The Tianjiang-sponsored trip to China was a game-changer. We were 28 acupuncturists on a 10-day guided tour through China, visiting hospitals and doing rounds, visiting one of Tianjiang's many herb farms, their manufacturing plant, and we'd be taken to a broadway-esque show, a few tourist sites and then home. I'd never been to China, always waiting for the perfect opportunity of travel, historical sites and Chinese Medicine.
In my enthusiasm, I was the first to sign up. By the end, all twenty-eight of us would be full of gratitude at the thought and energy put into this trip. It was the inaugural journey of a cooperative effort between Tianjiang and Treasure of the East--their US distributor, to better familiarize US practitioners with Tianjiang's products by taking us to their factory and one of their farms so they could show us from seed to extract the time and care put not only into testing for any kind of toxicity, but also in making sure their product's efficacy is of the highest standard.
I arrived in Shanghai at 10:30 pm, exhausted from my eighteen-hour flight. I was immediately swept up by our tour guides and delivered to one of Shanghai's beautiful 5 star hotels, where they'd set up a table to check us in and give us gift bags filled with herb samples and other items an acupuncturist would love.
After checking in, we headed out for a series of lectures given by the department heads at Shuguang Teaching Hospital on recent innovations in the union of Traditional Chinese Medicine and modern western medicine in the fields of Cardio-vascular disease, hepatology and trauma medicine. Because most of the research emanates out of China, we were able to catch up on the latest studies and the newest developments in the field of TCM.
We were given books and other tools generously donated to help bring this research back to the states. After a twelve-course meal served family-style, we chartered a ferryboat that circled Shanghai harbor for a beautiful show with lasers and multi-colored lights put on by Shanghai's financial sector.
We stayed in Shanghai and the following day we visited Yueyang Hospital of Integrated Traditional Chinese and Western Medicine. After some enlightening lectures in the fields of gynecology and hematology, we took a tour of the hospital to see how they integrate cupping and gua sha in addition to acupuncture.
We also visited the pharmacy, where they distribute herbal prescriptions generated by the hospital's doctors. Because Tianjiang supplies 70% of China's AAA hospitals, their powder extracts were on hand, ready for mixing.
In the evening we were taken to the old city for a little shopping and another twelve course meal at a different restaurant.
The following day we were on the move, taking our bus to Taixing city and then Dongxing village. We lunched in Dongxing and did some shopping and sight-seeing. We were then driven to the country to visit one of Tianjiang's herb farms, where we got to see the herbs in their living state, learning not only about the importance of growth patterns, but also the details of authentication, seed quality, microscopic & fingerprint identification. Herb quality begins with seed quality, HPLC identification methods authenticate plant species, the plant is then grown in its province of origin.
For example, take Jin Yin Hua, which is grown in several provinces and sold to US herb suppliers at the big herb market in China. By using fingerprint technology, soil analysis, and considering other intrinsic micro and macro morphological factors such as chlorogenic acid levels (one of its anti-inflammatory constituents), Tianjiang determined that its best growth environment is Shang Dong Province. Tianjiang has evaluated every herb in the pharmacopoeia for its ideal growth pattern. After that, each herb is analyzed for ideal cooking temperatures, times and essential oil recovery, comparing active chemicals to achieve the perfect equation for standardized extracts that have the highest medicinal value.
Next, we visited Tianjiang's manufacturing and research facilities, and I couldn't have been more impressed. Not only is testing done at this facility, but also cutting edge research.
The building was huge, and allowed for numerous scientists to analyze every facet of the herb, always striving for improvement, from seed to extract.
This was the day that convinced me I wanted to work with this company.
I knew I wanted to use their herbs in my practice. That evening we had another amazing meal, this time with the CEO of Tianjiang, and then we were able to take a long walk through Jiangyin before bedtime.
Next, we took the bus to Suzhou to see the beautiful Liu garden (Lingering Garden).
Originally a private garden, the grounds have been turned into a museum.
That evening we drove to the historic Xitang water village, a twelve-hundred year old village that resembled Venice with its man-made canals.
It wasn't until this evening that I understood and fully appreciated the schedule of the trip. I'd been disappointed that we wouldn't be heading to Beijing to see the Great Wall and the Forbidden City. I thought, who goes to China and misses these two major tourist sites? But what I realized in Xitang was that I had the opportunity to visit sites that were off the beaten path. We were going to places I would've never found on my own.
The following day we spent in the water village visiting shops and restaurants. That evening we had dinner at a tea farm and then were taken to a Song dynasty style show, a musical detailing the history of the Song, including live horses and a waterfall that filled the stage (literally), creating a most beautiful water display.
We stayed overnight in Hangzhou and the following day returned to Shanghai to settle ourselves and do some shopping before we caught our flights home. Just before I left, as I was saying goodbye to Dr. Wang and thanking her for such an amazing experience, I said, "Would you have any interest in setting something up in California?"