Learn more about Chinese herbs and how they support your health and wellness!


Chinese herbs are widely used in Chinese medicine and beautifully complement the other healing modalities such as acupuncture and cupping. Herbal therapies are used both in the prevention and treatment of illness. 


At Li Qian Acupuncture, using Chinese herbs in our Manhattan acupuncture clinic is just another way we support your health and wellness! If you’re new to Chinese herbs, join us in today’s as we examine what they are and how they may benefit you!

Chinese Herbs


Despite the name, Chinese herbs compose of over 5,000 substances including plants, animals, and minerals, though because of the ethics behind some of them, they’re no longer used.


The Materia Medica is the guidebook Chinese medicine practitioners use that provides information on the uses, dosages, and contraindications of each substance used. 


Those who practice and prescribe Chinese herbs have to be licensed and have undergone intense training for naming and identifying, formulating, and their therapeutic action in Chinese medicine. 


Chinese herbs can be classified as diaphoretics (cleansing through sweating), anti-inflammatories, diuretics (cleansing through urine), internal warmers, digestives, tonics, and relaxants. 


Herbs can be used singularly for one specific thing or combined in a formula to combat a variety of health concerns. An herbal formula is prescribed to the patient, so every formula is typically tailored to you, even if conditions and symptoms are similar. For example, consider digestive health — one person may be experiencing constipation because their immune system is on overdrive, while another person may be managing extreme stress, thus causing constipation.


Chinese Medicinal Formulations And Preparations


There are a variety of ways Chinese herbs can be prepared and depending on the practitioner and your condition, the way in which it is prepared may be altered. Below are some of the ways the formulations may be prepared including:


Chinese herb decoction – Decoctions are a very traditional way herbs can be prepared. Essentially it’s an intensive tea where the whole herbs are simmered on the stovetop and then strained. 


Syrups – Herbal syrups are typically prepared for younger patients and for those who are experiencing a coughs and sore throats.


Herbal powders – Herbal powders are convenient and less time consuming than decoctions and can be mixed in hot water to prepare a tea.  


Liniments – Liniments include topical preparations including compresses, salves, and plasters that support wound healing and other health issues. This is one of the most common preparations in Chinese medicine, although it’s not practiced as widely in the West.


Chinese patented formulas – These Chinese herbal formulas and pre-made pills that can be taken with water. As one of the most convenient methods, these pill formulations are the most popular outside of China.  


What does Chinese herbal medicine support?


As we’ve mentioned, Chiese herbal medicine is great for both preventative support and in illness. Common conditions it supports include:


  • Skin conditions such as psoriasis, eczema, hives, rosacea, acne, etc.
  • Gastrointestinal concerns such as constipation, irritable bowel syndrome (IBS), diarrhea, etc  
  • Gynecological issues such as infertility, endometriosis, hormone concerns, etc
  • Upper respiratory conditions such as bronchitis, coughs, allergies, asthma, etc
  • Mood issues such as stress and anxiety


How do Chinese herbs work?


The substances used have been studied since ancient times and we now know, thanks to science, there are a multitude of therapeutic chemical compounds responsible for supporting the body — from fighting bacteria, pathogens, and infections to supporting circulation and even aging!


One of the greatest components of Chinese herbs is that there aren’t many serious side effects, so people often find better relief as compared to pharmaceuticals simply because there are no deleterious side effects. 


Chinese herbs have been used successfully over centuries for a myriad of health concerns and make a great addition to any wellness routine. 


For more about the Chinese herbs we use in our Manhattan acupuncture clinic, connect with us today!