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Chinese Herbal Medicines
Food as Herbs, Health, and Medicine
Winter Volume: 2019 Issue: 26(4) page(s): 24
With no end to what one can
learn, the Chinese believe herbals
are great in tonic soups. Loved
and prescribed frequently, TCM
practitioners prescribe them for
specific reasons while ordinary
folk just like them to feel better.
Touted by some as cures, they are
popular, well-known, mentioned by
the Chinese for their general nature, know by name in
Chinese, some know them botanically too, and many
know what they are commonly prescribed for.
To help you do likewise, below we list the more popular
ones by their botanical names, their names in Chinese,
the natures Chinese ascribe to them, and the health
reasons TCM practitioners recommend them for. Do
enjoy reading and learning about them!
Chen Pi is tangerine peel, and the Chinese believe
it warm in nature and tasting bittersweet. They say it
improves digestion, regulates qi, improves the lungs,
and helps those with a low white blood count.
Codonopsis Pilosula, in Chinese is
called dang shen, and said to be warm in nature and
bittersweet. This perennial has lots of protein, glucose,
and B vitamins, regulates the stomach and spleen,
replenishes qi, improves lungs, and helps those with
leukopenia, their numbers white blood cell counts.
Folium Mori are leaves from mulberry trees.
Known as sang ye in Chinese, the white ones are
botanically known as Morum alba. They reduce flu
symptoms and fevers, bleeding too, cool blood, clear
swollen eyes and brighten eyesight, and they cleanse
Ganoderma Lucidum, in Chinese is ling
zhi. They are often sold dried and reddish-brown.
These mushrooms are neutral in nature and taste
bittersweet, are mostly seen big and hard, and are said
to be parasitic and in the Polyporacease family. They
grow at the roots of oak or broad-leaf trees, are rich
in water-soluble proteins, and Chinese believe them
nourishing, able to help digestion, cure insomnia, warm
the stomach, relieve pain, prevent cancer, and help the
elderly in many ways.
Gingko Biloba has many glycosides that
assist reducing food poisoning and decomposing many
toxins. However, to eat too many can lead to other
poisonings, so do consume only a few at a time, and
under the direction of a TCM professional when taking
Goji, also their name in Chinese, are small red
berries in the Solanaceae family. The Chinese say are
neutral in nature, and when dry can brown. Fresh
or dry, they are known for their very high Vitamin C
content, perhaps the highest among fruits, and once
were called wolfberries or medlar. TCM practitioners
tell us they reduce high blood sugar, improve eyesight,
and positively impact ones hemoglobin.
Grosvener Siritia is neutral in nature,
tastes sweet, yet said to be bittersweet. Called lou han
in Chinese, painfully thin people know they help them
by adding weight, and they are good for children who
need that, too. They also help reduce excess phlegm no
matter ones size.
Night-Blooming Cereus, Chinese call
ba wang hua. They say their nature is cool, their taste
bitter sweet, and that they expel dampness. They also
reduce effects of excess alcohol and tobacco intake,
relieve bad breath, ease constipation, reduce red eyes,
and alleviate dry throats.
Ligusticun Chuanxiong in English is
known as Sichuan lovage root. The Chinese call it chuan
xiong. They say its nature is warm and tastes savory. In
the Umbelliferae family, it roots underground and they
say it revitalizes blood, stops joint pain, expands blood
vessels, and relieves headaches and muscle soreness.
Radix Achyranthis is called nui xi in
Chinese. They believe it neutral in nature and tastes
bitter and sour. They say it expels heat, strengthens
muscles and bones, revitalizes blood, cures knee and
lumbar pain, and pain in the waist, too.
Radix Polygoni Multiflora is
warm in nature and tastes bittersweet. Chinese call it
he shou wu, and say it is rich in fat, starch, oil, and
sugar, and enhances liver and kidneys, improves
cholesterol and arteriosclerosis, and can darken the
color of their hair.
Yu Jiao is fish maw the Chinese say is warm in
nature and tastes bittersweet. The best, they say, are
from large croakers as they are rich in proteins and
vitamins, and they replenish blood.
Ziziphus Jujubai is the botanical name for
all dates. The Chinese call them zao, the red ones are
hong zao, black ones nan zao. They say their nature
is warm, somewhat bittersweet, and a mite sour, too.
Both are used to strengthen the spleen and stomach,
replenish blood, and reduce hemorrhoids.