In accordance with Kung Fu tradition, we produce our own herbal medicine to complement our training. This becomes very important as a student progresses. Our medicines fall into the following categories.
External medicine for conditioning (Dit Da Jow)
By far the most famous Kung Fu medicine. This is the classic rubbing medicine applied externally only (it can be harmful if swallowed in quantity) to alleviate pain, bring down swelling, disperse bruises and draw chi to the area to which it has been applied.
It is a little known fact that most schools of Kung Fu have their own formula for Dit Da Jow and that it is a very closely guarded secret, known only to the master and maybe one or two very trusted students. Each school’s formula will be unique to them and will be ideally suited to the type of training they do.
Our medicine formulae have been passed down through many generations and are thoroughly tried and tested. Our Dit Da Jow formula contains 22 different herbs and a few secret ingredients. All of these are chosen personally by Master Tan Soh Tin and delivered to the mountain retreat, where they are soaked in local rice spirit to produce medicine.
Internal Medicines to Boost Energy Levels and Aid Recovery After Training
Many people assume that once they arrive at Nam Yang, they will be able to do limitless training and meditation. The reality is that whilst time may be on your side, your energy levels are finite. Once you exhaust them, you will have to rest and recuperate. Therefore, improving recovery rates is vital.
Kung Fu is not at all similar to typical western exercise in how it works or how it affects the body. It uses tendon strength in preference to muscular strength. This can be very exhausting and depletes the energy (chi) in the tendons and kidneys in particular.
Thus, we use the following medicines to restore energy to the tendons and kidneys:
Por sin Wan (bodily health pills)
The formula for this Medicine was passed to Master Tan Soh Tin, head of Nam Yang Pugilistic Association, by his Master. A number of herbs are ground to powder, mixed with honey and pressed into pills.
This medicine really works. It gives a big boost in strength and energy and counters fatigue from hard training.
Black Chicken With Herbs
Like most Chinese medicines, this is as much a food as a medicine. Black chickens are really black – meat and all. They tend to be fairly tough and very lean, not at all like market chicken. We buy them from the local hill tribes completely free range.
Whilst black chicken acts as a tonic in its self, it is much more powerful when boiled with a variety of Chinese medicines to make a soup. We obtain the medicine packs from local Chinese villages and prepare the herbal black chicken soup periodically. This is a very potent tonic which gives a great boost if you are feeling fatigued after training.
Yah Dong (medicated wine)
Medicinal herbs soaked for a long time in rice alcohol to produce a drinkable medicine. The significance of the alcohol is that it is a very powerful solvent that will dissolve things that water wont. There are many different formulae for Yah Dong. We are presently using the following:
Bought from Lampang province, Thailand. Offsets depletion of tendon energy as a result of hard training.
Bought from a ‘medicine woman’ from a Hmong tribal village in Chiang Mai province. Replaces ‘kidney yang’ energy. Ideal after training.
Imported from China. As the name implies, prolongs life by increasing bodily vitality. This formula has an excellent record of success in China.
Jiao Gu Lan (Five Leaf Ginseng) Tea
Known as the immortality herb, this tea is an antioxidant and adaptogen (which means it speeds recovery after hard training) and boosts the immune system. As a bonus, it also tastes great. In addition to being made into a tea, the raw herb can be eaten to gain the same benefits. Jiao Gu Lan grows on high mountain slopes. It is grown by the Chinese in the high mountains of Northern Thailand, particularly in Chiang Rai Province. We source top quality Jiao Gu Lan for the mountain retret.
We are able to obtain a wide range of different types of ginseng grown in the mountains of Northern Thailand along with the knowledge of how to best use them, (for instance milder types can be chewed and eaten, stronger types are best used for cooking or making Yah Dong). We use ginseng regularly in the preparation of our meals.
Hailed as a miracle food, Goji berries can be obtained in Thailand and are much moister and fresher than those seen in the west. They can be eaten (and taste quite good) or used for cooking or making Yah Dong. We use them regularly for all of these purposes.