Processing of Chinese Medicinals 7

Calcination is heating materials until they become red hot to make them brittle and to help them fully exert their effects. Hard minerals and shells, such as Haigeqiao(Meretricis seu Cyclinae Concha), are usually subjected to direct calcination, whereby the materials are in direct contact with the flame and are heated until they become completely red hot. Animal and vegetable products such as Xueyu (Crinis) and Zonglv (Trachycarpi Stipular Fibra) are subjected to indirect calcination whereby they are heated in wok that becomes red hot at the bottom.
Roasting is a process whereby medicinals wrapped in a protective coating of wet flour or paper are heated in embers until the coating is charred. It reduces harshness and side effects such as irritation by partially removing volatile oils. Examples are roasted Shengjiang(Zingiberis Rhizoma Recens), and roasted Roudoukou(Myristicae Semen).
Fire and Water Processing
Fire and water processing is the simultaneous use of water and heat and includes boiling, quick-boiling, steaming and quenching.
Boiling is the heating of materials in water or other liquid until reaching the boiling point. For example, Huangqin(Scutellariae Radix) is boiled in wine to increase its ability to clear lung heat.
Quick boiling is placing materials in boiling water for a short period of time. Xingren(Armeniacae Semen) and Taoren(Persicae Semen) are quick-boiled to facilitate removal of the seed-coat.
Steaming means placing materials over boiling water. Sometimes adjuvants are used. For example, soaking Dahuang(Rhei Radix et Rhizoma) in wine and steaming it reduce its precipitant effect. Some items are repeatedly steamed and sun-dried to obtain the desired therapeutic effects.
Quenching, also called calcination and quenching, is a process whereby materials, having been heated until they are red-hot, are subsequently dipped into cold water or another liquid to cool them rapidly. The aim is to make them brittle to facilitate crushing.
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