A SAMPLE PINE MOUNTAIN FORMULA:
YIN QIAO JIE DU PIAN
Yin Qiao Jie Du Pian (Lonicera & Forsythia Formula) is one of nearly 30 patent-replacement formulas in the Pine Mountain line prepared by ITM. So-called "patent" remedies from China are factory-prepared combinations of traditional Chinese medicine materials that are easy to use, relatively inexpensive, and believed to be highly effective based on their formulation principles. They stand in contrast to unique formulations designed by a physician in consultation with a patient. Those, which are an important aspect of TCM health care, are usually to be prepared as decoctions at home. Such formulations are not convenient (requiring home preparation and drinking a bad tasting brew), may be expensive (at least in the time and cost involved with a professional consultation, if not the large amount of herbal materials), and they are effective for the individual at that particular time, based on current symptoms and constitutional condition.
Yin Qiao Jie Du Pian is an example of a formulation, devised about 150 years ago, that is regarded as highly effective for treating certain acute disorders, mainly infection and inflammation. The dominant use is in treating influenza, marked by sore throat, congestion, feverish feeling, and aching in the muscles, though there are other applications. The basic formulation is specified in the Pharmacopoeia of the People's Republic of China, and it is produced by dozens of factories. The most common imported item used in the U.S. is the Yin Qiao Jie Du Pian produced by the Tianjin factory. Tianjin is a seaside city near Beijing; the factory is famous for producing a large number of patents.
Unfortunately, the reputation of imported patents from China has been severely tarnished. Over the past several years, it has been reported that many of the patents are contaminated with heavy metals (mainly as the result of intentional additions of cinnabar, which contains mercury, and realgar, which contains arsenic, but also due to unintended inclusion of lead), have drugs (added intentionally to make the effect more powerful), are mislabeled (either as the result of errors or intentional obscuration of the ingredients to avoid copies or to avoid problems with import authorities), and are not fresh (overproduced and sitting in warehouses for years). Not all imported patents suffer from these problems; the Chinese government and several individual factories have taken serious steps to correct the actual and perceived failings of the manufacturing and finished products. However, it remains difficult for the consumer to differentiate among the imported items.
Some lines of patents have been devised recently to avoid these specific problems. An attempt is made to imitate the original patent as closely as possible in name, formulation, and format (type of pill, number of pills). Unfortunately, this effort is only partly successful. For example, the formulation that is produced is often copied from the label of the original patent, but the label of the product may well have been incorrect or incomplete, so that the copy is not really like the product it intends to replace. Products that were effective because of included drugs no longer contain the drugs and may no longer be particularly effective. The original format may be copied correctly, but that format may have been better suited for the market in China than for the international market where larger amounts of the herbs may need to be consumed.
The Pine Mountain line is not intended as patent copies, but as true patent replacements. That is, the uses remain the same, but the preparation has been modernized to address current concerns. Yin Qiao Jie Du Pian is a good example. It contains the essential ingredients of the Pharmacopoeia specified formulation, but is adjusted to include two herbs that are today very commonly used for the same application: isatis root and andrographis. To imitate the use of essential oils in the Chinese preparations, extracts of the two mints (schizonepeta and mentha) are used; these extracts have a high content of essential oils. The formula description, as appears in A Bag of Pearls, follows:
ITM has posted articles on several key herbs in this formulation, including an article on the two anti-infection herbs lonicera and forsythia; the two mints, schizonepeta and mentha; and platycodon. In addition, there is an article about the patent and its origins in the prescription called Yin Qiao San. Following is a table summarizing the identity of the ingredients used.
Table 1. Herbs in Pine Mountain Yin Qiao Jie Du Pian.
|Common Name||Botanical Name||Other Common Names||Plant Part||Pinyin; Pin Yin|
|Andrographis||Andrographis paniculata||king of bitters||rhizome||chuanxinlian, Chuan Xin Lian|
|Arctium||Arctium lappa||burdock||seed||niubangzi, Niu Bang Zi|
|Forsythia||Forsythia suspensa||weeping forsythia||fruit||lianqiao, Lian Qiao|
|Isatis root||Isatis tinctoria||dyer's woad||root||banlangen, Ban Lan Gen|
|Lonicera||Lonicera japonica||Japanese honeysuckle||flower||jinyinhua, Jin Yin Hua|
|Lophatherum||Lophatherum gracile||bamboo leaf||leaf||danzhuye, Dan Zhu Ye|
|Mentha||Mentha arvensis||field mint||top||bohe, Bo He|
|Platycodon||Platycodon grandiflorum||giant balloon flower||root||jiegeng, Jie Geng|
|Schizonepeta||Schizonepeta tenuifolia||Japanese catnip||spike||jing jie, Jing Jie|
|Soja||Glycine max||black soybean||seed||dandouchi, Dan Dou Chi|