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
Bitter (Ku)178
Cold (Han)127
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...

Ba Ji Tian Morinda Root

  • Tonify kidneys, strengthen yang - impotence, male or female infertility, premature ejaculation, frequent urination, urinary incontinence, irregular menses, low back pain and weakness, cold and painful abdomen.
  • Strengthen sinews and bones - back pain, muscular atrophy.
  • Expel wind/damp cold - back and leg qi pain, bi syndromes.

Functional Grouping


Channels Influenced

Pang Da Hai Boat Sterculia Seed

  • Clears and disseminates lung qi - sore throat, hoarseness, phlegm-heat cough, constrained lung qi.
  • Clears intestines and unblocks the bowels - constipation due to heat.
  • Encourages expression of rashes (adjunctive herb).

Functional Grouping


Channels Influenced

Jiu Jie Chang Pu Altaica Rhizome

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  • Opens the Orifices and Transforms Phlegm - Seizures from high fevers, strong psychiatric illnesses, loss of consciousness and/or very muddled thinking, tinnitus, deafness.
  • Stagnant energy in the chest, abdominal distention, bloating.
  • Wind damp related arthritis.

Functional Grouping


Channels Influenced

Hai Tong Pi Coral Bean Bark

  • Dispels wind-damp (hot or cold), unblocks the channels - bi syndromes, especially in the lower back and/or knees or spasms of the extremities.
  • Promotes urination, reduces edema - superficial edema due to dampness.
  • Itchy skin - lesions, scabies.

Functional Grouping


Channels Influenced

Where Do I Go Next?

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