This is part 3 of this series addressing the all too common question: What is the best dit da jow? Parts 1 and 2 can be found below on earlier posts. As always, you comments are very welcome. Now, on with the topic at hand.
So, what is the answer to our quest for the best Dit Da Jow? If there is no one best formula, than what should one do? If you have been following the earlier installments it will be apparent by now that there is not a single formulation that is the best for everyone's needs but that does not mean that you should not look for specific elements to ensure you get the best quality Dit Da jow possible. Below are some tips to help you on your search:
- Look for a Dit Da Jow Formula that addresses your specific needs. Are you training hard and want to heal bruises and eliminate pain? Or perhaps you pulled a leg muscle playing racquetball. You may be having extreme sharp pain in your neck and shoulders or want to heal a hairline fracture on your foot. Determining what it is you want from the Dit Da Jow will help you look for and find the correct Dit Da Jow formula for your needs. And while general purpose formulas will work on a variety of needs, there are formulas for very specific needs that will work better.
- Dit Da Jow must be made from high grade herbs. The key to an effective Dit Da Jow lies in the quality of the herbs it is made from. Many formulas being offered up for sale are made with lesser quality herbs which are much cheaper than high grade herbs. The potency of the resulting Dit Da Jow is much lower. Still cheaper are herbs that are past their prime and this will result in even weaker, less effective Dit Da Jow.
- Darkeness, Murkiness or Sediment are NOT reliable indicators of High Quality Dit Da Jow. The Darkness or coloration of Dit Da Jow is a function of the type of herbs used and it is easy to manipulate color just by adding herbs that make the liquid darker. Floating herbal matter and amount of sediment are also easily manufactured simply by grinding the herbs into a powder prior to aging the Dit Da Jow. In fact, this is a common trick used by those selling improperly aged Dit Da Jow. It so happens that some of the best Dit Da Jow will be fairly clear, smooth and with little or no sediment. These are usually filtered prior to bottling so what you get is only the purest herbal essence as extracted by the alcohol base. Filtered Dit Da Jows are absrobed by the skin at a faster rate and are much less likely to cause a rash or upset the skin.
- Dit Da Jow Must Be Aged Properly. Dit Da Jow effectiveness increases with aging, and the longer it is aged, the better it will be. Aging occurs best at the batch level, when the herbs and alcohol are mixed and sealed. Some will say that Jow continues to age once it is bottled for use. This is incorrect and and excuse to sell you improperly aged Dit Da Jow. The extraction of herbal constituents takes place when the correct quantity of herbs is aged in the correct amount of alcohol medium. Period.
- The Bottle Makes a Difference. There are those who claim that using plastic bottles is ok. Well, it is NOT. While plastic is fine for other types of liquids and even for other types of liniments and formulations it is not good for storing or containing Dit Da Jow. Anyone with experience making Dit Da Jow will tell you that the herbal tincture will begin to decompose the plastic, almost melting it. The decomposed plastic will mix with the Dit Da Jow and will change its characteristics. You usually cannot see this as it happens on the inside of the bottle, but it happens and it is not good for the Dit Da Jow nor is it good for you. Dit Da Jow must be contained in glass. Dark, tinted glass is better to limit exposure to light. Bottles should be first use (not resused), and preferably be of food grade to ensure cleanliness. The bottles must seal out air completely. So you can see that the lowly bottle does play a key role.
- The Dit Da Jow Formulation must be from an Authentic Source. An authentic source can be a Certified Chinese Herbalist, or a more traditional source such as an ancient Chinese Herbal Text or a traditional formulation kept within a Martial heritage and passed on to students or members of that heritage. The key is that the formulation follow accepted formulation methods based on Traditional Chinese Medicine. Beware of newer formulas or formulas that claim to have modern components or a mixture of eastern and western herbs. While they may be excellent, they are typically hodpoges of herbs thrown together by someone who just finished reading a book on herbs. Follow the tried and proven. If the formula has been around and in use by a particular group for a long time, you will probably experience good results. It is not that new formulas cannot be good or that western herbs will not work, but rather that there are multitudes of people with little knowledge or experience making up formulas and claiming to have the best ever. Be safe and don't waste your time and money. Stay with the tried and proven.
The best way to ensure that the above points are covered and that you are getting the best formula possible is this: Find a reputable source, someone who is well known, of high reputation, that offers a wide range of formulas instead of one silver bullet. Someone who can answer your questions and who is willing to take the time to provide information, background and reasoning behind their recommendations. The biggest or largest organization may not be the best place to go. Use the Chinese restaurant criteria, small places do have great food and if the Chinese eat there, it must be good. In the case of Dit Da Jow, follow the line of martial artists and see whom they are getting their Dit Da Jow from. Experiment with various sources, examine their offerings, see how they stand behind they product and most of all, if their stuff works.
That is it, no magic, no silver bullets, just rational logical smart shopping and trial and error in a sea of offerings, all claiming to be the best. Good Luck!
Shown in the picture is the San Bao "3 Treasures" Healing Liniment. This liniment is specially geared for deep injuries and is particularly efffective for upper body injuries, pains or soreness such as of the shoulders , neck, upper back, etc. This formula can be found in ready to use form or in herbal pack ready to make form at http://www.shenmartialarts.com/smajow.html.