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Traditional Chinese Medicine
Traditional Chinese medicine (TCM) has developed over millennia, and there are four-thousand-year-old Chinese texts that lit herbs and uses and are still relevant today. It is important to remember, however, that many of the herbs are specific to the geographic region of China and either do not grow in the West or are just now being explored for their agricultural potential.
Some like ginseng, are already a big business in North America; others, like dong quai and ma huang, are now test crops for organic farmers in appropriate climates, but many Chinese plants are simply not suitable for our geography. If you wish to use hydrosols to replace certain Chinese herbs, you must get a really good materia medica to ensure that the botanical species of the hydrosols are the same as those of the herbs.
Some substitutions are possible, and in the aroma-puncture treatments we are testing (applying single drops of hydrosol to acupuncture points, the Western attributes of the hydrosol are also applied.
Most Chinese "remedies" are mixtures. In fact, there a very few single-herb treatments. Hydrosols lend themselves to being blended, as we have already seen. Also, as anyone who has used TCM knows, a Chinese remedy often consists of bags of herbs with detailed instructions on the remedy preparation
I once had a treatment that involved boiling the herbs for one hour the first day, then re-boiling for twenty minutes every day for three days thereafter. The mixture had a ferocious odor, and my neighbors began to doubt that "aromatherapy" had any benefits at all.
How much simpler to just blend your hydrosols, which have already been "boiled," and drink that as your remedy. There are TCM practitioners in several countries exploring hydrosols and essential oils. This is another area where I believe we will see some exciting developments in the years to come. There is more on the use of Hydrosols in acupuncture, acupressure, and shiatsu in the section on esoteric use.
Reference: Hydrosols- The next Aromatherapy: Suzanne Catty