Oriental Medicine and Health Services


About ‘Single’ Herbs

The Qi of Herbs

  • Hot, cold, warm, cool, and neutral
  • Slightly cold and slightly warm
  • Thick and thin (heavy and light)
  • Aromatic
    • Penetrates turbidity
    • Awakens digestion
    • Awakens cognition

The Taste of Herbs

  • Acrid disperses, moves
  • Sweet supplements, harmonizes, moistens
  • Bitter drains, dries
  • Sour prevents or reverses fluid or qi leakage
  • Salty purges, softens
  • Astringent prevents fluid leakage
  • Bland leaches out dampness, promotes urination

Other Classifications

  • Herbs are said to enter specific channels
  • Some herbs guide to certain parts of the body
  • Herbs have associated actions, functions, and indications

A typical entry…

  • Ren Shen Radix Ginseng
  • Properties: sweet, slightly bitter, slightly warm
  • Channels: lung, spleen
  • Dose: 1-9g
    • In cases of hemorrhagic shock, up to 30g may be used
  • Actions and Indications
    • Strongly tonifies basal qi: for extreme collapse of qi or abandoned conditions with shallow breathing, shortness of breath, cold limbs, profuse sweating, and a minute or weak pulse
    • Tonifies the Lung and augments qi: for wheezing, shortness of breath, and labored breathing with exertion
    • Strengthens the Spleen and tonifies the Stomach: for lethargy, lack of appetite, chest and abdominal distention, and chronic diarrhea
    • Generates fluids and stops thirst: for wasting and thirsting disorder, as well as in cases when the qi and fluids have been injured by high fever and profuse sweating
    • Benefits the Heart qi and calms the spirit: for palpitations with anxiety, insomnia, forgetfulness, and restlessness
  • Cautions and Contraindications
    • Contraindicated in cases of yin deficiency with heat sign, heat excess, or without qi deficiency
    • Contraindicated in hypertensive patients with ascendant Liver yang and in cases of very high blood pressure
    • Overdose can lead to headache, insomnia, palpitations, and a rise in blood pressure