I will not claim that it is absolutely necessary to use dit da jow when training. When used as a part of the routines outlined on this site, dit da jow does not play a direct role in the strengthening process. Its purpose is to discourage the development of accumulative, chronic injuries.
Dit da jow is meant to speed the body’s natural healing processes so they can keep pace with the rate of stress applied. I cannot say it is absolutely necessary due to the fact that such herbal treatments are not clinically proven to work at all. Additionally, some people have sufficiently strong bodies so as to not require any aid in recovery time.
Even without dit da jow, a practitioner may develop very strong hands as long as he manages to complete the initial regimen.
Dit da jow translates to ‘iron-hit-wine’ or ‘fall-hit-wine.’ It is the generic name for any alcohol-based, herbal liniment indicated for treatment of injuries resulting from trauma. Particular recipes vary depending on any number of factors, including personal preference, availability of ingredients, the specific injury to be treated, etc.
An ideal training dit da jow works on several levels. It should address both the bones and soft tissues. A balanced formula promotes circulation and treats pain, bruising, swelling, and muscle spasms. Circulation speeds healing and prevents stagnation. This is especially important for the extremities since they have a naturally weaker blood flow than other, more vital areas of the body.
While dit da jow is useful in treating acute injuries after the fact, its most significant application is as a preventive measure throughout the training process. The increased circulation allows the body to heal minor damage as it occurs.
In my personal experience, I find that training with an inadequate dit da jow, or none at all, eventually results in persistent swelling and stiffness of the fingers. There is also a greater callousing and discoloring of the skin. These conditions remain until I either switch to an appropriate dit da jow or cease training entirely.
CHOOSING A DIT DA JOW
You must find a dit da jow that works well for you. A certain formula may not produce equal results from person to person. Just as there are individual preferences for over-the-counter medicines, a particular recipe may prove superior, depending on a practitioner’s personal physiology and training habits.
Different herbs and combinations of herbs will produce varying levels of success. It is advisable to experiment with a number of dit da jow formulas in order to find the one most effective for you.
Beyond this, there are several universal indicators for determining the quality of a dit da jow. These have to do with preparation rather than ingredients.
The base wine or liquor should have a very high alcohol content. 80 to 100 proof will suffice, but 120 proof is better. This provides a strong solvent for extracting the essence of the herbs and aids in the penetrating ability of the liniment. Formulas with high alcohol are more flammable, so due care should be taken.
A good dit da jow is often dark in color, indicating high potency, though certain quality formulas contain lighter colored herbs and will never attain a very dark color.
Herbs still present in the bottle proves the recipe has not been overly thinned and such a formula will continue to strengthen until the herbs are completely sapped. It is possible to have a potent dit da jow where the already exhausted herbs have been removed for convenience, but such a jow will not increase in strength.
Dit da jow should not be exposed to light or heat for extended periods, so ones stored in clear bottles are suspect. It should be stored in glass or some other inert container because other materials, such as plastics, may counteract the ingredients.
Also, consider that potency is only beneficial to a degree. There can be such a thing as over medicating, even with an herbal tincture. A jow employed in routine training need not be as strong as one applied to a severe injury. Certain formulas contain toxins and steroidal alkaloids that can be harmful in extreme doses. Exactly what constitutes an extreme dose depends on the particular ingredients.
Dit da jow, by definition, is alcohol based. This is superior to water or oil based ointments for training. Alcohol is excellent for extracting the useful elements of the herbs. It penetrates well and evaporates quickly to prevent dampness in the hands. In addition, alcohol has sterilizing properties to prevent growth of bacteria and mold. An oil-based ointment may have similar healing properties, but its greasy nature makes it inconvenient for training.
A sure method of quality control is to make your own dit da jow by soaking a pre-prepared herbal formula. Quality herb shops should be able to provide such packages upon request. This is a considerably more cost effective choice for extending training.
HOW TO APPLY DIT DA JOW
Ideally, you would actually submerge and soak your hands for ten to fifteen minutes both before and after training. This is impractical since it requires a large quantity of dit da jow. Also, this method may contaminate the unused portion, reducing its efficacy.
The usual method is to apply a small amount of jow to the palm and then rub the hands together (like washing your hands) to ensure thorough coverage. Continue this action until the jow evaporates, at which point, you may opt to repeat the procedure a few more times. Two or three such applications are sufficient for most circumstances. As little as one application may be enough for light training, and several may be needed to cope with significant stress or injury. A very stubborn injury benefits most from an actual soak.
Heating a dit da jow can adversely affect some of the ingredients, so this should be avoided unless the particular formula calls for it. Storing it at a cool temperature is the best when aging a liniment, but it should not be cold when you actually use it. Coldness counteracts the circulation-enhancing properties of the liniment. Training with excessively cold hands is both unpleasant and potentially injurious.
The jow should be allowed to remain on the hands for an hour, or longer, following training. Though some will remain absorbed in the skin, washing the hands shortly after training will reduce the effectiveness of the treatment. Additionally, you may consider applying dit da jow before going to sleep at night. This allows you to leave the liniment to work for many hours more than would be convenient during the day.
Be sure to thoroughly wash the hands before handling any food, since many dit da jow formulas contain toxic ingredients.