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.

369 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
Acrid133
Aromatic18
Bitter (Ku)174
Cold (Han)126
Cool39
Hot (Re)9
Neutral (Ping)81
Salty (Xian)42
Sour (Suan)21
Spicy (Xin)1
Sweet (Gan)161
Warm (Wen)117

Some Herbs To Peruse...

Cang Er Zi Cocklebur Fruit, Xanthium


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  • Expels wind and damp - bi syndromes, skin disorders with itching.
  • Nasal passage obstruction - thick nasal discharge, sinus headache; often combined with Xin Yi Hua and Bai Zhi.

Functional Grouping

Properties

Channels Influenced

Sha Shen Glehnia Root


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  • Moistens the lungs, stops cough - dry, non-productive cough due to lung yin deficiency.
  • Nourish the stomach, generate fluids, clear heat (after febrile disease or yin deficiency) - dry mouth or throat.
  • Moisten the exterior - dry itchy skin aggravated by cold and dry weather.

Functional Grouping

Properties

Channels Influenced

Lu Dou Mung Bean


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  • Clears summerheat - thirst (main symptom), fever, irritability; often drunk as a tea in summertime to prevent over heating.
  • Antidote to Fu Zi.

Functional Grouping

Properties

Channels Influenced

Hou Po Magnolia Bark

  • Promotes movement of Qi, transforms dampness, resolves stagnation - dampness in spleen/stomach, food stagnation, vomiting, diarrhea, abdominal distention (*important herb for this).
  • Warms and transforms phlegm and directs rebellious lung Qi downward - wheezing, phlegm with coughing, stifling sensation in the chest.

Functional Grouping

Properties

Channels Influenced

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