The Huqingyu Tang Chinese Medicine Museum is the only Chinese herbal medicine museum in China housed in the ancient buildings of the famous Hangzhou Chinese herbal medicine shop. The exhibition halls introduce the origin, development, and application of traditional Chinese medicine and its role in the world history of medicine. Samples of the herbal plants and a hand- processing workshop are among the displays. The museum also includes a clinic and a restaurant for Chinese herbal medicine food.
Hu Qing Yu Tang Drugstore of traditional Chinese medicine is a courtyard style drugstore founded in the 14th year of Guangxu (1878) by Hu Xueyan, a Qing Dynasty merchant with an official title, and is a national key cultural relic protection site. Hu Qing Yu Tang Drugstore and Tong Ren Tang are deemed as two best-known traditional drugstores, the former in the South and the latter in the North. It displays and introduces renowned medical celebrities of different dynasties, the origin of medicine, the development of pharmaceutics, tools to make traditional Chinese medicine and nearly 10,000 samples of medicinal materials.
Covering an area of 2,700 square meters, the Hu Qing Yu Tang Museum of Traditional Chinese Medicines is a wood-structured architecture built in a Qing style. It is delicate and elegant, and it integrates practicality perfectly with artistry. Surrounded by a 12-meter high wall, the museum appears to be in the shape of a crane, a symbol in China which indicates longevity. There are also 7 large Chinese characters carved on the wall, which reads “Hu Qing Yu Hall National Medicine Brand”; each monster of a character takes up 20 square meters. Many precious ancient documents are preserved in the museum, including ones titled “Traditional Chinese Medicine Development History,” “Hu Qingyu Hall Development History,” and “Chinese Medicinal Material & Medical Samples.” In addition, many horizontal inscribed boards written by famous historical figures and calligraphic works written by famed modern figures can be seen, including the inscribed boards “Cheating Forbidden” and “Good Value for Money” by Hu Xueyan himself.
The museum is divided into 5 sections on the whole. The first section functions as an exhibition hall which mainly introduces famous pharmacists from different dynasties, the origin of medicaments, the development of medicaments, the connection between Chinese and western medicine, and the role of Zhejiang medicine in overall Chinese medicine. More than 10,000 specimens and objects of Chinese medicine have been carefully preserved in the hall, including plant, animal, and mineral specimens. The most famous of these are the horse bezoar (a clump or wad of swallowed food and/or hair), dog’s gallbladder, and calculus bovis (dried cattle gallstones). The second section serves as a traditional handmade workshop where visitors can watch the entire production process of Chinese medicine. They may also try their own hand at making medicine under the guidance of professional pharmacists. The third section functions as a health care hall. The fourth section functions as a food hall where visitors can taste medicinal food of different flavors known and believed to be great for the body. The fifth and final section of the Hu Qing Yu Tang Museum of Traditional Chinese Medicines serves as a business hall where people can purchase high-quality traditional Chinese medicines.
Huqingyutang was founded by Hu Xueyuan in 1878, and it pairs up with Beijing Tongrentang as the famous south and north ancient medicine shops of the nation. It still operates as such. Walk through the narrow corridor over the pond and into the doorway of the workshop, and you'll see a dozen or so people busily going drawer to drawer, grabbing roots, leaves, bark, etc., throwing them together, and packaging them to ship off somewhere. They are such pros that they don't even need to look at a recipe. Have a seat and soak in the action and the architecture. It isn't as elaborate at the villa because it was used for business, but it's still something special. You'll probably come across art students sketching away, trying to capture the essence Qing dynasty architecture. When you've had enough of this, head back into the museum -- China's first national museum of traditional Chinese medicine--and learn a little history. .