Ru Xiang >> 乳香

Ru xiang, or Boswellia papyifera, is commonly known as frankincense.  The trees that frankincense is harvested from are primarily grown in Somalia and India.  After lancing the trees it takes about 3 months for the hardened resin to fully dry for harvest.  

This herb has the properties of being warm in temperature, acrid and bitter, and is used in many formulas for topical and internal use to invigorate the Blood, promote the movement of Qi, alleviate pain and generate flesh.  Because of it's Blood moving abilities, it is *contraindicated during pregnancy*.  A classic pairing is ru xiang with mo yao, myrrh. 

It is in many of my liniments, salves and ointments to help invigorate the Blood, soften the sinews, alleviate pain, and promote the healing of injuries.  It's also known and widely used to help promote healthy gums and can be found in many natural and Ayurvedic toothpastes and mouthwashes.  Frankincense as an essential oil has an intoxicating, deeply rich and earthy aroma that the 'tears' also possess and is often used as support to the nervous system and adrenals as well as in a carrier oil for topical application to the skin (especially the face).  

Recent studies conducted by researchers from John's Hopkins University point to a correlation between burning frankincense resin and the alleviation of mild symptoms of anxiety and depression; it is one of the main ingredients in my Sacred Space Incense.  There is also ongoing research testing the efficacy of it's use in alleviating joint pain due to arthritis.  I'll be keeping my eyes out for the results of these studies!


This information is for educational purposes only.  It has not been evaluated by the FDA and is not meant to treat, cure, or prevent any disease.  

Hong Hua >> 红花

Hong hua's botanical name is Carthami flos, or safflower.  This is one of my favorite herbs!  It's only the petals of the flower that are used and they're so so light.  Opening a bag or container of hong hua is like getting punched in the face by a stinky wet dog, but like many aromatic morsels, once it's cooked into tea the aroma changes and it tastes nothing like it's initial aroma would lead you to believe!  It has the properties of being acrid and warm, both of which promote movement.  In Chinese medicine, safflower is used to promote the movement of blood to help alleviate pain.  Because of these blood moving actions, it's considered contraindicated during pregnancy.  

It's a specialty herb for both gynecological conditions as well as for treating traumatic injuries.  Dosage plays an important role in this herbs strength of action -- with higher doses strongly breaking up blood stasis and lower doses gently regulating and invigorating.  This flower is a bright red-orange and has thin petals.  If you think about the Doctrine of Signatures it makes sense that this herb goes to the blood and opens the channels to dispel stagnation!  

According to an article written in Acupuncture Today, "safflowers are grown in the Henan, Hubei, Sichuan and Zhejiang provinces [of China]. The flowers are picked from the plant in the summer, after the petals turn bright red, and are dried in the shade for herbal medicine."  It's native to Asia and parts of Northern Africa along the Nile river watershed and generally flowers in June and July.  Wouldn't it be amazing to see a field of these beautiful flowers!  Probably as awe-inspiring as the fields of sunflowers growing in the Midwest!

This herb shows up in a lot of my ingredient lists!  It's in the Aches + Pains (coming in August, 2015) Liniment, 4 Resin Salve to Alleviate Pain, Herbal Ice, Trauma Liniment, and the Eagle Claw Liniment.  


This information is for educational purposes only.  It has not been evaluated by the FDA and is not meant to treat, cure, or prevent any disease.

Lu Lu Tong >> 路路通

Lu lu tong, or Liquidambaris fructus, is also the fruit from the Sweet Gum, those awesome spiky orbs that provide hours of fun and ammunition as a child!  In Chinese medicine this herb is used to invigorate the Blood and free obstructions along channels that are causing stagnation; it's name actually means "All roads are Open".  It is neutral in temperature and bitter in flavor.

This flavor profile is interesting as it primarily refers to the action of the herb, not the actual way it tastes.  There are 5 categories of flavors in Chinese medicine:  sweet, sour, salty, bitter and acrid (or spicy).  Each taste also corresponds to a set of organs, called Zang Fu. Bitter herbs are associated with the Liver and often contain alkaloids that affect the nervous system and glycosides that affect the circulatory system.  These herbs have the general actions of promoting the  movement of either Qi or Blood and are usually also drying.

Lu lu tong is an important ingredient in the Tendon Lotion and the Trauma Liniment.  In both of these preparations there is an action to move the Blood and either clear obstructions or prevent them from happening.  Because of this strong action it, and both of these preparations, should be avoided during pregnancy as well as during times of bleeding.


This information is for educational purposes only.  It has not been evaluated by the FDA and is not meant to treat, cure, or prevent any disease.