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.

375 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
Acrid136
Aromatic18
Bitter (Ku)178
Cold (Han)127
Cool42
Hot (Re)9
Neutral (Ping)82
Salty (Xian)42
Sour (Suan)21
Spicy (Xin)1
Sweet (Gan)163
Warm (Wen)119

Some Herbs To Peruse...

Wu Bei Zi Gallnut of Chinese Sumac

  • Contain leakage of lung qi - stop chronic cough due to deficient lung.
  • Binds the intestines, stops diarrhea - diarrhea, dysentery, chronic blood in the stool, rectal prolapse.
  • Restrains leakage - nocturnal emission, spermatorrhea, excessive sweat, bleeding.
  • Absorbs moisture, reduces swellings, relieves fire toxicity - topically for sores, ringworm, ulcerated skin, scars.

Functional Grouping

Properties

Channels Influenced

Chai Hu Thorowax Root, Bupleurum


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  • Clears shao yang disorders and reduces fever - alternating chills and fever, bitter taste in the mouth, irritability, vomiting, stifling sensation in the chest.
  • Relieves liver qi stagnation (often used with Bai Shao) - vertigo, menstrual disorders, chest and flank pain, the most common herb to treat stress, irritability, depression, etc.; also for liver and spleen disharmony - bloating, nausea, indigestion, flank pain.
  • Raises yang qi in spleen and stomach deficiency patterns (often used with Sheng Ma) - prolapsed organ, diarrhea, hemorrhoids.

Functional Grouping

Properties

Channels Influenced

Can Sha Silkworm Feces

  • Expels wind-damp - bi syndromes, itchy rashes due to wind-damp.
  • Harmonizes the stomach, transforms turbid dampness - vomiting, diarrhea, cramps, abdominal pain, borborygmus.

Functional Grouping

Properties

Channels Influenced

Gu Jing Cao Pipewort Scapus, Inflorescence

  • Disperse wind-heat, brighten the eyes - wind-heat entering the liver channel causing red, swollen eyes, floaters, pterygium.

Functional Grouping

Properties

Channels Influenced

Where Do I Go Next?

Further Exploration - Herbs and Treatments

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