Formula of TRT Products


 At that time, only pharmacies with great strength could adopt the business model of having store afront and workshop behind and the pharmacy workshop of TRT was famous for varieties of medicine and delicacy of production. Why did Yue Fengming build the pharmacy workshop? The advantage in this business model was that it could produce and market all by oneself and the production and marketing can timely communicate with each other to avoid overstocking and reduce the transportation cost. However, there were deeper reasons behind the adoption of this model by TRT.


In those years, Yue Xianyang made full use of the favorable conditions of the imperial hospital and explored and sorted out many ancient prescriptions, secret royal prescriptions, secret recipes handed down in the family and folk proved recipes. Although Yue Fengming had to read The Four Books and The Five Classics for the imperial examination, influenced by his father from a very young age, he also studied many books on prescriptions. Ever since he decided to devote to the medicinal cause of “serving the people and cultivating benevolence,” he focused more attention on the study of various medicinal classics, especially the prescriptions sorted out by his father. The later generations once commented him like this, “he traced the sources of ancient prescriptions all the way back, from different medical genres at the beginning of the Qing to the period of Qi Bo and the Yellow Emperor. For ancient prescriptions that remained useful, he always observed and studied them carefully, and prepared the medicines according to ancient ways and purchased any necessary materials at all costs…”


There were a total of 363 classic prescriptions sorted out by Yue Xianyang and Yue Fengming, including bezoar sedative pills, bezoar chest functioning pill, nujindan pill, zaizao pill, artery relieving pill, Suhexian Wan, zixue powder etc.


People have been saying “a good prescription is hard to come by” ever since the ancient times. Only with a prescription of high standard can you have good medicines. This is a principle understood by all CTM stores. Hence those big pharmacies marketing their own products all have their own collections of prescriptions called book of prescriptions, in which there were the recipes, proportion, processing method and technical requirement etc. As the saying goes, “laymen watch for fun while professionals look for the knack.” A professional can find out the strength and prospect of the store and whether there are any exclusive recipes. Thus the book of prescriptions is never shown to others.


After five years’ hardships in the research, Yue Fengming gathered and sorted out all the formulas and prescriptions mastered by generations of the Yues and wrote them into a book called Formula Recipes for Pills, Powders, Plasters and Small Pills from Yue’s Ancestors, which classifies medicines into pill, powder, ointment and small pill in detail and is convenient for reference. These medicines basically came from four sources: ancient prescriptions, royal esoteric recipes, secret recipes handed down in the family and folk proved recipes. To put these medicines into production, you must have your own workshop.


The production and sale of medicines at that time were in chaos. For the same name, there were different kinds of medicines and the same medicine had different names. In addition, one type of medicine may be produced by many different pharmaceutical factories. However, as there was no unified pharmacopeia, different factories adopted different raw materials to prepare in different ways, yielding different effects. Formula Recipes for Pills, Powders, Plasters, Oinments and Small Pills from Yue’s Ancestors recorded in detail the formula, specification, amount, proportion of coarse materials to refined materials and the requirement of preparation of each ingredient, cutting, roasting or frying of each type of medicine. It is indeed a classic in traditional Chinese medicine. To ensure the quality, TRT should also have its own workshops.


Building the pharmacy and workshop was difficult, and seeking for an effective recipe was much more difficult. However, the most difficult thing was how to ensure the good quality of TRT products. To this end, Yue Fengming worked out many strict rules.


First, he requested that the pharmaceutical workers should prepare medicines strictly according to the book of prescriptions, or “observing zhouhou, the Handbook of Prescriptions”. “Zhouhou” refers to the Handbook of Prescriptions written by Ge Hong in the Jin Dynasty. “Observing zhouhou” means you should prepare medicines by strictly observing the prescriptions and shall not revise at random.


For medicinal materials, he adhered to the idea of “using medicinal materials from place of origin and at proper time.” For example, you must use ginseng from Jilin and Chinese yam must be from Henan and Goji Berry must be produced in Ningxia.


The processing and preparation should also be meticulous and conscientious. TRT not only has absorbed the advantages of 17 Ways of Preparation of Medicines by Leigong and the three types of methods put forward by Chen Jiamo in the Ming Dynasty including preparation with water, preparation with fire and preparation with both water and fire, and it also has its own development and creations. For example, in the processing of bezoar chest functioning pill, you must remove the fibers of the rhizome of Chinese goldthread one by one. To produce the silk-cotton carbon needed in the preparation of ankun zanyu pills, you must buy high quality silk-cotton from the time-honored brand Qianxiangyi among the Eight-Xiangs and then forge with special technology.


One day, Yue Fengming came to the workshop for inspection. He immediately discovered that there was something wrong with the newly purchased root of herbaceous peony and asked, “Was this bought from Donghu of Zhejiang?”


The person in charge answered, “The root of herbaceous peony from Dongyang is too expensive this year. This was bought from other provinces with cheaper prices and is no less effective.”


“No. We must use the root of herbaceous peony from Dongyang.” said Yue Fengming. “You must ‘identify the place of origin’ of the raw materials. We won’t buy the ones from improper places. We just use the root of herbaceous peony from Dongyang. We TRT just pursue good quality and do not care the prices. Remember! This is called ‘no material shall be be reduced, no matter how much the cost is’.”


Several pharmaceutical workers were removing the cores of polygala root. Seeing Yue Fengming, one of them said, “As the saying goes, ‘even the immortal cannot find out the raw materials from the pill, powder, ointment and small pills’. In fact, people cannot tell at all if we do not remove the fibers of the rhizome of Chinese goldthread and we just use the silk cuttings in the silk-cotton. And it will not affect much the effectiveness of medicine. In particular, it wastes time and energy to remove the cores of polygala root. There are pharmacies that do not remove the cores and are still selling. And they’ve earned much more money than us!”


Hearing these words, Yue Fengming said in a firm voice, “The polygala root is used as medicine for its cold nature. But its cores are hot in nature; it will affect the effectiveness if it is not removed. To achieve full efficacy, TRT shall spare no manpower and materials; otherwise, we would fail God, our ancestors and our patients. This is called ‘no manpower shall be spared, no matter how complicated the procedures of pharmaceutical production are’.”


According to Yue Xianyang, “there is no reason for ancient proven prescriptions to be ineffective. If they could not cure diseases, it is because the way of preparation or the medicinal materials are not proper.” Going too far is as bad as not going far enough.


Yue Fengming also compiled the medicines made by TRT into Comprehensive Table of Contents of Pill, Powder, Ointment and Small Pills of TRT Used for Various Types of Diseases (shortened as Contents of Medicines of TRT) for wide distribution. This has not only brought convenience for customers but also prevented others from manufacturing and selling bogus drugs. Moreover, in this way, TRT can let the whole society get to know its products and thus gain the trust and supervision of the society. In the preface of Contents of Medicines of TRT, he wrote the words from the depth of his heart, “…The medicine and pharmacology can promote health and save people to the most extent.” “…even though we just inherit a little from our ancestors, we should serve the people in a conscientious and meticulous way,  strictly observe the prescriptions and identify the place of origin, and we should follow the principle that no manpower shall be spared, no matter how complicated the procedures of pharmaceutical production are, and that no material shall be reduced, no matter how much the cost is; in this way, we can challenge ghosts and gods and cure diseases, and will not be a disgrace to our ancestors.”


He further established the motto that we shall do things with our sincerity and trustworthiness even without supervision from others, because God sees.. Thus he requested the posterity of the Yues to be self-disciplined in order to guarantee the quality of the medicines.


These precious words tell us the secret for the perpetual development of TRT. In particular, the commandment that no manpower shall be spared, no matter how complicated the procedures of pharmaceutical production are, and that no material shall be reduced, no matter how much the cost is has become the golden standard followed by TRT.


Today when commenting on TRT, people are often moved by TRT’s commandant that no manpower shall be spared, no matter how complicated the procedures of pharmaceutical production are, and that no material shall be reduced, no matter how much the cost is, which was established by Yue Fengming. These words were quoted by many famous people when writing inscriptions for TRT. Xu Chengbei, a famous writer, once said, “Obviously, these words of Yue Wugang were voiced from the depth of his heart. And he stood on a very high footing. The purpose of running pharmacies is to cure the sickness and save patients. Besides, there is nothing else.” After comparing the business purposes of over 30 Chinese time-honored brands, he found that expect TRT, all other brands put seeking profits in the first place, and only TRT put quality and social benefits in the first place. So he commented like this: “most of the time-honored brands of later generations sell beautiful clothes and nice food. To make a living and earn profit are good purposes, but compared with the original intention of the Yues for establishing pharmacies, they would feel ashamed.”


This is indeed the superior point of TRT. It is precious spiritual heritage left by Yue Fengming to later generations, and it is also thought-provoking. Even at that time TRT put social responsibility at the top priority; how about today’s enterprises?


A high tree can attract the phoenix and deep water can have dragon hiding in it. Till the first year of the reign of Emperor Yongzheng (1723 A.D.), a great event happened and affected TRT for over two hundred years. For the Yues, is this misfortune or happiness? It is hard to tell in just a few words.