Medicinal substances are the basic tools involved in any Chinese medicine treatment outside of acupuncture. If one only knows a single use for a herb, this is insufficient to be considered competent in the use of that herb; one should know the secondary use at the minimum, and really should not be content until a tertiary use for each tool is second nature. The old doctors knew their tools so well that each formula would be an example of concentrated elegance: each herb employed with four or five levels of use considered, each of these levels reinforcing an action of two or more of the few other herbs in the formula.
Sang Ye: Pot-herb to Potentate - by Steve Clavey
How many practitioners are aware that appreciation of Sang Ye’s abilities is relatively recent, and that unlike herbs such as Zhu Ye or even Sang Bai Pi which have long been recognised as major materia medica, Sang Ye for most of TCM history was merely
Walnuts as medicinal food - by Steven Clavey
Quotes from the Ben Cao tradition.
Maintaining shape and nature when carbonising herbs - by Chen Nian-Zu
The directions for preparing Ten Partially Charred Substances Powder specify that the carbonising process must cease before the materials have broken down and lost their shape and nature.