Common Uses for Uncommon Herbs, Uncommon Uses for Common Herbs & Becoming an Informed Purchaser of Herbal Products

Andrew Ellis, Spring Wind Herbs

Saturday, Apr 15th, 2023

2–5pm (online via Zoom)

Common Uses for Uncommon Herbs & Uncommon Uses for Common Herbs

In this first part of his lecture, Andrew will introduce some less common herbs that have special and highly effective clinical uses, as well as discussing how some common herbs–such as Purslane (Ma Chi Xian) and Peach Pit (Tao Ren)–can be used in unexpected and clinically useful ways. In addition, time permitting, Andrew will share some acupuncture and self-massage tips from his teacher, Dr. Shi Neng-Yun.

Becoming an Informed Purchaser of Herbal Products

In the second part of his lecture, Andrew will discuss how students and practitioners can assess the quality and purity of commercially available herbal products. He will outline the advantages and disadvantages of various forms of herbal products – such as tinctures, concentrated granules, bulk herbs, capsules, tablets. He will present the type of questions that we should ask our herbal suppliers in an effort to evaluate quality and purity. This includes developing an understanding of how to evaluate a manufacturer’s quality control program and distinguishing the truth from the hype when reading on a website or talking with a customer service representative. This topic will also include information on various contaminants such as pesticides, heavy metals, aflatoxins and sulfur and their possible presence in herbal products.


Andrew Ellis first studied Chinese medicine with Dr. James Tin Yau So at the New England School of Acupuncture in 1980. He left New England in 1983 to study Chinese language in Taiwan and apprenticed with Chinese herbalist Xu Fu-Su for several years. Later he studied internal medicine and gynaecology at the Xiamen Hospital of Chinese medicine. While there, he also specialized in the study of acupuncture with Dr. Shi Neng-Yun and dermatology with Dr. Zhang Guang-Cai. Andy also studied the treatment of sports injuries and trauma with Zhou Shen in Hong Kong in the late 1980s.

Andy is the founding owner of Spring Wind Herbs in San Leandro, California and has authored, translated, or co-translated several books on Chinese medicine and published numerous insightful articles on Chinese medicinal substances. Over the years Andy has accumulated a wealth of knowledge in the quality discernment, identification and clinical application of Chinese herbs.

Publications that Andy has authored, translated or co-translated include:

Notes from South Mountain, Thin Moon Publishing
The Clinical Experience of Dr. Shi Neng-Yun, Thin Moon Publishing
A Walk Along the River, Eastland Press
A Walk Along the River II, Eastland Press
Formulas and Strategies (Second Edition), Eastland Press
Fundamentals of Chinese Medicine, Paradigm Publications
Fundamentals of Chinese Acupuncture, Paradigm Publications
Grasping the Wind, Paradigm Publications
Handbook of Formulas in Chinese Medicine, Eastland Press
Ten Lectures on the Use of Medicinals, Paradigm Publications

For more information, visit

3 CPD points


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