Chinese herbology is one of the more important modalities utilized in traditional Chinese medicine (TCM). Chinese herbology is based on traditional Chinese medicine theory. Chinese practitioner use rhizomes, roots, leaves, seeds, fruits, root barks and flowers from natural herbal plants to produce a special preparation for individual according to his/her health condition. Very often the practitioner prescribes a “Chinese herbal formula” which consists of many herbs, combined together in small concentrations, personalized towards the unique diagnosis of each patient. This method provides better results than taking a single herb. The herbs we commonly prescribe in the clinic are in a powder form and are mixed with hot water to make a tea; however, many other forms can be prescribed, including capsules, tablets, liquid, ointments or plaster. Chinese herbs are mainly natural plant based which has no side effects.
HISTORY OF CHINESE HERBOLOGY
Chinese herbs have been used for centuries. The first herbalist in Chinese tradition is Shennong, a mythical personage, who is said to have tasted hundreds of herbs and imparted his knowledge of medicinal and poisonous plants to farmers. The first Chinese manual on pharmacology, the ShennongBencao Jing (Shennong Emperor’s Classic of MateriaMedica), lists some 365 medicines of which 252 of them are herbs, and dates back somewhere in the 1st century C.E. Categorizing Chinese Herbs Chinese physicians used several different methods to classify traditional Chinese herbs: The Four Natures The Five Tastes The Meridians
THE FOUR NATURES
This pertains to the degree of yin and yang, namely cold (extreme yin), cool, warm and hot (extreme yang). The patient’s internal balance of yin and yang is taken into account when the herbs are selected. For example, medicinal herbs of “hot”, yang nature are used when the person is suffering from internal cold that requires to be purged, or when the patient has a general cold constituency. Sometimes an ingredient is added to offset the extreme effect of one herb.