Chinese Medicines Centre gets donation of rare Ai pian specimen
02 Oct 2015
The Bank of China (Hong Kong) Chinese Medicines Centre of the School of Chinese Medicine was delighted to receive a rare large specimen of the precious Chinese medicine Ai pian from the Tropical Crops Genetic Resources Institute of the Chinese Academy of Tropical Agricultural Sciences recently, expanding the Centre’s collection of exquisite articles. The natural Bing pian, weighing 902 grams and measuring 24.65 cm in length, 17.33 cm in width and 3 cm in thickness, is a rare treasure extracted from fresh leaves of Blumea balsamifera (L.) DC.
A subtype of the Chinese medicine Bing pian (Borneolum Syntheticum), Ai pian is acidic, bitter and has slightly cold properties. It is used for opening the orifices, enlivening the body, clearing heat and relieving pain. There are three types of Bing pian: Mei hua bing pian, Ai pian and Ji zhi bing pian (manufactured borneol). Nowadays, most of the Bing pian found in the market are Ji zhi bing pian as natural Bing pian and Ai pian are increasingly rare. Moreover, most of the products are fragments so it is extremely rare to find a large piece of the crystalline.
Through the stringent efforts of the School of Chinese Medicine and the tremendous support from the industry since its establishment in 2003, the Chinese Medicines Centre has increased the number of its exhibits from 3,000 to over 10,000. The priceless collection at the Centre includes, among others, the tallest wild Herba Cistanches in the world, a sculpture of the god of longevity made from 2,374 pieces of ginseng, and a giant cinnamon bark.