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Huanglian 5:1

Classical Name:
Coptis
Coptidis Rhizoma
Coptis chinensis rhizome
黃連
Classification:
Herbs that Protect the Yang by Clearing Inflammation/Gu Toxicity (護陽)
Excipient:
None
Growing Location:
Chongqing, China
Traditional Preparation:
Unprocessed, naturally dried

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China’s best Huanglian (Coptis) comes from Sichuan. The most prolific area for Sichuanese herb production is actually Western Hubei, which administratively used to belong to Sichuan all the way until the end of the imperial era in 1911. Huanglian grows at altitudes of 1,300 – 1,800 meters (4,500 – 6,000 feet), where it absorbs the cooling influence and downward momentum of yangming. The yangming force acts like an air conditioning system that keeps the life forces in nature from overheating. This picture of top grade Huanglian roots was taking at the house of a Hubei Huanglian farmer, who also provides shelter for weekend vacationers from nearby Chongqing escaping the summer heat in the cool and pristine mountains of Western Hubei.Huanglian (Coptis) is perhaps the best known among the yellow and bitter medicinals associated with the function of clearing heat and drying damp in the Chinese materia medica. It contains large quantities of Berberine, a biochemical present in many herbs with anti-pathogenic effect (i.e., Goldenseal and Oregon Grape) and has become recognized by modern researchers as one of the strongest natural substances exhibiting a quasi-antibiotic effect. In modern Chinese, Berberine is therefore called Huangliansu—coptis essence.

Genuine, medicinal grade Huanglian grows at altitude in Sichuan Province where the plants can absorb the year round coolness and downward momentum associated with the climate qualities of the yangming function in nature. Rhizomes that have been cultivated for at least 3 years in their traditional habitat exhibit the highly valued “Chrysanthemum mark” at the core, a mark of many didao medicinals in the Chinese material medica. Classical Pearls sources its Huanglian in the green mountain ranges surrounding Chongqing, which has traditionally been one of the herbal treasure chambers of the famous category of “Sichuanese herbs.”

Huanglian plot in Western Hubei at intersection of forest and farmer’s vegetable garden. The partially filled out roofing structure protects the plant from too much direct sunlight, since Huanglian requires about 50% light and 50% shade.

Traditional style cultivation of Huanglian seedlings in near wild conditions in the cool and damp environment of Western HubeiExploring Huanglian plot on hillside slope in Western Hubei. Note the fall clothing that is necessary in this eternally cool and damp environment, even during spring and summer.

 

Formation of seeds on Huanglian plant. The plant needs to be cultivated for at least 3-4 years before the roots can be harvested for medicinal purposes.Unprocessed, naturally dried