✵The TCM herbalism is also known as pharmaceutics of Traditional Chinese Medicine, or Chinese pharmaceutics, is the branch of health science dealing with the preparation, dispensing, and proper utilization of Chinese herbs. It is majorly composed of Introduction of Chinese Medicinals, Classification of Chinese Herbs, Formulas, and Patent medicines.
TCM Herbalism:Introduction of Medicinals.
Introduction: The TCM herbalism is also known as pharmaceutics of Traditional Chinese Medicine, or Chinese pharmaceutics, is the branch of health science dealing with the preparation, dispensing, and proper utilization of Chinese herbs. It is majorly composed of Introduction of Chinese Medicinals, Classification of Chinese Herbs, Formulas, and Patent medicines.
✵Chinese pharmaceutics: the branch of health science dealing with the preparation, dispensing, and proper utilization of chinese herbs.
✵Materia medica: traditional name for chinese herbalism or chinese pharmaceutics.
✵Chinese herbs: also known as chinese medicinals, usually referring to those recorded in chinese materia medica.
✵Medicinal herbs: also known as herbs, usually referring to those not recorded in chinese materia medica or only used in folk medicine. A clear-cut differentiation between medicinal herbs in folk medicine and regular traditional herbs is difficult to make, and so they are usually called chinese traditional and herbal medicine in combination.
✵Medicinal substance: also known as medicinal material, crude natural herbs for processing.
✵Processing of medicinal substances: crude medicinal substances are treated by cleansing, cutting, soaking, drying, calcining, baking, steaming, simmering, carbonizing, roasting, etc., for fulfilling the therapeutic, dispensing or manufacturing requirements and assuring the safety and efficacy of herbs.
✵Processing: treating of an individual herb or medicinal substance before its medical use.
✵Water processing: processing by utilizing water, including washing, bleaching, soaking, refining with water, etc.
✵Fire processing: processing by utilizing heat or fire, including stir-baking, baking, calcining,etc.
✵Water-fire processing: processing by utilizing water and heat or fire, including simmering, steaming, blanching, quenching, etc.
✵Wash: cleanse by immersing in or applying water.
✵Macerate: immerse herbs in water to soften them before peeling or cutting.
✵Elutriate: also known as refine with water, remove impurities from a powdered herb and at the same time obtain finer powder by mixing it with water in a tank and allowing the supernatant turbid fluid to settle in another tank, and then collecting the deposit.
✵Calcine: burn a herb on a fire to make it crispy.
✵Calcine and quench: calcine the herb until it is red-hot, and then dip it quickly into a specified liquid to make it crispy.
✵Carbonize: heat a vegetable herb in an air-tight container or by stir-baking it over a strong fire till its outer part is charred while its inner part becomes yellowish-brown, so that its original property is retained.
✵Bake: dry a medical substance over a slow fire.
✵Roast: (in hot ashes), bake a herb wrapped in wet paper or coated with dough in hot ashes till the paper or coat turns black.
✵Stir-bake: bake a herb in a pan, with constant stirring.
✵Stir-bake without adjuvant: bake a herb in a pan, with constant stirring and without adding any adjuvant.
✵Stir-bake with adjuvant: bakie a herb in a pan with constant stirring together with earth, bran, or rice as an adjuvant.
✵Stir-bake to just dry: bake a herb in a pan over a slow fire, with constant stirring, to make it dry.
✵Stir-bake to cracking: bake a herb(usually seeds) in a pan, with constant stirring, till it cracks.
✵Stir-bake to yellow: bake a herb in a pan, with constant stirring, till it turns yellow and gives off a scent.
✵Stir-bake to brown: bake a herb in a pan, with constant stirring, till it turns brown.
✵Stir-bake to charcoal: bake a herb in a pan, with constant stirring, till it partly turns to charcoal.
✵Stir-bake at a high temperature: prepare a herb by baking with stirring(usually together with hot sand) at a high temperature for a short while so as to reduce its violent action.
✵Stir-bake with fluid adjuvant: bake, with stirring, a herb together with wine, vinegar, salt water, honey, or ginger juice, until the latter is infiltrated into the herb.
✵Steam: prepare a herb or a herb thoroughly mixed with a fluid adjuvant by steaming in a suitable container.
✵Simmer in a both: put a herb and fluid adjuvant into an airtight container, and heat it in a water bath or with steam until the fluid adjuvant has been absorbed.
✵Stew: boil slowly and gently for concentration.
✵Boil: heat a herb together with water or fluid adjuvant.
✵Blanch: (in water),put certain seeds in boiling water, stir for a short time until the shrunken testa are extended, transfer the seeds to cold water and remove the testa.
✵Quench: cool a red-hot substance rapidly by placing it in water in order to make it crispy.
✵Burn with the original property retained: burn a vegetable herb till its outer part is charred while its inner part becomes yellowish-brown, so that its original property is retained.
✵Defat: remove fat or oil from herbs(such as croton seed) to reduce their toxicity.
✵Remove fire toxin: eliminate the irritating quality of a newly prepared plaster base by placing it in a shady and cool place or in water for a period of time before using it.
✵Make into frost: make the defatted herbs(usually seeds) into frost-like powder or re-crystallize the mineral substances into fine particles.
✵Taste or flavor of a herb: representing the basic action of a herb.
✵Property and flavor: the property and flavor of a herb that represent the main effects of the herb.
✵Herb properties: the basic properties of a herb, including its nature, taste, meridian tropism, acting direction, and toxicity.
✵Four properties: the basic properties of a herb, i.e., cold, hot, warm and cool, classified according to their therapeutic effects,e.g., herbs effective for treating heat syndromes being endowed with cold or cool property, while those effective for cold syndromes, with warm or hot property.
✵Four natures: the basic nature of herbs, same as the four properties.
✵Five tastes: also known as five flavors, the taste of a herb-pungent, sweet, sour, bitter or salty, and sometimes tasteless in addition, representing the basic action of the herb,e.g., most herbs with a dispersing action being pungent, astringents being sour, and tonics being sweet.
✵Meridian tropism: classification of herbs according to the meridian(s) on which their therapeutic action is manifested,e.g., Radix Platycodi, Flos Farfarae and Radix Asteris being grouped under the lung meridian owing to their antitussive effect in cases of lung diseases.
✵Ascending,Descending,Floating and Sinking: direction of the action of herbs. The ascending and floating herbs have an upward and outward effect, and are used for activating vitality, including sweating and dispelling cold, while the descending and sinking herbs, having a downward and inward effect, are used for tranquilizing, causing contraction, relieving cough, arresting emesis, and promoting diuresis or purgation.
✵Extremely poisonous,Moderately poisonous,Slightly poisonous and non-poisonous herbs: classification of herbs according to their toxicity.
✵Three grades of herbs: an ancient classification of herbs chiefly based on their toxicity.
✵High-grade herbs: a herb that is non-toxic, possesses a rejuvenating effect and can be taken frequently and for a long period of time without harm.
✵Medium-grade herbs: a herb that has no or only slight toxic effect and is effective for treating diseases or deficiency.
✵Low-grade herbs: a herb that is effective for expelling pathogens, but is toxic and should not be taken for a long period of time.
✵What the different tastes act on: an ancient hypothesis in Chinese pharmacology based upon the theory of the five elements that herbs of different tastes act on different viscera selectively.
✵Dosage: the measured quantity of a herb to be taken.
✵Preparation form: or dosage form, form of a prepared medicine.
✵Pill: a solid globular mass, coated or uncoated, made of finely powdered herbs with a suitable excipient or binder.
✵Watered pill: a small globular medicated mass, in which water is used as a binder.
✵Honeyed pill: a globular medicated mass, in which processed honey is used as a binder.
✵Pasted pill: a small globular medicated mass, in which rice-paste or flour-paste is used as a binder.
✵Concentrated pill: a small globular medicated mass, in which part of the herb is made into extract and used as a binder.
✵Minute pill: a very small globular medicated mass with a diameter less than 2.5 mm.
✵Powder: a medicated preparation in the form of discrete fine particles, for internal administration or topical application.
✵Gao: a general term for soft extract, ointment and adhesive plaster.
✵Soft extract: a medicated preparation for oral administration, usually made by concentrating a decoction to a syrupy consistency with the addition of sugar or honey.
✵Ointment: an ungent for application to the skin.
✵Cream: ointment with an emulsifying base.
✵Adhesive plaster: a medicated dressing that consists of a film(as of cloth or paper) spread with a medicated substance.
✵Pellet: a medicated dressing that consists of small particles, usually made from minerals by sublimation for topical application, but some also for internal administration.
✵Distillate: a liquid product of herbal medicine, usually aromatic, condensed from vapor during distillation.
✵Pastil: also known as lozenge, ingot-shaped tablet of medicine, prepared according to a specific method and used internally or externally.
✵Medicinal wine: wine or spirit in which medicinal ingredients have been steeped.
✵Decoction: a liquid medicine prepared by boiling the ingredients in water, and taken after the dregs are removed.
✵Cold decoction: decoction to be taken cold.
✵Medicinal slices: herbs in small pieces or slices, mostly after appropriate processing.
✵Medicinal powder: herbs made into powder.
✵Tea: medicinal tea, herbs in coarse powder from or made into small cakes, taken as tea after being infused with boiling water or boiled in water.
✵Leaven: powdered herbs mixed with wheat flour and beaten into cakes for fermentation, usually used as a stomachic.
✵Glue: solid lumps for internal administration after melting, prepared by extracting substance from animal skin, bone, shell or horn with water, concentrating the liquid to a thick gelatinoid consistency, drying and cutting into lumps.
✵Tablet: small, flattened pellet of compressed powdered medicine or extract of medicine with starch as a formative agent.
✵Granules: granules made of herb extract, usually with sugar as a corrigent, to be dissolved in boiling water before being taken.
✵Dissolve: dissolve a herb in water or a decoction before taking.
✵Melt: melt a herb(such as honey or ass-hide glue) in hot water or a decoction before taking.
✵Method of making a decoction: the usual process is to mix the ingredients with an adequate amount of water, boil them for a certain period of time and remove the dregs from the liquid before taking.
✵Slow fire: fire used for making decoctions which need a longer period of boiling, such as tonics.
✵Fierce fire: fire used for making decoctions which only allows a short period of boiling, such as pungent diaphoretics.
✵To be decocted first: while making a decoction, certain herbs(chiefly minerals and shells with active constituents difficult to be extracted) should be boiled before other ingredients are added.
✵To be decocted later: herbs with active constituents ready to diffuse or evaporate should be added when the decocting is nearly done.
✵To be decocted with wrapping: downy or powdered herbs or herbs containing much mucilage are usually wrapped with a piece of cloth or gauze when the decoction is made.
✵To be decocted separately: some expensive herbs, e.g., ginseng, should be decocted separately in order to avoid absorption of the extract by the dregs of other ingredients.
✵To be decocted alone: a synynony for to be decocted separately.
✵Method of taking medicines: including to be taken infused, after mixing, swallowed, taken with fluid, melted in mouth, etc...
✵To be taken infused: take medicine(usually aromatics or powders) after pouring hot water or hot decoction of other herbs over it, with stirring.
✵To be taken after mixing: take medicinal powder after mixing it with liquid such as a portion of hot decoction of other herbs, water, wine, etc.
✵To be swallowed:
✵To be taken with fluid: (pills or powder) to be swallowed together with warm water in most cases, dilute decoction of fresh ginger for warming herbs, mint solution for heat-clearing herbs, diluted salt water for tonics.
✵To be melted in the mouth: (pills or pastilles) to be melted in the mouth and then swallowed or spat out.
✵To be taken midway between meals: to be taken in the day time between breakfast and lunch, or between lunch and supper.
✵To be taken before bedtime: to be taken before sleep.
✵To be taken on an empty stomach: to be taken in the morning before breakfast.
✵To be taken in one single dose: to be taken in one time.
✵To be taken frequently: (decoction) to be taken in small portions at frequent interval.
✵To be taken warm: to be taken warmly.
✵To be taken hot: a decoction with herbs or ingredients hot in property for treating a cold syndrome may give better results if it is taken hot.
✵To be taken cold: a decoction with herbs or ingredients cold in nature for treating a heat syndrome may give better results if is taken cold.
✵Contraindications during pregnancy: herbs whose administration is prohibited during pregnancy.
✵Dietary prohibitions during medication: species of food that are not allowed to be taken during the herb treatment period.
✵Dietary prohibitions: abbreviation for dietary prohibitions during medication.
✵Food taboo: food prohibited from the patient's diet.
Theory of Chinese Medicine:the basics.
The Basics: The basics for the Theory of Chinese Medicine are briefly as:
✵Herbs bitter in taste act on the heart.
✵Herbs sour in taste act on the liver.
✵Herbs sweet in taste act on the spleen.
✵Herbs pungent in taste act on the lung.
✵Herbs salty in taste act on the kidney.
✵The pungent causes dispersion, the sour is astringent, the sweet has a moderating effect, the bitter makes firmness, and the salty softens hard masses.
✵Treat a heat syndrome with cold-propertied herbs, and the decoction should be taken warm.
✵Treat a cold syndrome with hot-propertied herbs, and the decoction should be taken cool.
✵Avoid using warm-propertied medicines in warm weather, hot-propertied medicines in hot weather, cool-propertied medicines in cool weather, and cold-propertied medicines in cold weather.
✵The selection of a herb with toxicity or without toxicity depends upon the case.
✵The administration of a herb with great toxicity should be ceased when the disease is 60% removed.
✵The administration of a herb with moderate toxicity should be ceased when the disease is 70% removed.
✵The administration of a herb with minimal toxicity should be ceased when the disease is 80% removed.
✵The administration of a herb without any toxicity should be ceased when the disease is 90% removed.
✵If there is enough reason, a toxic herb can also be used without harm.