Herb – Trip itineraries

Next herb trip:
2020, June 07 – 20, to northwest Sichuan
Register here

Here you can find information about all our travel-routes so far:

  1. Sichuan (central and northwest)
  2. Guangxi (south)
  3. Sichuan south + Yunnan north
  4. Inner Mongolia

1. SICHUAN (central and northwest)

Starting point is Chengdu, capital of Sichuan province in the southwest of China. Chengdu is famous for TCM Herbal medicine, partly because a very large number of medicinal plants are indigenous to the Sichuan area and have been cultivated there fur hundreds of years.

Accompagnied by chinese pharmacologists specializing in pharmacognosy (recognizing and analizing medicinal plants and their active compounds) we will visit several herb plantations in hills surrounding the city as well as later on during the roundtrip. There we will be able to talk to the growers directly and learn from them about different species, cultivation methods, cultivation difficulties and how they are dealt with.

Visits to the famous medicinal herb market of Chengdu as well as to the herbal botanical Garden of HuaXi medical school and to the TCM University Hospital are scheduled.

After some initial days in Chengdu, we will leave for a roundtrip of about 8-10 days into the high mountains of western sichuan. We are travelling in our private bus. Since Sichuan is about the size of France, there are long distances and many hours to drive on travelling days. We will travel over high mountain passes, through deep forests, across alpine meadows, grasslands and possibly even pass nearby glaciers. We will stay at 3-4 climatically and botanically different places, each for 1-3 days, from where we will undertake daily excursions, by bus and by foot. The areas we will travel and hike through are of an incredibly rich variety of (medicinal-)plants. The wild and rugged landscapes and the multiethnic cultural and religi ous traditions of these places are awesome and impressing.(The area is inhabited by the Qiang, Yi, Tibetan, Hui and other muslim as well as by the Han-chinese Nationalities)

Which plants we will see and how many of them, depends on the climate in the particular year, the weather and luck. Some of the plants we have allways seen sofar have been: Chuanxiong, Danshen, Dahuang, Houpo, Duzhong, Huanglian, Huangqi, Huangbai, Shaoyao, Chaihu, Qinjiao, Chuanmuxiang, Chuanniuxi to name just a few.

Basic knowledge of botanical classification is necessary in order to benefit from the explanations by our experts.
Our experts will show us the indigenous medicinal plants growing in the wild and discuss questions with us, helping us to deepen our knowledge about them.

2. GUANGXI (South)

Starting point is Nanning, capital of Autonomous Region of Zhuang Nationality Guangxi. Participants organize their own flight to Nanning airport, where they are met by the tour guide. Guangxi is located in the central south of China, bordering to the south chinese sea and to Vietnam. It is one of the areas with the greatest variety of medicinal plants in China. Just as in Sichuan, there are not only medicinal herbs of TCM but also herbs that are used in other medical traditions, in Guangxi these are the traditions of the Zhuang, as well as the Miao and Yao peoples. The first 3 days we will travel in and around Nanning, visiting the botanical garden of medicinal Herbs (number one in Asia) as well as the traditional research Center for TCM, the Clinic of the TCM University of Guangxi and the Clinic of traditional Zhuang Medicine. We will discuss differences between folk medicine, TCM and modern Medicine. Next we will travel through through a plain with mighty steep Karst rock mountains to  spend 2-3 days in a large nature reserve north of Nanning, where many medicinal plants can be seen in the wild . After a short return to Nanning we will go on a round trip for 4-5 days, first towards and along the Sea, then inland and back, where we will visit another nature reserve on the coast as well as several herb plantations. Beside the professional part, we will still put some time aside  to enjoy the beach and the water. Back in Nanning we will have 1-1 1/2 days time to visit the botanical herb Garden or the Clinic again or do other things. There will be discussions with chinese experts on current issues of TCM Herbalism like quality of herbs, paozhi/processing procedures etc(you can suggest themes that interest you when registering!).

We will see Cinnamon(!!!), Longans, Curcumas, Cardamons, Peppers, (just ot mention those with an english name), as well as Jixueteng/Spatholobium/Milletia, Danzhuye/Lopatherium, Jiaogulan/Gynostemma, Bajitian/Morinda, Yinyanghuo/Epimedium, Jinqiancao/Lysimachia, Gouteng/Uncaria, Banbianlian/Lobelia and many more. Chinese expert pharmacognosists will accompany us and answer our questions. A rudimentary knowledge of systematic botany (like: what is a family, what is  a species) is necessary to understand what the experts are talking about.

The weather in Guangxi in Spring is mild, 20-25 degrees Celsius, the best time of the year. The max. Altitude will be 1800 m. above sea level. People here eat rice and love rice noodles, rice dumplings, rice lasagne, rice knodels, all with wonderfull stuffings and side dishes. They are also very good at pickling things, a favored is pickled Mangoes and pineapple. For less experimental people these fruit and many more are available fresh as well!

3. SICHUAN (south) / YUNNAN (North)

Starting point is Chengdu, capital of Sichuan province in the southwest of China. Chengdu is famous for TCM Herbal medicine, partly because a very large number of medicinal plants are indigenous to the Sichuan area and have been cultivated there fur hundreds of years.Visits to the famous medicinal herb market of Chengdu as well as to the herbal botanical Garden of HuaXi medical school and to the TCM University Hospital are scheduled.

Accompagnied by chinese pharmacologists specializing in pharmacognosy (recognizing and analizing medicinal plants and their active compounds) we will visit several herb plantations in hills surrounding the city as well as later on during the roundtrip. There we will be able to talk to the growers directly and learn from them about different species, cultivation methods, cultivation difficulties and how they are dealt with.

We will leave Chengdu after a few daytrips into the surrounding areas, heading for the south, passing Leshan, Xichang, Panzhihua and into Yunnan, Zhaotong county and from there back via Yibin to Chengdu. Yunnan is one of the areas with the richest biodiversity in China. Even though we will only travel through the northernmost tip of it this time, we will allready be immmersed in a world of innumerable wonders. On this trip we will cross pretty much all the upper reaches of the Changjiang(Yangtze) River, pass through some of the largest bamboo forests, see beautiful lake landscapes and still enter wild mountains, though not as high as in the west of Sichuan(see Sichuan-trip below).

Which medicinal plants we will see in the wild depends -as usual- on the weather and the year. cultivated we can be sure to see most of the following herbs: Shi hu/ Dendrobium, Tian ma/Gastrodia, Fu ling/Poria, Lu hui/Aloe, Dan shen/Salvia miltt, Fu zi/Aconite (we will be there right around summer solctice, when it is mostly harvested), Bai shao/Paeonia, Chuan xiong/Ligusticum, Tian men dong/Asparagus chinensis, Yu jin/Curcuma, Wu zhu yu/Evodia, Zhi zi/Gardenia, Huang Lian/Coptis, Huang bai/Phellodendrum, Hou po/Magnolia off. and many more

Basic knowledge of botanical systematics is necessary but enough to understand the experts explanations about the plants.

Distances in Sichuan are vast(Sichuan is about as large as France), that is the reason why one trip can not take us to all of the Province. On this trip we will concentrate on southern Sichuan an the northernmost region of Yunnan. Here roads are generally in good condition, so we expect not  to waste too much time due to road problems.  We will stay at 3-5 different places, each for 1-3 days, from where we will undertake daily excursions, by bus and by foot.

These areas are the homeland of the Yi- Nationality, Zhaotong in Yunnan also of the Miao- Nationality. Our “red thread” will be the medicinal herbs, but we will also take some time to appreciate landscapes, encounter people  and their culture.

4. Inner Mongolia

This trip starts in Baotou, a metropolitan center in the center west of Inner Mongolia. Famous for its rare earth production (and the problems of pollution that come with it), few people know about this ares wealth in pristine mountains and medicinal herb ressources used by traditional mongolian as well as traditional chinese medicine. The area is in the process of transformation, starting to move away from polluting industries, moving towards ecologically, socially and economically sustainable development projects. We will travel under the immense mongolian skies, cross deserts, grasslands and green and blue mountains, looking for the many indigenous wild growing and cultivated herbs, amongst which are huang qi, chai hu, huang qin, gan cao, fang feng, rou cong rong, suo yang, gou qi zi (including hei gou qi zi), jie geng, qin jiao to name just a few. This trip gives you an insight in yet another, exciting and different region of China with its own distinct cultures. No worries, we will not be exposed to more pollution than in any other large chinese city, and as usual, we won’t stay in the cities for long anyhow.