturers in Japan and China.  TCMzone’s specialty is modernizing Chinese Medicine by offering the ancient wisdom of Traditional Chinese Medicine and providing a modern day use of Chinese Herbals for practitioners to give to their patients.  One of the ways TCMzone does this is by providing herbal granule products to providers to take place of decocting raw herbs.  Herbal granules are easy and convenient to use.  You don’t need to spend time decocting herbs, you just need to add hot water to the granules which makes them convenient for “on the go” use.  Another important feature using herbal granules is that they are tested and standardized.  Each herbal product has a certificate of analysis that confirms a regulated product has reached its specifications in terms of amount of the herb and meets the standards for purity and safety.  The certificate of analysis ensures the quality of the herbal product and is the result of a series of tests done by the manufacturers.

The process of granulation includes sourcing the raw herb, cutting, weighing and mixing, extraction and separation, spray drying and powder mixture of herbal extract, granulation and packaging.   The finished granulation product has a 5:1 concentration ratio.  This means that one gram of granules is equal to 5 grams of raw herbs.  There a few exceptions to this rule, but most granules are in this dosage form. Granulation is a size enlargement process that converts small particles into physically stronger and larger particles.  There are two types of granulation, wet and dry.  Dry granulation consists of the mixture of powder being compressed with very little binders and fillers (excipients).  Dry granulation is primarily used in mainland China.  Wet granulation is the traditional pharmaceutical method of granulation and involves wet massing a powder mixture with a granulating liquid and includes more steps until the finished product.  Wet granulation tends to use more binders and fillers to help formation of granules. Granulation originated in Japan in the 1970’s and Taiwan in the 1980’s where wet granulation is used, the most traditional method.

TCMzone is committed to providing high quality herbs to providers so they can feel confident about the safety and efficacy of the product they are giving to their patients.  TCMzone manufacturers ensure sourcing authentic medicinal herbs as shown in the Chinese and Japanese Pharmacopoeia.  All TCMzone manufacturers provide rigorous testing of the herbal products for a certificate of analysis of the product and comply with pharmaceutical good manufacturing practices (GMP).  High quality tests are performed to ensure the quality, safety, and authentication of herbs.  These tests include: High Performance Liquid Chromatography (HPLC), High Performance Thin Layer Chromatography (HPTLC), Gas Chromatography-Mass Spectometry, High Performance Liquid Chromatography (HPLC), and Microscopy.

TCMzone offers both forms of granules.  Wet granulation herbs are mainly classical formulas from the Shang Han Lun that are the Honso brand.  Dry granulation herbs are from mainland China.  TCMzone single herbs are offered in daily-dose packets and 100 gram bottles for your single herbal dispensary.  Formulas are available in unit-dose packets, vegi-capsules and 100 gram bottles.

TCMzone is proud to be a US pioneer of granule herbs to provide the very best in herbal products to the Integrative Healthcare community.  Be a trusted source of herbal medicine for your patients.  Call us today with your questions and speak to our on-site herbal consultant.

Practitioners Corner: April Spotlight, Dr. Yiwen Su

Traditional Chinese Medicine is not only the medicine of the past, but also of the present and of the future. I feel blessed to have received such intensive training in the origin of this medicine, inherited the valuable knowledge and skills passed on by the true Su-Yiwen-website (002)masters of the older generations and witnessed the healing power of this medicine in China as well as overseas.
I am a licensed acupuncturist and East Asian Medicine Provider in the State of Washington and a diplomat of Acupuncture and Chinese Herbology (NCCAOM). I am currently the director of dermatology committee of American Association of Traditional Chinese Medicine. I was invited to speak at multiple national and regional oriental medicine conferences in the U.S. I have a busy joint private practice with my wife Dr. Li Jin at Su & Jin Acupuncture and Natural Healthcare in Northgate, Seattle, Washington.
I entered this medical field in 1980 and graduated with a Masters of Medicine degree in 1988 from Chengdu University of Traditional Chinese Medicine in China. During my training, in addition to a few outstanding professors and very experienced doctors of TCM, I followed one of the founders of the university, famous postgraduate tutor, Master Wen Zhuo-Zhi who devoted 60 years of his life helping his patients in China. I was chosen as his only postgraduate student.
My extensive teaching in combination with my clinical practice have contributed a great deal to my in-depth medical knowledge and clinical expertise. My teaching faculty positions include Chengdu University of TCM in China where I was officially appointed as Guest Professor in recognition of my significant achievements and extraordinary importance in Traditional Chinese Medicine. My other teaching experience in countries outside of China are as follows: professor at Israeli College of Medicine in Tel Aviv, Israel; herbal department chair and faculty chair at Northwest Institute of Acupuncture and Oriental Medicine in Seattle, WA, professor at Emperor’s College of Traditional Oriental Medicine in Santa Monica, CA, core faculty at Seattle Institute of East Asian Medicine and I have regularly been invited to teach at doctoral programs at Oregon College of Oriental Medicine and Bastyr University.
With a major in Dermatology and over 30 years clinical practice, I have had the opportunity to see a great number of allergy cases in addition to skin conditions. I came to realize that allergies are not just our body’s response to allergens, it is a dynamic interaction between our body and the environment. Our body’s overacting to the environment reflects our inner disharmony as well as the ever-changing environment. Only by careful examination of the environmental factors, and fine-tuning our body’s balance, will a better clinical result be achieved.
Many of my patients are referrals from others who failed with conventional medical therapies but benefited from traditional Chinese medicine treatment at my clinic. Some patients chose to work with us in conjunction with their western healthcare practitioners to get the utmost benefits of both medicines, or to get the surface issues and root causes of their health problems taken care of. That is why I believe Traditional Chinese Medicine is not just the medicine of the past, it is the medicine trending towards the future, embraced as a significant healthcare modality in the West.
As for the specific tools I use in my practice, I really see the benefit of combining acupuncture, Chinese herbal medicine, dietary and lifestyle advice to my patients. Every patient is offered a different variety of herbal formulas, diet and lifestyle that are tailored to his or her specific constitutions. Herbal formulas work only when the herbs are from reliable sources. TCMzone is a valuable resource and provides fine ingredients of Chinese herbal medicine available to licensed healthcare practitioners and their patients in the U.S.

Let’s Begin Building Your Herbal Pharmacy

With all the herbs and formulas we study, how do we choose specifically which herbs and formulas to begin with, so they are not sitting on the shelf for long periods of time before being sold?

As I mentioned in my previous blog, there are specific things you want to consider when building your herbal pharmacy. However, you don’t have to feel overwhelmed with ordering mass amounts of product to immediately fill your pharmacy.  Start slow and work up to building it at the pace that will benefit you financially.

I started with a couple formulas in mind that I knew I would use quite frequently with the patient population I treat.  I’ve treated infertility and internal medicine conditions within the scope of Chinese Medicine for approximately 13 years now.  My first order of individual herbs was based on a couple of main formulas that I knew I would use frequently.  I ordered 8-15 herbs to begin concocting formulas for patients.  The following is a list of the top 15 herbs I currently use in my practice:

Dang Gui, Huang Qi, Sheng Di Huang, Bai Shao, Chuan Xiong, Sheng Jiang, Fu Ling, Zhi Gan Cao, Chai Hu, Dang Shen, Bai Zhu, Ban Xia, Xiang Fu, Chen Pi, Shan Yao

 

To learn more on how to build the custom herbal pharmacy that’s right for you, register for my complimentary webinar with TCMzone on Feb. 22, 9am-10am PT.