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Chinese Herbology

Herbology is the Chinese art of combining medicinal herbs.

Herbology is traditionally one of the more important modalities utilized in traditional Chinese medicine (TCM). Each herbal medicine prescription is a cocktail of many herbs tailored to the individual patient. The practitioner usually designs a remedy using one or two main ingredients that target the illness. Then the practitioner adds many other ingredients to adjust the formula to the patient's yin/yang conditions. Sometimes, ingredients are added to cancel out any side-effects of the main ingredients. Some herbs require the use of other ingredients as catalyst or else the brew is ineffective. The latter steps require experience and knowledge, and make the difference between a seasoned, dedicated professional like Tatiana and a practitioner who just started practicing acupuncture as a side-business. Unlike Western medications, the balance and interaction of all the ingredients are considered more important than the effect of individual ingredients. A key to success in TCM is the treatment of each patient as an individual, something one always receives as a patient at Acupuncture for Family.


The 50 Fundamental Herbs

In Chinese herbology, there are 50 "fundamental herbs."[1] These include:

1. Agastache rugosa - huxiāng (藿香)

2. Alangium chinense - bā jiǎo fēng (八角枫)

3. Anemone or Pulsatilla chinensis - bi tu weng (白头翁)

4. Anisodus tanguticus - shān lang dng (山莨菪)

5. Ardisia japonica - zǐjīn ni (紫金牛)

6. Aster tataricus - zǐwǎn (紫菀)

7. Astragalus membranaceus - hungq (黄芪) or běiq (北芪)

8. Camellia sinensis - ch sh (茶树) or ch y (茶叶)

9. Cannabis sativa - d m (大麻)

10. Carthamus tinctorius - hng huā (红花)

11. Cinnamomum cassia - ru gi (肉桂)

12. Cissampelos pareira - x shēng tng (锡生藤) or (亞乎奴)

13. Coptis chinensis - duǎn hunglin (短萼黄连)

14. Corydalis ambigua - yn h suǒ (延胡索)

15. Croton tiglium - bā du (巴豆)

16. Daphne genkwa - yunhuā (芫花)

17. Datura metel - yng jīn huā (洋金花)

18. Datura tatula - zǐ huā mn tu lu (紫花曼陀萝)

19. Dendrobium nobile - sh h (石斛) or sh h ln (石斛兰)

20. Dichroa febrifuga - chngshān (常山)

21. Ephedra sinica - cǎo m hung (草麻黄)

22. Eucommia ulmoides - dzhng (杜仲)

23. Euphorbia pekinensis - djǐ (大戟)

24. Flueggea suffruticosa (formerly Securinega suffruticosa) - yī y qiū (一叶秋)

25. Forsythia suspensa - linqio (连翘)

26. Gentiana loureiroi - d dīng (地丁)

27. Gleditsia sinensis - zo ji (皂荚)

28. Glycyrrhiza uralensis - gāncǎo (甘草)

29. Hydnocarpus anthelmintica (syn. H. anthelminthicus) - d fēng zǐ (大风子)

30. Ilex purpurea - dōngqīng (冬青)

31. Leonurus japonicus - ymǔcǎo (益母草)

32. Ligusticum wallichii - chuānxiōng (川芎)

33. Lobelia chinensis - bn biān lin (半边莲)

34. Phellodendron amurense - hung bǎi (黄柏)

35. Platycladus orientalis (formerly Thuja orientalis) - cbǎi (侧柏)

36. Pseudolarix amabilis - jīn qin sōng (金钱松)

37. Psilopeganum sinense - shān m hung (山麻黄)

38. Pueraria lobata - g gēn (葛根)

39. Rauwolfia serpentina - (從蛇根木) or (印度蛇木)

40. Rehmannia glutinosa - dhung (地黄) or gān dhung (干地黄)

41. Rheum officinale - yo yng d hung (药用大黄)

42. Rhododendron tsinghaiense - Qīnghǎi djuān (青海杜鹃)

43. Saussurea costus - yn m xiāng (云木香)

44. Schisandra chinensis - wǔ wi zi (五味子)

45. Scutellaria baicalensis - hungqn (黄芩)

46. Stemona tuberosa - bǎi b (百部)

47. Stephania tetrandra - fng jǐ (防己)

48. Styphnolobium japonicum (formerly Sophora japonica) - hui (), hui sh (槐树), or hui huā (槐花)

49. Trichosanthes kirilowii - guālu (栝楼)

50. Wikstroemia indica - liǎo gē wng (了哥王)


Patent Chinese herbal formulas often conveniently come in the form of pills.

Just as prescriptions are crucial to Western medicine, so are Chinese herbal formulas to Traditional Chinese Medicine.