Chinese Medicine and China’s Dragon Boat Festival
From：Taiwan Trade Center Chicago
China’s Dragon Boat Festival has many traditional customs, some of which relate to traditional Chinese medicine. Zhang Bin, the chairman of Guangyuyuan Chinese Herbal Medicine, and Lang Bicheng, gave an interview with an inside look on these traditional medicine practices.
Historically, there are many medical reasonings behind the festival itself, such as rituals to avoid epidemics and for better health care. One of these rituals, the perfume sachet, was ironically used to carry small things, but now people put herbs in the sachet that are associated with traditional Chinese medical practices such as disease immunity or glorified air fresheners. Currently, the main purpose of these sachets is to prevent disease carrying insects such as mosquitoes, which are irksomely common during the time of year that the festival takes place.
This purpose may be evolving, however, since the COVID-19 pandemic. Instead of using the sachet for mosquito repellent, it may be developing into another way of disinfecting. The herbs inside the sachet would be changed then to mugwort, for example, which acts as a disinfectant when burned. In addition to disinfecting, these herbs can improve moods which Bin and Bicheng say is important during this time of crisis, as well as an improved mental state diminishing the change of future illness.
There is a strict formula to traditional Chinese medicine, Bicheng emphasizes, specifically concerning the perfume sachet. Physically making a sachet involves a pharmacist and a traditional practitioner to check the combination of herbs used and their effects.
He then explained the relevant stigma concerning traditional Chinese medicine, mainly due to the quality/efficacy of the medicines. However, he stands by this type of medicine by emphasizing the foundational properties of these herbs and the effect they’ve had on COVID-19 patients. He states that 90% of these patients have improved from traditional Chinese medicine.