A Chinese herbs dictionary is a helpful reference to have when trying to determine which herbs to use. By checking the dictionary, you can quickly understand what ailment each herb is meant to treat and only buy the ones you need.
Chinese Herbs Dictionary
Herbs are traditionally categorized by "the four natures" which is how extreme the yin and yang are affected by the herb. The categories are namely cold, which is extreme yin, cool, warm and hot, which is extreme yang. Based on the ailment the person is suffering from, the herbalist will suggest an herb to bring the yin and yang back into balance.
The most popular Chinese herbs are:
Astragulus (Astragalus membranaceus) is an herb meant to protect the body from stress. It also has anti-inflammatory and antibacterial benefits and may be used to boost the immune system of patients taking chemotherapy or radiation.
Atractylodes (Atractylodes macrocephala) is an herb that is widely used in China and Japan as a remedy for nausea and diarrhea. It is often taken by expectant mothers to reduce the symptoms of morning sickness.
Bupleurum (Thorowax) is the main ingredient in a Chinese mixture known as Xiao Chai Hu Tang. Grown primarily in Asia, the bupleurum plant is stripped of its leaves and ground into a powder which is used in teas and supplements. The herb is used to aid liver function and may help reduce fever, indigestion, and hemorrhoids.
Cinnamon (Cinnamomum aromaticum) is a tree native to Asia which is grown and harvested for its bark. The bark is used in all types of cooking and is also cultivated for its medicinal properties. Cinnamon is used by diabetics to help reduce fasting blood glucose levels and may also help prevent the common cold.
Gold thread (Coptis chinensis) is a plant harvested specifically for its root. The herb is used as an antibacterial, anti fungal, anti-inflammatory, and antioxidant, and is a mild laxative.
Dang Gui (Angelica sinensis), also known as angelic root, is sold as either a powder or herbal tea and is used to cleanse the blood of toxins. Dang Gui is also used to treat anemia by stimulate blood flow. Women suffering from dysmenorrhea may also benefit from taking dang gui.
Ginger (Boesenbergia rotunda) is known as fingerroot because the plant's roots look like fingers. It is grown primarily in China and Southeast Asia and is used in a wide variety of Asian cooking. Ginger is mainly used as a digestive aid but can also reduce inflammation and fever.
Ginseng (Panax ginseng) is the most well known Chinese herb and is grown all over Asia. It is taken orally or consumed in herbal teas and helps reduce stress as well as sexual dysfunction. Ginseng is also used as a mild stimulant and is a main ingredient in many energy drinks.
Rehmannia (Rehmannia glutinosa) is an herb grown in Europe, North America and Asia. The herb contains several vitamins such as A, B, C, and D and is mainly used to treat anemia, constipation and vertigo.
Wolf berry (Lycium barbarum) is an herb grown almost exclusively in China and is cultivated for its fruit. The fruit is made into a juice that is thought to improve the symptoms of macular degeneration and glaucoma.
Where to Buy
Now that you have consulted your Chinese herbs dictionary, it is time to shop. Many online retailers sell a wide variety of herbs and often local health food or supplement retailers will also offer powder or tablet forms of the popular herbs. Some of the places to check out include: