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7 most commonly used herbs in Traditional Chinese Medicine

Chinese herbal medicine is a part of the relatively larger TCM (Traditional Chinese Medicine). It suggests using herbs, diet, cupping, acupuncture, and qigong to treat health-related and other psychological problems.  Chinese herbal medicine has quite a novel approach from the ideology of western medicine/health. Chinese herbal medicine is used to bring back the opposing sources’

Chinese herbal medicine is a part of the relatively larger TCM (Traditional Chinese Medicine).

It suggests using herbs, diet, cupping, acupuncture, and qigong to treat health-related and other psychological problems. 

Chinese herbal medicine has quite a novel approach from the ideology of western medicine/health.

Chinese herbal medicine is used to bring back the opposing sources’ energy balance- yin and yang.

It does this through several methods, including using food as healing tools for several harmful health problems. 

Chinese Herbal Development and Popularity

Herbal medicines have developed over thousands of years and are relatively popular in many countries worldwide.

It is also considered an alternative form of medicine, as it has excellent benefits. 

Some of the many benefits that Chinese herbal medicine have are that it protects not only your physical health, such as improving metabolism, immune system, and muscle strength.

But it also improves your mental health, as they release stress from your body through regulating the hormones that protect your brain. 

In modern times, herbal medicines are have become incredibly popular.

They have a considerable influence on medicine worldwide, as many studies show.

Chinese Treatments with Herbs

Chinese herbal products have been studied for several medical proboles throughout the world.

Research suggests that Chinese herbal medicine successfully treats a variety of disorders, particularly gastrointestinal and gynaecological disorders. 

Some conditions they are used for include stroke, cardiovascular disease, mental disorders, and respiratory diseases (such as bronchitis, flu, and the common cold).

 A survey showed that about one in five Americans use TCM. Some more commonly used herbs in traditional Chinese medicine are mentioned below. 

Common Herbs on TCM

As you can imagine with the vastness of Chinese herbal medicine treatment, there will be many herbs, plants, foods, and other methods and techniques to cure and prevent disease and illnesses.

However, some are more common than others.

Below is a list of & of the most common and well known Chinese herbs for treatment.

TCM and Ginger

Ginger has been used for over 200 years in traditional Chinese medicine as it works exceptionally well with digestion and prevents nausea, as recent modern studies suggest. 

In modern times it is regularly used for cooking such as foods, tea, and candies.

Along with that, it helps in blood circulation to the limbs, neutralises poisons in food, and helps with respiratory problems. 

Ginger also helps with chronic medical diseases such as high blood pressure, which is fast becoming common among the older and younger generations alike. 

Ginger has a long history of use in different traditional and alternative medicine.

This includes but is not limited to traditional Chinese medicine.

The unique fragrance and flavour of ginger come from its natural oils, of which gingerol is of foremost importance. 

The main bioactive compound in ginger handles much of ginger’s medicinal properties. 

Gingerol has powerful anti-inflammatory and antioxidant effects that are consistent with research. It helps reduce oxidative stress, which results from having an excess amount of free radicals within the body.

TCM and Aged Mandarin peel 

Aged Mandarin peel or dried tangerine peel has been used by herbalists as a part of traditional Chinese medicine for many centuries. 

Aged Mandarin peel is also known as Chen pi or Ju pi and is used for digestive and respiratory issues. 

It is rich in vitamin C, and a high level of antioxidants are found in the peel itself, which also prevents cellular damage.

It would also make your immune system healthy and more active because of its anti-microbial properties. 

It is also rich in vitamin A and protects from liver cancer if consumed in a juice form, as it has a dosage of beta-cryptoxanthin in a higher concentration. 

Mandarin peels are often used for cooking like tea or food to enhance the flavour of foods and liquids being consumed. 

The dried tangerine peel should be stored in an airtight container in a dry, dark place.

If it doesn’t come in contact with moisture and is otherwise kept in ideal conditions, the peel will last indefinitely.

Since dried tangerine peel is so shelf-friendly, there is no need to refrigerate or freeze it.

Dishes containing cooked peel should be stored as any other normal leftover is. 

TCM and Walnuts 

65% of walnuts by weight are fat.

And like most other nuts, most calories in walnuts come from its oil.

Despite being rich in fat and calories, studies show that walnuts don’t increase obesity risk when replacing other foods in your diet.

According to TCM, the shape of the walnut, also known as Hu Tao Ren in Chinese medicine, represents the brain and it has been long believed that walnuts improve memory and concentration of the human brain.

Walnuts are also rich in vitamin E and omega-3 fatty acids, which are great for the heart and provide energy to the kidneys, helping them filter blood more efficiently. 

The minerals and vitamins in Walnuts help lower the LDL level (bad cholesterol) in your blood and decrease the risk of plaque buildup in your blood vessels. 

It also promotes gut health, improves the digestive system, and is known for its anti-inflammatory properties. 

Some studies suggest that regular walnut consumption (walnut oil in particular) reduces the chance of getting colon cancer by almost 50%.

On top of all that, walnuts are considered a comfort snack in the winters, as according to TCM, it has an overall “warming effect” on your body.

Cinnamon in TCM

Cinnamon is one of the most ancient spices still commonly used by people. 

Chinese herbal medicine practitioners use two different cinnamon parts, the twigs (GUI Zhi) and the inner bark (Rou Gui). 

Cinnamon twigs can heal the stomach and kidneys of those who suffer from abdominal pains and fix their lack of appetite too. 

The high fibre and calcium in cinnamon significantly improve colon health, and its powerful antioxidants help regulate blood sugar levels. 

A lesser-known fact about cinnamon is that it contains minerals such as Iron and Magnesium. 

Modern studies also prove that cinnamon helps reduce allergic reactions by controlling histamine production. 

Cinnamon is usually mixed with other TCM herbs and is used in soothing teas. 

Mung beans in TCM

Mung beans have been used for thousands of years by herbalists to purify the body from deadly toxins.

It also helps with skin allergies and rashes and strengthening the stomach and liver, resulting in a strong and healthy immune system. 

Mung beans are not considered the most exciting food.

Still, if you can overcome the taste element, they have several health benefits, as it is packed with potassium, magnesium, folate, fibre, and vitamin B6 which promote digestion!

Chinese Liquorice root 

Liquorice is one of TCM’s oldest herbs and has been used by traditional healers for centuries.

It is used to control coughing and assist with digestive problems, such as acid reflux and upset stomach. 

Liquorice has a sweet taste, so it is used to soften the bitterness and harshness of other herbs in TCM herb tonic.

The conditions for which Licorice is used include depression, heartburn, flu, and many other health-related problems. 

And last but not least (in fact probably the most famous Chines herb) ……

Chinese Ginseng 

Perhaps the most popular herb in TCM is Ginseng, used as a traditional tonic in Korean, Chinese, and Japanese medical tonics.

Ginseng usage in TCM is being practised for over 2000 years and is useful to treat chronic diseases such as cancer, diabetes, immune disorders, and infectious diseases. 

The many benefits of Ginseng are it boosts the immune system and protects the heart.

Ginseng works wonders for the body, both inside and outside, it an anti-ageing for the skin and prevents ultraviolet damage.

It is a well-known herb for men health too!

Because of its appearance and shape the name translates to “human root”, however in TCM the shape represents its ability to cure many human diseases. 

Final Words

These are just a few famous and well used herbs in Chines medicine.

TCM has a wide spectrum of herbs, plants, foods etc. that it uses to cure people of minor and major illnesses.

Sources:
https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7019938/https://www.medicalnewstoday.com/articles/265990#benefits
Balch, Phyllis A. (2002). Prescription for Herbal Healing. Penguin. p. 47. ISBN 9780895298690.
https://herbpathy.com/Uses-and-Benefits-of-Tangerine-Peel-Dried-Cid8080
https://www.healthline.com/nutrition/foods/walnuts
https://www.webmd.com/food-recipes/walnuts-health-benefits#1
https://www.healthline.com/nutrition/10-proven-benefits-of-cinnamon
https://www.webmd.com/diet/supplement-guide-cinnamon#1
https://www.healthline.com/nutrition/mung-beans
https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6627095/
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