The late Dr. Joel Penner, producer of the American Dragon website, was a dedicated teacher and practitioner. He derived much satisfaction from helping to heal people. We are grateful for all the services he provided and we hope that the information provided on his website can continue to serve the community. The American Dragon website was his passion, and, over the years, has become a great reference for both patients and professionals… If you would like to help with the hosting & maintenance expenses of the American Dragon website, go to

When we get too comfortable in our routine, we stop challenging ourselves. Complacency is the silent dream killer. -Nina Guilbeau

As TCM practitioners, we should never close the door on change.
Because even just a little more capability in a medicine can make all the difference.

That being true, consider that the variation in power levels between top selling brands of herbal extract concentrates is immense. So, have you chosen a brand with high power or a brand with low power? Herbal practitioners can verify these potency variations with a simple 5-minute test. We’ll show you how. The results speak for themselves: No practitioner should be prescribing the brand pictured here.


Why? Because it’s stale and lifeless. This commonly used formula by a commonly seen brand of herbal extract concentrates will not do the job. Imagine if it was your seafood paella. Some of its ingredients were overcooked, it was oxidized while dehydrating, it hasn’t been refrigerated, and 4 months later it’s in front of you on the dinner table… Whether dinner or prescription, one taste reveals the problem: Faulty preparation and preservation methods resulting in a decline in power. In pill form, its weakness is hidden from the scrutiny of taste. Who’s to know?

The power level of prescriptions can make or break a practice. As practitioners, how do we know where the real power is in a marketplace where even some highly advertised brands are powerless? Either we perform a simple test or it’s a game of chance.

It’s your future; don’t leave it to chance.

A simple 5-minute test. We’ll show you how to do it. A stellar investment, it should have been part of our training. It’s taking charge and looking out for one’s own best interest. It will help elevate a good practice to a great one.

First, we’ll stimulate your critical thinking skills. Let’s start by acknowledging the elephant in the room: the problem with dried herbal extract concentrates. Because they are so lucrative for mass-manufacturers, so accessible for practitioners, and so easy for patients, few educators stray from the path to mention the significant drawbacks. We delve into this critical issue below.

Then, on the VITAL SIGNS page: forget the brand name, the endorsements, the popularity; we’ll show you how you can tell which products are likely to pay the highest dividends in patient satisfaction, and which offer nothing beyond good looks on the shelf.

≠   The mass-manufacturing of TCM exists to “treat the masses.” And like with TV-dinners, there are trade offs.   


Problem: The industrialization of TCM results in pharmacies stocked with over-processed extract concentrates that are stale and losing potency every day. “USE BY DATE” is unrealistic and misleading. Here, we are focusing on dried herbal extract concentrates in the pill or powder form (dehydrated tea).

Mass-produced TCM has numerous problems. Aside from the issue of fragile herbs being overcooked, there’s this: Many herbs we use in TCM contain a high volume of potent medicinal oils. Consider Persica seed/Tao Ren, Armeniacae seed/Xing Ren, 20-30 other commonly used seed varieties, and many other herbs. The changes that happen to the oils after an herb tea is dehydrated is basic science . . .

Cause: The combination of a substance with oxygen (oxidative rancidity).

           -How fast does rancidity take over?

The kitchen: In whole-grain foods, the plant’s cellular walls protect nutrients from oxidation. The process of oxidation begins to occur as soon as grain is ground, exposing the cell’s contents to oxygen in the air. Flour that is several days (or more) old, has been exposed to oxygen that inevitably diminishes its nutritional value. The full flavor and aroma of fresh ground flour is conclusive.

The clinic: Dried herbal extract concentrates are subject to the same oxidative degeneration as powdered whole-grains; only faster. Herbs richer in oils result in higher rancidity levels. And these meds are already months old when practitioners get them. Storing dry concentrates at room temperature, in non-photoprotective packaging (clear or white bottles), and exposing them to humidity by repeated opening, all accelerate potency decline.

           -Spray-drying: Visualize the absurdity of such an inappropriate and damaging process…

Fragrance is an obvious statement of power. In the bloodstream, the aromatic property is highly therapeutic and fast acting. While spray-drying is efficient for mass production, it’s a potency killer. It not only intensifies oxidation, but also nearly eliminates fragrance. Any method of drying will deplete fragrance and speed oxidation; spray-drying is the most damaging. Pills are commonly made from spray-dried powders.

Solution: Avoid oxidative rancidity and rapid potency deterioration altogether with a liquid herbal pharmacy. It simply makes more sense.  

Unlike dried concentrates, our cooked liquid tea concentrates (not tinctures) will not go rancid. They’re preserved with 20% alcohol while fresh and at the height of their potency. They don’t need refrigeration and will remain highly potent for years even if they’re opened 50 times a day. When the window of opportunity to intervene is open, they’re always ready at 100% high potency.

For your evaluation:    290 Classic Formulas / 314 Singles / Custom Formulas Infinitum                              

If we don’t experience new things, we don’t get better.

How potent are the concentrated herbal extract pills, powders, and liquids you prescribe? Check here: VITAL SIGNS