List of Chinese Herbs

A perfect list of Chinese herbs could be extremely helpful for herbalists since they have to study and master such a colossal database. You would know what I really mean if you know the fact that currently there are about 8 thousands kinds them, among 700 types in common use. The real challenge, however, is that there is no such a thing as a perfect Chinese herbs list out there. Although a herbs list in alphabetical order is really straightforward and handy, it is far, far from enough.

List of Chinese herbs categorized by traditional ways

Looking for the best way to sort out medicinal herbs has long been one of daunting tasks for all TCM practitioners. The methodology also changes according to the further knowledge gained along the way. In history there were a lot of valuable researches, which in the end came up with many famous books and guides on this subject. Among them, the following three are most popular.

In accordance with the degree of toxicity, The Shen Nong Ben Cao Jing (The Divine Farmer’s Materia Medica Classic) classified medical herbs into three basic grades – top, medium, and lower grades;

Ben Cao Jing Ji Zhu (Annotations on Materia Medica) divided natural herbs into six categories, namely stones and minerals, grasses, trees, fruits and vegetables, and grains, each then splitting into superior, middle, and lower grades as well. This is the exact beginning for categorizing TCM herbs by their natural attributes;

Absorbing the previous wisdom and contributions from previous scholars, Bencao Gangmu (Compendium of Materia Medica) becomes the most comprehensive one. In this one-thousand-eight-hundred-ninety-two-herb Chinese medical book, Li Shi Zhen altered and improved the old classification, which divided Chinese herbs into 16 categories, such as waters, fires, earth, stones and minerals, grasses, grains, vegetables, fruits, woods, wares, insects, fishes, shells, birds, animals, and humans. In addition, 60 subcategories were segmented as well by the zoology and properties of each category.

Chinese herb list classified by modern methods

Compared to traditional methods, modern classification evolves to keep up with the times. Currently a few popular ones are being used as follows.

Medicinal functions and benefits

This method encourages studying and researching the functions and uses of Traditional Chinese Medicine. The typical categories cover detoxifying herb, cooling herb, regulating-Qi herb, and activating-blood-and-dissolving-stasis herb, etc. For more information about this classification, please refer to the categories of Chinese herbal formulas.

Medicinal parts

This way facilitates studying and comparing external form and internal structure in different medicine, which is very useful for character and micrographic discrimination. The common categories include root, leaves, flowers, and skins, etc.

Active ingredient

This approach favors studying and researching the active ingredient and related chemical identification. Some examples are alkaloid, essential oil, and glycosides, etc.

Natural quality and family

First it is divided into botanical, animal, and mineral medicine, then categorized and ranked by genetic relationship, such as Ephedraceae, Magno liaceae, and Ranunculaceae, etc.

Diseases’ names and symptoms

What’s more, it is also a good try to organize them by names of diseases and their herbal remedies, for example, weight loss, acne, fertility, depression, and infertility, etc. And the details are as follows.

Alphabetical list of herbs categories by diseases’ names or symptoms

Abdominal pain and bloating
(1). Cold pathogen obstructing
(2). Deficient cold of spleen and stomach

Herbs for asthma
(1). Jamming lung heat
(2). Cold fluid retained in lung
(3). Turbid phlegm obstructing lung
(4). Dyspnea due to deficiency of lung and kidney

Herbs for bipolar disorder
(1). Depression due to stagnation of phlegm and Qi
(2). Manic due to phlegm fire flaring up

Bleeding from nose
(1). Heat pathogen invading lung
(2). Exuberance of stomach fire
(3). Liver fire flaring up

Bleeding gums treatment
(1). Exuberance of stomach fire
(2). Hyperactivity of fire due to yin deficiency

Herbs for bloating
(1). Qi stagnation in spleen and stomach
(2). Dampness stagnation injuring middle Jiao

Chest pain and shortness of breath
(1). Stagnation of liver Qi
(2). Stagnation of liver and stomach Qi
(3). Static blood blocking

Herbs for colds
(1). Exterior wind-cold
(2). Exterior wind-Heat
(3). Exterior summer dampness
(4). Exterior summer heat

Herbs for constipation
(1). Intestine dryness due to heat accumulation
(2). Depletion fluid causing intestine dryness
(3). Blood deficiency causing intestine dryness
(4). Intestine dryness due to Qi stagnation
(5). Yang deficiency causing coagulated cold

Constant diarrhea and chronic dysentery

Herbs for cough
(1). Cold-phlegm obstructing lung
(2). Damp-phlegm obstructing lung
(3). Heat-phlegm obstructing lung
(4). Dryness-phlegm obstructing lung

Coughing up mucus with blood
(1). Dryness-heat impairing lung
(2). Liver fire invading lung

Herbs for depression
(1). Stagnation of liver Qi
(2). Qi depression transforming into fire
(3). Blood deficiency in heart and liver

Herbs for diarrhea
(1). Summer-heat-dampness accumulated interior
(2). Retention of food in stomach
(3). Deficiency of spleen and stomach
(4). Yang deficiency of spleen and kidney

Dysentery treatment
(1). Accumulated dampness-heat
(2). Accumulated epidemic toxin

Herbs for edema
(1). Failure of lung Qi in dispersion and descending
(2). Deficient spleen causing excessive dampness
(3). Yang deficiency of spleen and kidney
(4). Dampness-heat obstructing

Herbs for fever
(1). Excessive heat of Qifen
(2). Excessive heat of Yingfen and Xuefen
(3). Pestilent toxicity inducing macula
(4). Dampness-heat and summer-heat
(5). Heat pathogen causing fever and bone steaming

Foot odor remedies
(1). Dampness-heat diffused downward
(2). Dampness-cold diffused downward

Heart palpitations treatment
(1). Qi deficiency in heart and gallbladder
(2). Deficiency in both heart and spleen
(3). Hyperactivity of fire due to deficiency of kidney Yin
(4). Devitalization of heart Yang
(5). Water pathogen insulting heart
(6). Heart blood obstructing

Hiccups treatment

Herbs for insomnia
(1). Liver Qi depression transforming into fire
(2). Phlegm-heat attacking internally
(3). Deficiency in both of heart and spleen
(4). Qi deficiency of heart and gallbladder
(5). Hyperactivity of fire due to deficiency of kidney yin

Jaundice disease
(1). Accumulated dampness-heat (yang jaundice)
(2). Accumulated dampness-cold (yin jaundice)

Lump in abdomen

Lump in throat feeling

Herbs for memory improvement
(1). Deficiency in both of heart and spleen
(2). Depletion of kidney essence

Herbs for muscle spasms
(1). Liver wind (excess)
(2). Liver wind (deficiency)

Herbs for nausea and vomiting
(1). Upper hyperactivity of liver yang
(2). Yin deficiency of liver and kidney
(3). Turbid phlegm obstructing in middle Jiao

Passing blood in stool
(1). Dampness-heat in large intestine
(2). Deficient cold of spleen and stomach

Recovering from a stroke
(1). Direct attack of meridians
(2). Direct attack of zang-fu viscera

Herbs for seizures
(1). Wind-phlegm blocking
(2). Phlegm-fire blocking orifices

Herbs for stomach
(1). Stomach pain
(2). Vomiting

Herbs for sweating
(1). Spontaneous sweating
(2). Sweating at night

TB treatment

Tetanus disease

Throwing up blood
(1). Excessive stomach heat
(2). Liver fire attacking stomach
(3). Qi failing to control blood and blood loss due to yang deficiency

Upper flank pain
(1). Stagnation of liver Qi
(2). Qi stagnation of liver and stomach
(3). Blood stasis obstructing

Herbs for vertigo
(1). upper hyperactivity of liver yang
(2). Yin deficiency of liver and kidney
(3). Turbid phlegm blocking in middle Jiao

Worms in humans
(1). Roundworm and pinworm
(2). Tapeworm
(3). Hookworms