There aren't many subjects I know as well as traditional chinese herbs. After all, I studied them for four years in school, prescribed them to patients, and wrote a book that spends a lot of time helping regular folks choose the right traditional chinese herbs for themselves.
Of course, traditional chinese herbs are best prescribed by a Chinese medicine herbalist. The reasons for this are numerous.
- Traditional chinese herbs are usually taken in multiherb formulas
- These chinese herb formulas are sometimes written from scratch for each individual patient
- Even if a classical standard herbal formula is chosen, it takes the expertise of the herbalist to diagnose you according to Chinese medical theories and choose the appropriate traditional chinese herb formula
If the wrong traditional chinese herbs are used, the patient can get worse, or not heal and just waste their money.
Still, there are some traditional chinese herbs that almost anyone can take, that will promote health in nearly everyone. Many of them are well known already. The following is a list of traditional chinese herbs that are good for promoting health in most people. Still, you should consult with a local herbalist to be sure that they'll help you, not harm you. Also, you should buy my book Powerful Body, Peaceful Mind: How to Heal Yourself with Foods, Herbs, and Acupressure and find out what other essential traditional chinese herbs you need to have at home before you need them.
- Ginseng: this traditional chinese herb has been studied as much as any other chinese herb. It promotes healing, increases your energy level, and improves blood sugar profiles. However, too much (or any in the wrong people) can cause headaches, hypertension, and insomnia.
- Ginger is a great digestion chinese herb. If you've had sushi, you know ginger is one of the two other things you eat with it- it promotes digestion, prevents nausea, and warms you up. It's also a nice adjunct for mild winter colds. You can cut up some of the raw form of this traditional chinese herb and boil it into a fresh, warming tea.
- Astragalus is a energy and immune system booster. It's a good herb to take in the winter before you get a cold - don't take it after you get sick, but but before. It's also good for those who are tired and sweat without exertion.
- Cinnamon sticks promote circulation, warm you up, and help you fight winter colds.
All of these can be boiled into teas.
There are many other traditional chinese herbs - we studied only about 500 of them in my four year Masters program, but there are perhaps 10,000 out there. Likewise, we learned about 200 major chinese herbal formulas, but there are hundreds more classical ones, and still more modern ones based on traditional plus pharmacological knowledge.
Traditional chinese herbs are not only great herbs, but part of a sophisticated system that treats everything from colds and sinusitis, to menopause and impotence, lupus and chronic fatigue, all the way to AIDS and cancer.