Mount Emei is one of the 5 sacred Buddhist mountains in China. It is nestled in southern Sichuan in the foothills of the Himalayas.
Anthony travelled there with teacher and friend Qi Gong master Liu to spend time with master Shi. Master Shi is a devout Buddhist who has gathered wild herbs from the national park and practised herbal medicine there for most of his life.
His house is now within the Mt Emei National Park but he has been granted special permission to stay by the government.
The herbs he gathers are unique, individual herbs taken from the wild rather than produced through modern agriculture. This way the herbs are believed to have greater energetic properties especially if they grow in such a natural place of great spiritual importance to the locals.
This was the way herbalists behaved in the Sichuan area for a millennium before the more modern agricultural approach to cultivating herbs.
Anthony was very lucky to spend so much time one on one with such great teachers and will always be grateful for their having shared their knowledge.
Included in the images is the view of looking down from the temple at the top of Mt Emei after many hours of intensely cold weather climbing with homemade metal spikes tied to the bottom of our shoes.
The house of Master Shi nestled into the surrounding forest at the base of Mt Emei.
A large He Shou Wu herb (Polygonum multiform) Master Shi had collected in the forest. He Shou Wu is a herb traditionally used to improve the appearance and growth of hair. It is a key ingredient in the White Lotus Hair Restoration Spray. This is a particularly large wild version. Herbs like this were traditionally more valuable if they resembled a person as this example does.
Master Liu is pictured with a huge Ganoderma (Ling Zhi) mushroom behind him. Ganoderma is famous throughout Asia and is more commonly known as the Rei Shi mushroom in Japan. The pattern the herb creates is found as a background pattern of many ancient pictures which is believed to demonstrate how important it was considered in ancient times.
It is a strong adaptogenic herb and a famous tonic in traditional medicine. The size of the Ling Zhi pictured is very rare and a single large example like the ones pictured can fetch several thousand US dollars. As you can see from the collection sitting casually on the drawers Master Shi was not in it for the money.
Kamila and Anthony travelled to Egypt to source new suppliers for the natural attar oil perfumes and aftershaves. These natural oils which form the active part of the synthetic perfume industry are best sourced in India or Egypt but the quality from Egypt is generally recognised as superior.
While there they travelled to Aswan on the Nile to see early images of cupping pictured on the ancient walls. Cupping is a popular therapy in Japan, Korea and China for both medical and cosmetic purposes. It has long been believed that the use goes all the way back to ancient Egypt in Africa also and the images carved into the wall seem to prove this.
White Lotus now supply a modern silicon version of these ancient cups to assist with cosmetic issues.
Anthony travelled overland into Tibet to study at the last remaining Tibetan medicine teaching hospital. Tibetan medicine is a mixture of Chinese medicine and Ayurvedic medicine from India. The herbs used are also a combination of wild locally grown herbs from the Tibetan plains and imported herbs from both countries.
People travel to this hospital from all over Tibet to receive treatments in this hospital. Despite the arrival of modern medicine herbal medicine is still preferred by many people.
During his travels here Anthony travelled to elevations of over 5,000 metres. Anthony benefitted from local herbal remedies which have long been used to prevent altitude sickness.
Some of the images include the full Moon setting over the plains at 4,500 metres elevation at dawn on New Year's Day.
A view from above of a courtyard connected to a temple. In these areas, pilgrims are still greeted and offered refreshments daily. Lhasa is considered a very spiritual place for Tibetan Buddhists and most try to make a pilgrimage here once in their life.
To do so is not easy. They must prostrate themselves the entire way. This is quite a severe practice where they must kneel and then lie all the way down face down on the ground. They then stand and step forward so that their feet are where their head was and repeat the process over and over again.
They repeat this over and over again for hundreds of miles. They wear homemade wooden knee pads and hand protectors. A single journey done this way can take several years.
A view of monks debating in the courtyard around the monastery. Every day in the afternoon the monks meet to debate. The topics of debate are pre-chosen and are usually about philosophical points related to the Buddhas teachings. It is believed this daily practice sharpens the mind.
The plains of Tibet at around 4,000 metres elevation. These plains are what have allowed the local Tibetans to raise the yaks which provide so much of the local meet and just as importantly Yak milk and butter.
Tibetan tea is a real experience. It is made using thick black fermented tea combined with incredibly rich yak butter and salt. It is wonderfully nutritious but very rich for the unfamiliar.
Anthony spent several weeks around and staying on Mount Qingcheng researching local herbal medicines. To Taoists like several of Anthony's teachers, sacred mountains like this are located on what they consider the earth’s acupuncture points making them powerful places to study meditation and Qi Gong.
As well as researching local herbal medicines Anthony was in the process of organising a syndicate to import locally grown organic herbal medicines back to Australia.
White Lotus is proud we still only use organic herbs and ingredients in our serums and sprays.
The images pictured include the path leading up to the main Taoist temple on Mount Qingcheng.
During Winter when Anthony visited Mount Qingcheng is almost deserted at night after the tourists leave and in the early morning mist you are lone there with the monks.
All building supplies are carried up the 1200 metres by hand. Despite the broken windows in the accommodation in the temple and the occasional snow falling on you during the night while you slept, when you saw how hard it was to get supplies up the mountain you became very grateful for the roof over your head.
A field of organic Coptis Root (Coptis Rhizomeor, Huang Lian) clinging desperately to the mountainside. These organic herbs are being cultivated in the traditional method on the mountains surrounding Mount Qingcheng.
A close up of the organic Coptis root which is used extensively to reduce inflammation internally and reduce redness and inflammation of the skin. White Lotus employed this herb extensively in the early clinic to reduce inflammation in the skin.
Good friends and guides who have been supporting the local organic herbal markets - Thank you and well done.
Various Grades of pearls which are crushed and used now in both local and international Beauty creams and treatments. This was taken at one of the local herbal medicine markets which can stretch for several blocks.
Anthony and Kamila travelled to Malaysia to study with a teacher of traditional medical face reading. Medical face reading was used extensively as a method of diagnosis in Ancient China. Different marks, lines and blemishes give indications of the health of the internal organs and can help early intervention to avoid illness.
Once the signs are identified and a diagnosis made treatment can take place in 2 ways. Firstly by treating the internal problems directly with herbs and acupuncture. Secondly by working directly on the lines and blemishes with massage and acupuncture. Traditionally removing or reducing these blemishes was used as a direct treatment for the underlying health.
Learning these ancient techniques can benefit anyone working in the cosmetic industry who wants to better make the holistic connection between health and beauty.
This practise is no longer popular in China so you have to travel to other well established Chinese communities in places like Singapore and Malaysia to find genuine teachers.
This study later lead to the development of the White Lotus online face reading course.
While in Malaysia Anthony and Kamila spent time in the countryside researching tea production. White Lotus has long sold white and green teas for internal health and many of the White Lotus serums are based on nourishing green tea oil produced from the Camellia sinensis plants pictured.
Some of the images include an image of a local White Lotus flower. The Lotus has always captured the attention of spiritual groups from Egypt to Asia. Its ability to grow in swamplands and produce such beauty and then be reborn easily captures the imagination and creates a powerful metaphor. These images formed part of the inspiration for the White Lotus Logo still used by the company today and this photo was immortalised in oils by a talented local artist and hung in the foyer of the first White Lotus clinic.
The local fermented teas are stored for several years before being sold. The blocks of fermented tea are a way of storing money for many locals. In the same way, an investor in the West may store fine wines as a store of value for the future families in parts of Malaysia and elsewhere in Asia will store many of these teas in their cellars for sale later at a higher price. Anthony and Kamila with several thousand dollars worths of savings.