Atlanta Acupuncture Center

275 Carpenter Drive, Suite 200, Atlanta, GA. 30328

Tel: 404-250-9903; E-mail:

Li Hua, D. Ac. TCMD


Traditional Chinese Herbs


The long experience in the use of traditional Chinese herbs proves that they are highly effective and that most kinds have no toxicity and little or no side effects. They are also good for recuperation and building up resistance to diseases.

Traditional Chinese herbs continue to be widely used in China though

Western drugs were brought in over one hundred of year ago. In the 30 years and more since the founding of the People’s Republic, the varieties of traditional herbs in clinical practice have increased from 2,000 to 5,000. Over 90 percent of them are plants, including the roots, stems, leaves, flowers, fruits, barks or peels, while the rest are animal substances containing bodies, internal organs or shells, and minerals which are metals or ores. More than 800 national traditional Chinese pharmaceutical factories are now turning out over 2,000 kinds of herbal medicinal preparations of definite, standard composition.

Theoretically, traditional Chinese herbs have four properties, i.e. cold, hot, warm and cool, which are classified according to their therapeutic effects, and five tastes, namely, pungent, sweet, sour, bitter and salty. The tastes of drugs are different as are their properties. Besides, traditional Chinese herbs also have different functions - ascending and descending, floating and sinking, which refer to the directions of the action of herbs. The ascending and floating herbs have an upward and outward effect and are used for activating vitality, inducing sweat and dispelling cold, while the descending and sinking herbs, having a downward and inward effect, are used for tranquillizing causing contraction, relieving cough and so on. Traditional Chinese herbs have been also used to reach different meridians to balance different organs, tissues, muscles and tendons.

Traditional Chinese herbs are also unique in the methods of processing. They are handled and processed in different ways – including steaming, roasting, baking, annealing, rinsing, soaking and boiling – with different results. Take rhubarb for example, steaming it with wine may alleviate its purgative function and enhance its other functions. Charcoalized rhubarb can be used in cases of internal bleeding. Such complicated handling and processing also help to reduce or eliminate toxicity and side effects of many traditional herbs.

The combination of various ingredients in a prescription is very important in each compound prescription. A prescription can have two or three or as many as over a dozen ingredients. Prescriptions of different compositions and doses are used to treat different cases. For example, ephedra (prescription herb) can treat common colds if it is mixed with cinnamon stem, and can cure asthma if it is prepared with bitter almond and gypsum. Now many traditional Chinese herbs can be obtained in the form of tablets, capsules and injections instead of in bulk for home brewing as in the past.