Chinese Medicinal Herbs



Chinese medicinal herbs are used in Traditional Chinese Medicine as the main means to prevent and treat disease and maintain health.

Chinese medicine herbs can prevent and treat disease by their various internal natures of herbs. The properties and actions of Chinese medicine herbs refer to their natures and effects relating to treatments. The occurrence and development of diseases are caused by pathogenic factors acting on human body, and result in pathologic phenomena such as imbalance between yin,  yang, mutual growth, reduction between pathogenic factors, healthy qi, and the disorder of zang and fu organs. The principle of treating disease with Chinese Medicinal herbs is to eliminate causes of disease, dispel pathogenic factors and to restore the coordination of the function of zang and fu organs so that excess or deficiency of yin and yang can be corrected and the disease can be cured. The properties and actions of Chinese medicinal herb are the essential basis of the analyses and clinical usage of Chinese medicinal herbs. They are summarized in medical practice and on the basis of the theories of yin yang, zangfu, meridians and therapeutic principles of traditional Chinese medicine etc…

The theory of their properties is mainly summarized as the four natures and five flavors, floating and sinking and meridian tropism

Four natures and five flavors

Four properties of Chinese medicinal herb, cold hot, warm and cool, are also called the four natures of TCM. Cold cool and warm hot are different categories of natures, cold-cool belongs to yin, and warm-hot belongs to yang. Cold and cool or hot and warm are only different by their variance in degrees. Chinese medicinal herbs with cold-cool natures can purge “fire” and eliminate toxic material; they are used to treat heat–syndromes. Chinese medicinal herbs with warm-hot nature can expel cold and restore yang, and can be used to treat cold syndromes. In addition, there are also Chinese medicinal herbs know as neutral whose cold or hot natures are relatively mild. The four natures- cold, hot, warm, and cool are summarized by the body’s response after Chinese medicinal herbs are taken, which are also defined in relation to the properties, cold or heat of the disease treated.

Treating disease with Chinese medicinal herb is to utilize their old or hot natures to recalibrate the overabundance or deficiency of heat or cold in the body. In respect to syndrome differentiation, one must distinguish heat or cold nature of disease and have a well understanding of the cold and hot property of Chinese medicinal herbs, and then selectively apply corresponding medicinal herbs so that you can achieve the desired results.

The five flavors of Chinese medicinal herbs refer to the five different tastes: pungent, sweet, sour, bitter and salty. These flavors are summarized by clinical trials of Chinese medicinal herbsand sometimes correspond to the flavor tasted by the tongue. Chinese medicinal herbs with similar flavor possess similar effects while the different flavors show different similar in treatment.


Lifting, lowering, floating and sinking

Lifting, lowering, floating and sinking refer to four different directions of motions that Chinese medicinal herbs have in the human body. Varying disease often appears to bear a tendency of motion that move upward, downward, towards the exterior or the interior. And for the state of a disease, they are distinguished into those due to adverse ascending of pathogenic factors and those due to invasion of pathogenic factors sinking deeply into the interior and lowering down to the lower energizer. Corresponding to the above, the directions of actions of medicinal herbs on human body also have the lifting, lowering, floating and sinking distinction. While treating a disease, according to its different causes, a doctor should select corresponding medicnal herbs and makes the best of their lifting, lowering floating or sinking actions to help dispel pathogenic factors correct the disorder of the body function and restore them to the normal.

Meridian tropism

Meridian tropism refers to that medicinal herbs may often produce their therapeutic effect on some portion of a human body in preference, in other words, their therapeutic action is mainly related to some viscus of channel or some channels in predominance but it may seem to produce fewer effects on or seem not related to the other viscera and channels. Meridian tropism takes the theory of viscera and meridians, and the indication of syndromes as a basis.
Compatibility of Chinese Medicinal Herbs

Compatibility of Chinese medicinal herbs refers to the combination of more than two herbs with purpose in the light of clinical requirement and medicinal properties and actions. It is the main method of medicinal application in clinic and also the basis of making up formulae of Chinese medicinal herbs.

During clinical practice, we only use a single to treat a disorder and fulfill its therapeutic purpose if the case condition is simple and light. But on occasions when a disease is accompanied by other diseases or it is due to invasion of both superficies and interior by pathogenic factors or asthenic syndrome is complicated with sthenic syndrome, or cold syndrome accompanied by heat syndrome alternatively, a single formula can fail to achieve desired effects. Therefore several Chinese medicinal herbs must be used in combination according to their specific properties so as to extend the circulation of their treatment.

Dosage and Administration

The amount of medicinal herb to be taken is called dosage, which signifies the daily amount of one particular herb by adults and the comparative measure of medicinal herbs in the same prescription. Regarding administrating the proper dosage for a patient, the doctor must take in account of the property of medicinal herbs, the condition of illness of the patients, as well as the patient’s physique and age. The common administration of Chinese Medicinal herbs may be oral, external or local. Forms of decoction, pills, powder, soft extract and wine etc… are prepared for oral use, while application of moxibustion, pigmentum lotion, laryngeal insufflations of medicinal power, eye drops, thermotherapy, and supposition etc… are used externally.  Whereas the form of decoction is still most widely used at present, which are generally prepared by patients, Therefore doctors should tell their patients or patient’s relatives how to decoct medicinal herbs in order to ensure achieving desired effects in clinical application of medicinal herb.


Methods of Ingestion

Generally speaking, decoction should be taken warm. Chinese medicinal herbs may be decocted twice, and the decocted juice is mixed together and divided into two parts for daily use. An acute case should take two doses a day or even three does at an interval of every four hours. A chronic patient may take a dose every one to two days.  Pills or powder may be taken with warm water. Chinese medicinal herbs that are warm in nature should be taken in cold and vice versa. As for the time of taking medicine, tonics should be taken before meals and calming herbs should be taken before sleeping. A patient with an acute disease may take medicine as soon as the disease attacks without the limits of time

Herbs are often prescribed in standardized formulas. However, through analysis of ancient texts, Dr. Liu discovered additional formulas that provide further divisions of the standardized formulas, providing a more specific formula for you.