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Chinese Herbal Medicine

Traditional Chinese medicine is rapidly advancing onto the world stage as a medicine that has endured through time and history to assuage the ills of humankind and assist in the prevention of further diseases and imbalances of health.

Chinese herbal medicine is notable for its sophistication in addressing clinical concerns while remedying an individual’s particular needs. Thousands of years old, the herbal medicine tradition remains a vibrant player in today’s health field.


6.Do the taste and the color of herbs influence their function?

6. What is the relationship between the taste of herbs and the internal organs, and what is the relationship between their color and the internal organs? What are the clinical applications?

 According to the Five Elements theory, the colors and tastes of herbs particularly influence certain internal organs and meridians. This relationship suggests a method of selecting herbs to treat disorders of certain internal organs and meridians. In clinical practice, the therapeutic effects will be better if the combinations of the taste and the color as well as the function of herbs are considered. Furthermore, in this way, the formula is smaller and more efficient because each herb has multiple functions.


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7. What are the tendencies of action of the herbs in the body and what are the applications?

The tendency of action of a substance refers to the direction of movement of that substance in the body (e.g. upwards, downwards, outwards or inwards). This feature of a herb depends on several of its properties.

First of all, the temperature and the taste of a herb determine its tendency. The warm, hot, pungent and aromatic herbs tend to move upwards and outwards; the cold, cool, bitter, bland and salty herbs tend to move downwards; the sour and astringent herbs move inwards and the sweet herbs stay in their original place.


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8. What are the specific functions of the specific parts of a plant?

The commonly used herbs are usually the roots, leaves, barks, stems, flowers, fruits and seeds of the plants. Sometimes, different parts of plants give specific functions to the herbs. In TCM theory, similes and allegories are used to explain the links between plants and the human body. The details are as follows.

• The peel of fruits and the bark of plants (in Chinese called ‘Pi’) enter the superficial layer of the human body. For instance, Chen Pi (Citri reticulatae pericarpium), Sheng Jiang Pi (Zingiberis rhizoma recens cortex), Da Fu Pi  (Arecae pericarpium), Fu Ling Pi (Poriae cocos cortex) and Sang Bai Pi (Mori cortex) can eliminate Dampness in the superficial layer of the body and treat edema.


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9. What are the proper dosages when prescribing herbs?

The exact dosage of each herb is usually given in textbooks of Chinese herbal medicine. Nowadays, herb weights are given in metric units (grams or milligrams) instead of in traditional Chinese weights (Liang, Qian and Fen). The dosage of a single herb mentioned in books is always the dosage for 1 day.


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10. What is the proper dosage for children?

Children have special physiological and pathological characteristics, which are quite different from those of adults. As their internal organs, muscles and bones are delicate and their physiological functions are not fully developed, children become ill more easily than adults, and diseases also develop quickly.


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