TCM Herbal Database - Materia Medica - Properties

Traditional Chinese Medicine categorizes individual herbs into various groupings to aid in proper applications. Below you will find Chinese Herbs categorized by their taste and temperature properties. The taste and temperature properties can be used directly to effect a particular condition or to help balance other herbs in a formula to treat a particular condition.

For example, you may want to use a warming herb to help balance a deficiency such as low energy or fatigue in a patient. If the patient has some yin deficiency signs, however, you need to balance this warming property as you work towards balancing their system overall. Adding cooling herbs along with warming can help to regulate the actions of these herbs.

In formulas, these properties can also be used to help direct the herbs. Bitter herbs generally have an effect on the circulatory system and the heart. Using cooling herbs along with bitter herbs can help direct this property into that system.

Listed below are the various herbal properties along with the number of herbs within each meridian that are contained in our tcm herbal database.

373 TCM Herbs Listed By Their Properties (Taste and Temperature)

Below is a table of the Traditional Chinese Medicine herbs categorized by their properties. You may click on a property to view the names and functions of each individual herb as well as to learn more about the functional aspects of that property. You may also view the herbs categorized by channels influenced and functions.

Temp - TasteNum of Herbs
Acrid135
Aromatic18
Bitter (Ku)178
Cold (Han)127
Cool41
Hot (Re)9
Neutral (Ping)82
Salty (Xian)42
Sour (Suan)21
Spicy (Xin)1
Sweet (Gan)161
Warm (Wen)118

Some Herbs To Peruse...

Shan Yao Chinese Yam


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  • Tonify the spleen and stomach qi - diarrhea, fatigue, spontaneous sweating, lack of appetite.
  • Tonify the lung qi and yin - chronic cough/wheezing.
  • Strengthen the kidney yin and yang - not hot nor cold, benefits both yin and yang, xiao ke, also binds the jing - spermatorrhea, vaginal discharge, frequent urination.

Functional Grouping

Properties

Channels Influenced

Hai Ge Ke Clam Shell

  • Clears heat, directs lung qi downwards, transforms phlegm - lung-heat cough with thick sputum (difficult to expectorate), chest or rib pain.
  • Softens hardness, dissipates nodules - phlegm fire goiter and scrofula.
  • Promotes urination, expels dampness - turbid painful urinary dysfunction and vaginal discharge.
  • Epigastric pain, acid reflux - calcined powdered form).

Functional Grouping

Properties

Channels Influenced

Huang Bai Amur Cork Tree Bark, Phellodendron


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  • Drains damp heat from the lower jiao - thick-yellow leukorrhea, foul-smelling diarrhea, dysentery; damp-heat pouring downward or hot leg qi - red, swollen, painful knees, legs, and/or feet; damp-heat jaundice.
  • Drains kidney fire with signs of yin deficiency - steaming bone disorder, night sweats, afternoon fever and sweating, nocturnal emissions, spermatorrhea.
  • Drains fire, relieves toxicity - sores and lesions of the skin.

Functional Grouping

Properties

Channels Influenced

Zhi Ke Ripe Fruit of Zhi Shi


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  • Milder actions - move qi and reduce distention (good for weak patients).

Functional Grouping

Properties

Channels Influenced

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