herbsHerbology has been the primary form of Chinese Medicine since its inception over 2500 years ago. The Chinese Herbal Materia Medica lists over 10,000 herbs, however a list of the most commonly used herbs would be about 500. Many of these herbs like Peppermint (Bo He), Licorice (Gan Cao) are popular and native to the west. Many other herbs like Ginseng (Ren Shen), Go Ji Berries (Gou Qi Zi) and Angelica Root (Dang Gui) have gained recent popularity. Herbs are drugs. In most cases they are not as powerful as
pharmaceuticals, yet they do have active chemical ingredients, can cure illness and should be respected.

How they are Traditionally Categorized
Herbs are categorized by taste, temperature and affinity. Each category has its own sets of functions and characteristics.
Pungent; Generate sweat and allow movement of qi and blood
Sweet: Tonify, strengthen and harmonize
Sour: Atringes and consolidates
Bitter: Clears heat and dries
Salty: Softens masses and assists in purging
Cool, Cold, Warm, Hot, Neutral
This states which meridian is effected by the herb

Example: Ginseng (Ren Shen) – Slightly Warm, Sweet, Slightly Bitter, Enters Spleen and Lung Channel

How they are Administered
Herbs can be taken both internally and externally

They can be administered in plasters, balms and salves

Decoction / Teas: This is the most common and powerful way to take the herbs. A group of herbs are taken and boiled together in water for approximately 30 minutes. The herbs are then strained out and the liquid is drunk.

Powder: The herbs are processed into a freeze dried powder. A few grams of powder are than mixed with water

Patent Medicine: These are small buckshot like pills that are made in China

Pills: These are formulas made into a capsule or tablet either made in China or US