Chinese Herbal Medicine (03:39)
TCM belongs in the natural medicine category. Chongyang are one of the three treatment pillars, and include plants and animals. Learn about Shen Nong's contribution to Chinese pharmaceutics, including the three herb grades.
Li Shizhen (02:03)
Early physicians tasted thousands of plant and animal substances to observe their effects. China's premier herbalist lived during the Ming Dynasty and spent his career writing the "Compendium of Materia Medica" containing 11,000 prescriptions for 1,892 herbs.
Herb Processing (Pao Zhi) (02:20)
Most materials are dried for preservation; some are steamed, boiled or have other substances added. This decreases toxicity, improves healing effects, and improves palatability.
Chinese Herbal Formulas (Fangji) (04:14)
TCM uses approximately 8,000 herbs; 700 contain animal parts. Ginseng is used in qi replenishment and ganoderma for fatigue. As in traditional Indian medicine, herbs are usually prescribed together in specific ratios according to physician style and patient need.
Four Energy Properties and Five Tastes (02:33)
Herbs are either yin or yang, and are classified as cold, cool, warm or hot. They can also be sweet, sour, pungent, salty, or bitter—referring more to their physical effect than to actual flavor.
Combining Chinese Herbs (01:26)
There are 10,000 herbal formulas comprising four to ten herbs to enhance curative herbal effects. Hear an example of the Decoction of Four Noble Drugs.
Individual Herb Decoctions (02:56)
Mixing formulas can be compared to organizing an army for battle; every component has a unique function. Learn about the roles of "monarch," "minister," "assistant," and "guide." Hear an example of the White Tiger Decoction.
Preparing Herbs (03:03)
Medicine is boiled for a minimum of thirty minutes; it is absorbed more quickly in liquid form. Modern pharmacies produce infusions, tablets, injections and powders for convenience. Hear a summary of Chinese herbal medicine.
Credits: Chinese Herbs and Herbal Prescriptions (00:25)
Credits: Chinese Herbs and Herbal Prescriptions
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