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?

 Clinicians 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 – in spite of the “EXPIRATION DATE” claiming that it’s still good.

This commonly prescribed herbal extract concentrate formula and highly advertised brand is as it tastes. Imagine it was shrimp tacos: Some of its ingredients were overcooked, oxidation began racing from the moment it was dehydrated, it hasn’t been refrigerated, and 4 months later it’s in front of you on the dinner table… Whether dinner or prescription, simply tasting it reveals that it has no power. This medicine is clinically useless except as placebo. It’s ease of administration is irrelevant to the discerning clinician and motivated patient. It’s easy to find a more effective brand: VITAL SIGNS

Weak, dehydrated herbal extract concentrates are often the weak link in a treatment protocol.

State of the art mass manufacturing facilities do what they do well: high quantity production. Then, creative marketing agencies take over with the fact-filled distractions needed to keep the product from our taste buds where viability can easily be put to the test: To the perceptive TCM clinician, it’s the taste that exposes the medicine’s potential. Over-processed and inadequately preserved, the worst tastes chalk-like, and the weak are the norm. The mass manufacturing of TCM exists to “treat the masses.” And like with TV-dinners, there are trade-offs. As clinicians, we must not stick our heads in the sand and think there’s no problem there. Fortunately, there are alternatives (see below).

The power level of prescriptions can make or break a practice. As practitioners, how do we find the real power 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.

Dried concentrates are so lucrative for mass manufacturers, so accessible for practitioners, and so easy for patients, that few educators stray from the path to mention the significant drawbacks. The things we purchase should work as advertised: but that’s not the real world.

A simple 5-minute test. We’ll show you how to do it on the VITAL SIGNS page. 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. 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.


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


Many herbs we use in TCM contain a high volume of potent medicinal oils: 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). When herbs are cooked in water, the cell walls are broken, releasing the active compounds out into a bioavailable form. At this point it needs to be preserved with alcohol or frozen. If instead it is dehydrated and left without preservatives, it would be stale months later at the clinic door. The dull taste does not lie.

Grinding a grain breaks the plant’s cellular walls exposing the contents to oxygen. The process of oxidation begins at once. Whole wheat flour several days old is inevitably diminished in nutritional value. The full flavor and aroma of fresh ground flour is conclusive. Dried herbal extract concentrates, especially seeds, with far more oil than wheat, produce more rancidity and are already months old when offered for sale. Storing them at room temperature, in non-photoprotective packaging (clear or white bottles), and exposing them to humidity by repeated opening, all accelerate potency decline. These factors make a pharmacy of herbal extract concentrate powders/granules entirely impractical.

Spray drying: 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 nearly eliminates fragrance. Any method of drying will deplete fragrance; 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

Actual Shrimp Tacos