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What is Chinese Herbal Medicine? What is it used for?

Updated: Nov 28, 2023

In this blog post, we will explore what Chinese herbal medicine is, what it is used for, how it can help patients, and who can benefit from it. We will also discuss the different ways in which herbs are taken, including raw herbs, granules, and pao zhi.

Hinchinbrook in Liverpool Chinese Herbal Medicine

Chinese herbal medicine- what is it?

Chinese Herbal Medicine is a part of Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM), a system of medicine that takes into account the individual's overall health and well-being. It is based on the concept of Qi , which is the vital energy that flows through the body. According to TCM, when Qi is blocked or imbalanced, it can lead to illness and disease. Chinese herbal medicine aims to restore balance and promote the free flow of Qi.

What can it treat?

Chinese herbal medicine is used to treat a wide range of health conditions, including digestive disorders, respiratory problems, hormonal imbalances, and musculoskeletal issues. It can also be used to support the immune system, boost energy levels, and improve overall well-being. Chinese herbal medicine is often used in conjunction with other TCM therapies, such as acupuncture and dietary therapy, to provide a comprehensive approach to healing.

One of the key benefits of Chinese herbal medicine is its ability to address the root cause of an illness or imbalance, rather than just treating the symptoms. This wholistic approach can lead to long-lasting results and improved overall health. Chinese herbal medicine is also known for its gentle and natural healing properties, which can be particularly beneficial for individuals who prefer a more holistic approach to healthcare.

Who can it help?

Chinese herbal medicine can help a wide range of patients, from children to the elderly. It is particularly effective for chronic conditions that may not respond well to conventional medicine. Chinese herbs can be tailored to suit the individual's specific needs and constitution, making it a highly personalized form of medicine. Chinese herbal medicine can also be used to support conventional medical treatments and help manage side effects.

Herbs in Chinese herbal medicine can be taken in various forms, depending on the preference and condition of the patient. The most common forms include raw herbs, granules, and pao zhi.

Raw herbs

Raw herbs are the most traditional form of Chinese herbal medicine.

Liverpool Chinese Herbal Medicine in Liverpool  showing raw herbs

They are made from dried plant parts, such as roots, bark, leaves, and flowers. Raw herbs are typically boiled to extract their active ingredients, creating a potent herbal decoction. This decoction can then be consumed as a tea or used externally as a wash or compress.


Granules are a more modern form of Chinese herbal medicine.

Chinese herbal medicine granules

They are made by extracting the active ingredients from raw herbs and then drying them into a powder. This powder can be dissolved in hot water and consumed as a tea. Granules are convenient and easy to use, making them a popular choice for patients who are unable to prepare raw herbs.

Pao Zhi

Pao zhi is a unique processing method used in Chinese herbal medicine.

Pao Zhi. Chinese Herbal Medicine preparation in liverpool local government area

It involves treating raw herbs to enhance their therapeutic properties or reduce their toxicity. Pao zhi can involve processes such as steaming, roasting, or fermenting the herbs. These processed herbs can then be used in the same way as raw herbs, either as a decoction or in granule form.

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1. "Traditional Chinese Medicine: In Depth." National Center for Complementary and Integrative Health, U.S. Department of Health and Human Services,

2. "Chinese Herbal Medicine." American Academy of Acupuncture and Oriental Medicine,

3. Chen, John K., et al. Chinese Medical Herbology and Pharmacology. Art of Medicine Press, 2004.

4. Xue, Charlie C.L., et al. Traditional Chinese Medicine Formula Study Guide. Singing Dragon, 2014.

5. Bensky, Dan, et al. Chinese Herbal Medicine: Materia Medica. Eastland Press, 2015.

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