Chinese Herbal Remedies – Tonics

The wild tonic herbs found in the mountains were treasured by the emperors of china and they were thought to posses magical powers that brought immortality, martial artists back then thought that they gave them superior strength by which to beat their opponents and women among the royalty took them religiously to help them maintain beauty.

Chinese herbs have been widely used throughout the years for a diverse range of problems and medical conditions with one herb in particular being coveted more than most, Ginseng. Ginseng is perhaps the most illustrious of all tonics and is used throughout the world by people of all ages, unlike many medicinal herbal remedies that target specific illnesses the Chinese herbal tonic is used to enhance the overall general health and can be used on a regular basis.

The Chinese white Ginseng

The Chinese white Ginseng or Panax is the most well known of the Ginseng family and is the one which is used worldwide in tonics. Ginseng is known for its ability to increase the amount of overall energy with its properties enhancing both physical and mental performance particularly at times when we are under stress.

Ginseng is a root and the Panax root is also known for its ability to inhibit cancer cell growth and to help protect cells from oxidative damage. It will also help to alleviate problems brought about due to the menopause as it tones the hormonal system.

It has been used in china for many years treating people who are recovering from heart surgery and many years ago, it found fame as a tonic for men aiding with impotence and to increase low sperm count. Ginseng is rated alongside Ginkgo in popularity in the Chinese herbal remedies of today.

American Ginseng

American ginseng has all the benefits of Chinese but is also beneficial for strengthening the lungs and chest in cases of bronchitis and tuberculosis. It has a cooling effect on the body and is the form which is more widely used in remedies aimed specifically for woman when going through the menopause.

Siberian Ginseng

This root originates from Russia after the Russians sought a cheaper alternative to Ginseng, Russian cosmonauts have used this root to help them get through the rigorous training methods and Olympic athletes have taken advantage of its beneficial effects to help provide them with strength and endurance.


This is often referred to as the poor man’s Ginseng, its properties are very similar to the Chinese ginseng but the results are somewhat milder as it is less stimulating and therefore more suitable for everyday use. It can help to relive discomfort from indigestion, improve fatigue and also helps to lower high blood pressure.

How to prepare Ginseng root

Ginseng is normally taken as a tea or can be taken in pill or capsule forms, to prepare the tea just follow the simple directions outlined below:

* Use 2oz of root for every 4 cups of water.

* Bring the water to a boil with the root in it and simmer for around 1 hour or until 1 to 2 cups of water remain in the pan.

* Drink 1 cup of the warm tea before your meals, adding ginger powder if you wish.

* It is important that you boil the root in glass or enamel, don’t use a metal saucepan as metal will destroy the antioxidants.

Chinese Herbal Medicine

The Chinese have treated illness and diseases with a safe and reliable form of medicine for thousands of years, this is a system know as herbal medicine and the variety of conditions and illnesses it is thought to help are numerous. It is a totally holistic form of medicine which is safe for people of all ages and for most conditions, the practitioner will take into account any other treatment you are taking before prescribing the correct remedy and dosage for your needs.

What does herbal treatments consist of?

Herbal treatments are available in many different formats with the more popular ones being available as dried leafs or in bags for making tea, pills and capsules. You should however always buy your herbal medication from an herbalist to ensure that the correct treatment is taken and in the correct dosage.

Several herbal medications are now offered as tinctures or freeze dried powders with most of them tasting bitter at first to the person who hasn’t tried them before, it is not long though before the vast majority of people get used to their distinct taste.

As the remedies are tailored to suit a person’s particular needs there isn’t any set price for treatment although supermarkets do now sell some pre prepared herbal treatments for a set price. However, if you haven’t taken herbal treatments before you should always get advice from an herbalist before taking any over the counter remedies.

More and more health insurance companies are now including holistic forms of treatment in their cover so it is worth checking out your policy if you become ill and want to look into a holistic approach as either a supplement to traditional medication or an alternative.

Are herbs safe to take?

If the practitioner has been trained and has knowledge of the plants and herbs used in Chinese medicine and they prescribe the herbs, then they are usually quite safe to take. Chinese medicine has come a long way over the last few years with more and more people practicing it and practitioners now place great emphasis on the protection of the patient, with allergic reactions to the plants and herbs used in the medicine very rarely occurring in patients.

When advising treatment for a condition the herbalist will normally use a combination of herbs as different components found in different herbs, combine to balance each other. As the Chinese strongly believe that it is the disharmony of the Qi that is imbalanced in our body, treatments are usually given and diagnosed based on patterns and signs and symptoms that reflect an imbalance in the body’s energy flow.

During your first consultation with the Chinese herbalist, a full medical history will be taken and most will aid their diagnosis with a tongue examination. The Chinese believe that by looking at your tongue they can get a good idea of what underlying problems you might have that could be causing the depletion or blockage of Qi and therefore what’s causing your problem.

Buying Chinese Herbal Remedies

Although it is advisable if you haven’t taken Chinese herbal medication before to visit a practitioner who specialises in herbal remedies, there are hundreds of stores online and shops in the high street now selling traditional herbal remedies. Should you wish to try them yourself without the advice of an herbalist here is a guide to the various medications available which are made from herbs, flowers and plants and are used in traditional Chinese herbal medicine, and the illnesses and ailments they are said to help.

Pain relief remedies

Woodlock massage oil – Woodlock is used as an external analgesic for the relief of pain in joints, muscles and nerves and is especially helpful for pain relating to sprains and arthritis and is in the form of massage oil.

Red flower oil – this is used for many different types of pain ranging from a headache to pain in the joints and is in the form of massage oil.

Xiao Huo Luo Wan – this is usually in the form of an herbal pill and can be used for a wide variety of pain from pain in the muscles and bones to chronic arthritis and lumbago.

Cold and allergy remedies

Hay fever

Fang feng Xin Yi Wan – these are in herbal pill format and are especially helpful to those suffering from hay fever and the common cold, they also work to relieve sore throats, dry mouth, night sweats and reduce high blood pressure. The main ingredients used in this remedy are Folium mori, Flos magnoliae, Flos lonicerae, Flos chrysanthemi, Fructus xanthii, Spica prunellae and Radix saposhnikoviae.


Bi Yan Kan – these pills are especially helpful to those suffering from sinusitis and contain over 14 different herbs including Forsythiae Suspensae Fructus, Angelicae Radix, Gardeniae Jasminodis Fructus, Phellodendri Cortex and Rhizoma Notopterygli.


Qi Guan Yan Wan – these pills bring relief to those suffering from bronchitis and the main ingredients are Eriobotrya japonica leaf, Codonopsis pilosula root, Ziziphus jujuba fruit, Morus alba leaf, Zingiber officinale rhizome-fresh and the Prunes’ armeniaca seed.


Nin Jiom Pei Pa Koa – this is a traditional cough syrup that will relieve coughs due to colds and allergies and is made from Eriobotrya japonica, Taraxacum officinale, Euphorbia, Glycyrrhiza glabra, Citrum reticulata, Tussilago petasites and Senega.

Digestive problems


Jian Pi Wan – this can be taken either in liquid form or pills and is excellent for relieving trapped wind and aiding with digestion problems such as heartburn and indigestion and is made from Tang Shen root, Hawthorne berry fruit, Atractylodis root, Immature bitter orange fruit, Tangering peel and Germinated barley sprout.

Gastrointestinal problems

WeiTai – this is commonly given as a tea and relieves problems with the stomach such as flatulence, acidic stomach and stomach ache it contains Evodia fruit, Mock Orange leaf, Szechuan Pepper root, Baical skullcap root, Costus root, White Peony root and Tuckahoe.

Remedies aimed at the women

Painful periods

Menstrulax – aimed specifically at those who suffer from painful periods this remedy includes Motherwort and Leonurus cardiaca.

The menopause

Jing Xin Menocare Essence – this remedy helps to alleviate problems associated with the menopause such as hot flushes, headache and depression and includes Chinese Angelica Root, White Peony Root, Glossy Privet Berries and Wild Jujube Seed as some of the main ingredients.

Remedies aimed at the man


Yang Sheng Wan – this is the herbal equivalent to Viagra for those suffering from impotence and is a 100% natural ingredient tonic.


Wu Zi Yan Zhong Wan – this remedy is used to treat infertility in men and improve the sperm count it can also be used to improve the male sex drive and contains ingredients such as Lycium chinense fruit, Cuscuta chinensis seed, Rubus chingii fruit, Plantago asiatica seed, Schisandra chinensis frui.

Problems with the skin


Pien Tze Huang Pearl Cream – this cream is designed to improve the look of the skin and help to alleviate acne, the ingredients include Pearl Powder, Pien tze huang, Glycerine and super Fatty Alcohol.


Genseng-RoyalJelly Cream – this cream nourishes and moisturises the skin relieving it from the dryness that eczema can cause.


Acupuncture is one of the oldest traditions of Chinese medicine and is a form which is used throughout the world today, acupuncture originated in China more than 2,000 years ago also making it one of the oldest forms of medicine in the world.

The term acupuncture describes procedures involving the stimulation of anatomical points on the body by a variety of techniques. The techniques involve the insertion of thin metallic needles just under the surface of the skin and these needles are then manipulated either by hand or by electrical impulse.

What does acupuncture feel like?

The needles are hair thin and everyone will feel the effects of acupuncture differently, however when the needles are inserted no pain or very little pain will be felt. Some people say that they feel incredibly energised after the treatment while others feel relaxed and are almost sleepy with only very few patients saying that they have felt any pain or discomfort during the procedure. Providing you have treatment from a reliable and trained practitioner, acupuncture is generally considered a safe form of Chinese medicine.

Does acupuncture actually work?

Studies have been numerous on the benefits of acupuncture and its potential usefulness, from these studies many promising results have emerged, studies on people recovering from operations and those suffering the effects of chemotherapy showed great improvements when they took part in the studies. Great improvements were also seen in those recovering from addictions, strokes, carpel tunnel syndrome and those suffering asthma.

How widely used is acupuncture?

Acupuncture has gained in popularity tremendously over the last decade and is now recognised and used in many clinics and sports facilities as an alternative form of medication. Physicians and dentists are now training in the art of acupuncture, as it is a well-known alternative form of pain relief, hundreds of clinics specialising in acupuncture and are worldwide and it is estimated that there are over 12 million people worldwide that have used or are using acupuncture on a regular basis.

How does acupuncture work?

It is one of the most widely known and used aspects of Chinese medicine and is based on balancing the opposites yin and yang, it is when the body or the yin and yang becomes unbalanced that ill health occurs. Vital energy which is known as the Qi flows along what are know as the meridian channels and acupuncture is thought to be an excellent way of opening up the meridian channels and allowing free movement of the Qi throughout the body.

It is thought that there are roughly 12 main meridian channels and 8 secondary channels, with more than 2,000 acupuncture points on the body which connect the channels. It is these points which are used in acupuncture treatment by insertion of the needles at specific points relating to the illness or pain within the body.

What is Chinese Medicine?

Chinese herbal medicine goes back to the 3rd century and is one of the most widely used and known systems throughout the world both as a standalone form of medicine and also used alongside systems that are more traditional. Chinese medicine is a totally holistic approach to medicine which uses traditions found in East Asia, Japan, Vietnam and Korea. It is a system that compromises of herbal remedies, acupuncture, tai chi and Qi gong.

Chinese medicine is largely based on the concept of yin and yang in which balance and harmony is essential for the body and mind for our health. It is said that when our chi becomes depleted or blocked than our health is severely affected and illness begins to show. A diagnosis is usually made by using means such as looking at patterns and signs and symptoms that reflect an imbalance, the system places a great deal of emphasis on the lifestyle as a whole in order to diagnose illness and prevent it.

Herbal medicine and traditional medicine

Chinese medicine and traditional medicine have always worked side by side and seem to compliment each other very well. Herbal medicine however differs from the drugs used in traditional medicine with herbal medicine being less likely to cause side effects that some traditional drugs do.

Herbal medicine is solely based on the use of plants and plants are generally prescribed in combinations with each plant complimenting each other. Herbal treatments are also given to not only ease the symptoms of illness but also as a preventative measure against illness and disease and can be taken to restore the balance within the body and encourage self-healing.

What can Chinese medicine treat?

Chinese medicine has long been used for a broad range of illnesses and conditions, some of the most commonly treated disorders include:

* Skin problems such as eczema, acne and psoriasis.

* Irritable bowel syndrome.

* Constipation.

* Pre-menstrual syndrome.

* Endometriosis.

* Infertility problems.

* Hepatitis C and AIDS.

* Chronic fatigue syndrome.

* Asthma, bronchitis and chronic coughs.

* Sinusitis and perennial rhinitis.

* Arthritis.

* Cystitis.

* The prevention and treatment of diabetes.

* Depression and anxiety.

Is Chinese medicine safe to use by anyone?

If you go to a Chinese herbalist for treatment then Chinese medicine is very safe and most people can take the herbs prescribed, as Chinese herbal medicine relies on herbs and plants, they cause very little if any side effects and can be safely taken in the correct dosage.