Divine Husbandman's Classic of the Materia Medica (Shen Nong Ben Cao Jing)
1st existing monograph dealing with the Materia Medica, Late Han Dynasty, Late 2nd century AD
Father of Chinese agriculture and medicine. He tasted 365 basic medical substances from animals, plants and minerals, and recorded their tastes, properties, toxicity and combination principles.
Grand Materia Medica (Ben Cao Gang Mu, by Li Shi Zhou)
Most complete materia medica of its time. 1596 AD. 1892 substances (374 new)
Western pharmaceutical medicine
The TCM system
The system of modern Western medicine
Newly Revised Materia Medica (Xin Xiu Ben Cao)
First official pharmacopoeia in the world, organized by the govt. Co-edited by Li Ji and Su Jing, 659 AD.
herbal or drug medicine
system of medicine
white or one (depends on tone)
What factors typically affect herb quality and effectiveness?
Origin (e.g. sunlight, climate, moisture, soil condition, fertilizer) and Harvest (e.g. season, time, method)
Mei Gui Hua
Rose bud, used for Qi stagnation
Generally speaking, what are the characteristics and actions of herbs considered in medical treatment?
Herbs' properties, actions of lifting, lowering, floating and singing, and channel tropism
Properties of Herbs
Four Qi (Energies) and Five Wei (Tastes)
hot, cold, warm, cool
acrid, sweet, bitter, salty and sour
Where do the Four Qi come from?
the therapeutic effect on the body and their different actions
Cold and cool herbs - actions
clear heat, purge fire, remove toxicity, nourish yin
Hot and warm herbs - actions
disperse cold, warm up the interior, support yang, treat collapse
Acrid (pungent) - actions
disperse and move
Acrid (pungent) - indications
Exterior conditions and qi & blood stagnation
Sweet - actions
tonify, harmonize, relieve spasms and pain, moisten
Sweet - indications
deficiency, dry cough, constipation, disharmony between spleen and stomach, various pains
Bitter - actions
drain and dry
Bitter - indications
pathogenic fire, cough with dyspnea, vomiting, constipation, dampness
Sour (astringent) - actions
prevent or reverse abnormal leakage of fluids and energy
Sour (astringent) - indications
sweating, chronic cough, chronic diarrhea, emission, spermatorrhea
Salty - actions
purge and soften
Salty - indications
dry stool, scrofula, goiter, abdominal mass
Bland (tasteless) - actions
leech out dampness and promote urination
Bland (tasteless) - indications
Directions of the herbs
Lifting, lowering, floating and sinking. Refers to upward, downward, outward, inward directions.
Lifting and floating - directions
upward and outward
Lifting and floating herbs - actions
support yang, dispel superficial wind and cold, induce vomiting, opening the orifices
Lifting and Floating herbs - properties
acrid, sweet, hot and warm; light herbs; process with wine or ginger.
Lifting and floating herbs - indications (examples)
chronic disorders, stroke, sinusitis
Lowering and sinking - directions
downward and inward
Lowering and sinking - actions
clearing heat, purgation, reducing, edema, removing dampness, anchoring the floating yang, descend rebellious qi to stop vomiting or relieve cough and asthma, remove stagnant food, calm the mind
Lowering and sinking - properties
bitter, sour, salty, cold, and cool; heavy herb; process with salt solution or vinegar.
the selective therapeutic effects on a certain channel or several channels with little effect on other channels
the capacity of certain herbs to lead or guide other herbs into a particular channel or Organ.
The aim of processing herbs (5)
1. to increase the efficacy of herbs,
2. to eliminate or reduce the toxicity, drastic actions and side effect of some herbs,
3. to change the characters and functions of herbs to meet therapeutic needs,
4. to facilitate decoction, preparation, and preservation
5. to get rid of mpurities, non-medicinal parts, and various bad tastes so as to make herbs clean, pure, and easy to be accepted.
Increase efficacy of herbs (examples)
1. Bai Zhu - stir-baked with earth to enhance effect of reinforcing the Spleen to stop diarrhea
2. Kuan Dong Hua and Zi Yuen - stir-baked with honey to enhance effect of nourishing the Lung to arrest cough
3. Xiang Fu - stir-baked with vinegar - to enhance efficacy of soothing the Liver
Eliminate or reduce toxicity, drastic actions and side effects of some herbs (examples)
1. Ban Xia with ginger removes its tongue-numbing side effects.
2. Toxicity of Chuan Wu, Cao Wu, and Tian Nan Xing can be lessened through processing.
To change the characters and functions of herbs to meet the therapeutic goals (examples)
1. Sheng Di Huang - cooling property clears heat from blood. When cooked in wine and dried, it becomes warm in property and can be used for tonifying blood.
2. He Sou Wu has laxative effect. After steamed, good for tonifying Liver and Kidney.
3. Da Huang strong purgative. After processing, its purgative power becomes mild. After carbonized, it has almost no purgative effect but is good for stopping bleeding.
seed shell (outer)
To facilitate decoction, preparation, and preservation (examples)
2. to decoct more conveniently
3. to easier extract their active principles
4. to easier grind and make them into different forms of medicine
5. After tempering in vinegar - mineral or shells are easier to be crushed
To get rid of impurities, non-medicinal parts, and various bad tastes so as to make herbs clean, pure, and easy to be accepted (examples)
1. Peel of some herbs should be scrubbed off
2. Heads, feet and wings of certain animal herb should be cut off
3. Fishy smell of some water products should be rinsed off.
Combination of herbs - 7 techniques
AECSAIS - mutual accentuation (xiang xu), enhancement (xiang shi), counteraction (xiang wei), suppression (xiang sha), antagonism (xiang wu), incompatiblity (xiang fan), single effect (dao xing)
("All Elephants Can Swing As I Sing")