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Introduction To Hundreds Commonly Used Chinese Herbs 

 

 

 

 

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Note: The introduction to the following hundreds commonly used  Chinese herbs is from the English textbook "The Chinese Material Medica" produced by Academy Press [Xue Yuan], Beijing, China. The Chief Editor is Long Zhixian, while the responsible editor is Mr. Chen Hui. We get the permission from the responsible editor to list the contents only in this website.

Category 1 Herbs for Relieving Exterior Syndromes

Category 2 Heat-Clearing Herbs

Category 3 Purgative Herbs

Category 4 Anti-Rheumatics

Category 5 Aromatic Herbs for Resolving Dampness

Category 6 Herbs for Inducing Diuresis and Excreting Dampness

Category 7 Herbs for Warming the Interior

Category 8 Herbs for Regulating Qi

Category 9 Herbs for Removing Food Stagnation 

Category 10 Anthelmintics

Category 11 Hemostatics

Category 12 Herbs for Promoting Blood Circulation and Relieving Blood Stasis

Category 13 Herbs Resolving Phlegm and Relieving Cough and Asthma 

Category 14 Tranquilizers

Category 15 Herbs for Calming the Liver and Checking Wind 

Category 16 Herbs for Resuscitation

Category 17 Tonics for Deficiency Syndromes

Category 18 Astringents 

Category 19 herbs for External Use and Others

 

 

Category 1 Herbs for Relieving Exterior Syndromes

Part 1 Herbs Pungent in Flavour and Warm in Nature for Relieving Exterior Syndromes

Cinnamom Twig (Ramulus Cinnamomi) (Gui zhi)

Asarum Herb (Herba Asari) (Xi xin)

Purple Perilla Leaf (Folium Perillae) (Zi su ye)

Schizonepeta (Herba Schizonepetae) (Jing jie)

Ledebouriella Root (Radix Ledebouriellae) (Fang feng)

Dahurian Angelica Root (Radix Angelicae Dahuricae) (Bai zhi)

Magnolia Flowder (Flos Magnoliae) (Xin yi)

Fresh Ginger (Rhizoma Zingiberis Recens) (Sheng jiang)

Elscholtzia, Mosla (Herba Elscholtziae seu Moslae) (Xiang ru)

Xanthium (Fructus Xanthii) (Cang'er zi)

Part 2 Herbs Pungent in Flavour and Cool in Nature for Relieving Exterior Syndromes

Peppermint (Herba Menthae) (Bo he)

Arctium Fruit (Fructus Arctii) (Niu bang zi)

Cicada Slough (Periostracum Cicadae) (Chan yi)

Prepared Soybean (Semen Sojae Praeparatum) (Dan dou chi)

Pueraria Root (Radix Puerariae) (Ge gen)

Cimicifuga Rhizome (Rhizoma Cimicifugae) (Sheng ma)

Mulberry Leaf (Folium Mori) (Sang Ye)

Chrysanthemum Flower (Flos Chrysanthemi) (Ju hua)

Bupleurum Root (Radix Bupleuri) (Chai hu)

 

Category 2 Heat-Clearing Herbs

Part 1 Heat-Clearing and Fire-Purging Herbs

Gypsum (Gypsum Pibrosum) (Shi gao)

Anemarrhena Rhizome (Rhizoma Anemarrhenae) ( Zhi mu)

Reed Rhizome (Rhizoma Phragmitis) (Lu gen)

Trichosanthes Root (Radix Trichosanthis) (Tian hua fen)

Capejasmine Fruit (Fructus Gardeniae) (Zhi zi)

Prunella Spike (Spica Prunellae) (Xia ku cao)

Cassia Seed (Semen Cassias) (Jue ming zi)

Part 2 Heat-Clearing and Dampness-Drying Herbs

Scutellaria Root (Radix Scutellariae) (Huang qin)

Coptis Root (Rhizoma Coptidis) (Huang lian)

Phellodendron Bark (Cortex Phellodendri) (Huang bai)

Gentian Root (Radix Gentianae) (Long dan cao)

Flavescent Sophora Root (Radix Sophorae Flavescentis) (Ku shen)

Ash Bark (Cortex Fraxini) (Qin pi)

Part 3 Heat-Clearing and Blood-Cooling Herbs

Dried Rehmannia Root (Radix Rehmanniae) (Sheng di huang)

Scrophularia Root (Radix Scrophulariae) (Xuan shen)

Moutan Bark (Cortex Moutan Radicis) (Mu dan pi)

Red Peony Root (Radix Paeoniae Rubra) (Chi shao)

Arnebia (or Lithosperm) Root (Radix Arnebiae seu Lithospermi) (Zi cao)

Part 4 Heat-Clearing and Detoxication Herbs

Honeysuckle Flower (Flos Lonicerae) (Jin yin hua)

Forsythia Fruit (Fructus Forsythiae) (Lian qiao)

Dandelion Herb (Herba Taraxaci) (Pu gong ying)

Viola Herb (Herba Violae) (Zi hua di ding)

Isatis Leaf (Folium Isatidis) (Da qing ye )

Natural Indigo (Indigo Naturalis) (Qing dai)

Houttuynia (Herba Houttuyniae) (Yu xing cao)

Sargentgloryvine (Caulis Sargentodoxae) (Hong teng)

Patrinia (Herba Patriniae) (Bai jiang cao)

Portulaca (Herba Portulaceae) (Ma chi xian)

Pulsatilla Root (Radix Pulsatillae) (Bai tou weng)

Belamcanda Rhizome (Rhizoma Belamcandae) (She gan)

Subprostrate Sophora Root (Radix Sophorae Subprostratae) (Shan dou gen)

Green Chiretta (Herba Andrographitis) (Chuan xin lian)

Part 5 Herbs for Clearing Heat of Deficiency Type

Sweet Wormwood (Herba Artemisiae) (Qing hao) 

Swallowwort Root (Radix Cynanchi Atrati) (Bai wei)

Wolfberry Bark (Cortex Lycci Radicis) (Di gu pi)

Stellaria Root (Radix Stellariae) (Yin chai hu)

 

Category 3 Purgative Herbs

Part 1 Purgatives

Rhubarb (Radix et Rhizoma Rhei) (Da huang)

Mirabilite (Natrii Sulphas) (Mang xiao)

Senna Leaf (Folium Cassiae) (Fan xie ye)

Part 2 Laxatives

Hemp Seed (Fructus Cannabis) (Huo ma ren)

Bush-Cherry Seed (Semen Pruni) (Yu li ren)

Part 3 Drastic Hydragogues

Kansui Root (Radix Euphorbia Kansui) (Gan sui)

Knoxia Root (Radix Knoxiae) (Da ji)

Genkwa (Flos Genkwa) (Yuan hua)

Morning Glory Seed (Semen Pharbitidis) (Qian niu zi)

 

Category 4 Anti-Rheumatics

Notopterygium Root (Rhizoma seu Radix Notopterygii) (Qiang huo)

Pubescent Angelica Root (Radix Angelicae Pubescentis) (Du huo)

Clematis Root (Radix Clematidis) (Wei ling xian)

Tetrandra Root (Radix Stephaniae Tetrandrae) (Fang ji)

Large-Leaf Gentian Root (Radix Gentiane Macrophyllae) (Qin jiao)

Chaenomeles Fruit (Fructus Chaenomelis) (Mu gua)

Loranthus Mulberry Mistletoe (Ramulus Loranthis) (Sang ji sheng)

Acanthopanax Bark (Cortex Acanthopanacis) (Wu jia pi)

Agkistrodon Snake (Agkistrodon Acutus) (Bai hua she)

 

Category 5 Aromatic Herbs for Resolving Dampness

Atractylodes Rhizome (Rhizoma Atractylodis) (Cang zhu)

Magnolia Bark (Cortex Magnoliae Officinalis) (Hou po)

Agastache (Herba Agastachis) (Huo xiang)

Eupatorium (Herba Eupatorii) (Pei lan)

Amomum Fruit (Fructus Amomi) (Sha ren)

Round Cardamon Seed (Semen Amomi Cardamomi) (Bai dou kou)

Tsaoko (Cardamon) (Frutus Tsaoko) (Cao guo)

 

Category 6 Herbs for Inducing Diuresis and Excreting Dampness

Poria (Poria) (Fu ling)

Umbellate Pore-Fungus (Polyporus Umbellatus) (Zhu ling)

Coix Seed (Semen Coicis) (Yi yi ren)

Oriental Water Plantain Rhizom (Rhizoma Alismatis) (Ze xie)

Plantago Seed (Semen Plantaginis) (Che qian zi)

Talc (Talcum) (Hua shi)

Manshurian Aristolochia Stem (Caulis Aristolochiae Manshurie) (Mu tong )

Rice Paper Pith (Medulla Tetrapanacis) (Tong cao)

Yam Rhizome (Rhizoma Dioscoreae) (Bi xie) 

Oriental Wormwood (Herba Artemisiae Capillaris) (Yin chen hao)

Pyrrosia Leaf (Folium Pyrrosiae) (Shi wei)

Climbing Fern Spore (Spora Lygodii) (Hai jin sha)

Lysmachia (Herba Lysimachiae) (Jin qian cao)

 

Category 7 Herbs for Warming the Interior

Prepared Aconite Root (Radix Aconiti Praeparata) (Fu zi)

Chinese Cassia Bark (Cortex Cinnamomi) (Rou gui)

Dried Ginger (Rhizoma Zingiberis) (Gan jiang)

Clove (Flos Caryophylli) (Ding xiang)

Common Fennel Fruit (Fructus Foenicuii) (Xiao hui xiang)

Galangal Rhizome (Rhizoma Galangae) (Gao liang jiang)

Evodia Fruit (Fructus Evodiae) (Wu zhu yu)

Pricklyash Peel (Pericarpium Zanthoxyli) (Hua jiao)

 

Category 8 Herbs for Regulating Qi

Tangerine Peel (Pericarpium Citri Reticulatae) (Ju pi)

Green Tangerine Orange Peel (Pericarpium Citri Reticulatae) (Qing pi)

Immature Bitter Orange (Fructus Aurantii Immaturus) (Zhi shi)

Citron Fruit (Fructus Citri) (Xiang yuan)

Aucklandia Root (Radix Aucklandiae) (Mu xiang)

Nutgrass Flatsedge Rhizome (Rhizome Cyperi) (Xiang fu)

Lindera Root (Radix Linderae) (Wu yao)

Eagle Wood (Lignum Aquilariae Resinatum) (Chen xiang)

Sichuan Chinaberry (Furctus Meliae Toosendan) (Chuan lian zi)

Macrostem Onion (Bulbus Allii Macrostemi) (Xie bai)

 

Category 9 Herbs for Removing Food Stagnation 

Radish Seed (Semen Raphani) (Lai fu zi)

Germinated Barley (Fructus Hordei Germinatus) (Mai ya)

Medicated Leaven (Massa Fermentata Medicinalis) (Shen qu)

Hawthorn Fruit (Fructus Crataegi) (Shan zha)

Chicken¡¯s Gizzard-Skin (Endothelium Corneum Gigeriae Galli) (Ji nei jin)

 

Category 10 Anthelmintics

Quisqualis Fruit (Fructus Quisqualis) (Shi jun zi)

Chinaberry Bark (Cortex Meliae) (Ku lian pi)

Areca Seed (Semen Arecae) (Bing lang) 

Pumpkin Seed (Semen Cucurbitae) (Nan gua zi)

Omphalia (Omphalia) (Lei wan) 

Torreya Seed (Semen Torreyae) (Fei zi) 

 

Category 11 Hemostatics

Japanese Thistle (Herba seu Radix Cirsii Japonic) (Da ji) 

Field Thistle (Herba Cephalanoploris) (Xiao ji) 

Biota Tops (Cacumen Biotae) (Ce bai ye) 

Cogongrass Rhizome (Rhizoma Imperatae) (Bai mao gen) 

Japanese Beauty-Berry (Folium Callicarpae Nudiflorae)  (Zi zhu)

Sophora Flower (Flos Sophorae) (Huai hua) 

Sanguisorba Root (Radix Sanguisorbae) (Di yu) 

Hyacinth Bletilla (Rhizoma Bletillae) (Bai ji)

Hairy Vein Agrimony (Herba Agrimoniae) (Xian He Cao) 

Charred Palm (Petiolus Trachycarpi) (Zong lu tan) 

Notoginseng (Radix Notoginseng) (San Qi) 

Cat-Tail Pollen (Pollen Typhae) (Pu Huang) 

Rubia Root (Radix Rubiae) (Qian Cao) 

Argyi Leaf (Folium Artemisiae Argyi) (Ai Ye) 

 

Category 12 Herbs for Promoting Blood Circulation and Relieving Blood Stasis

Chuanxiong Rhizome (Rhizoma Ligustici Chuangxiong) (Chuan Xiong) 

Red Sage Root (Radix Salviae Miltiorrhiae) (Dan Shen) 

Motherwort (Herba Leonuri) (Yi Mu Cao) 

Peach Kernel (Semen Persicae) (Tao Ren)

Safflower (Flos Carthami) (Hong Hua)

Achyranthes Root (Radix Achyranthis Bidentatae) (Niu Xi)

Pongolin Scales (Squama Manitis) (Chuan Shan Jia) 

Curcuma Root (Radix Curcumae) (Yu Jin) 

Giant Knotweed Rhizome (Rhizoma Polygoni Cuspidati) (Hu zhang )

Corydalis Tuber (Rhizoma Corydalis) (Yan Hu Suo) 

Frankincense (Resina Olibani) (Ru Xiang)

Myrrh (Myrrha) (Mo Yao)

Burreed Tuber (Rhizoma Sparganii) (San Leng) 

Zedoary (Rhizoma Zedoariae) (E Zhu)

Leech (Hirudo) (Shui Zhi) 

Ground Beetle (Eupolyphaga Seu Steleophaga) (Tu bie Chong) 

 

Category 13 Herbs Resolving Phlegm and Relieving Cough and Asthma  

Part 1 Herbs Relieving Cold-Phlegm by Warming

Pinellia Tuber (Rhizoma Pinelliae) (Ban Xia)

Arisaema Tuber (Rhizoma Arisaematis) (Tian Nan Xing) 

Giant Typhonium Tuber (Rhizoma Typhonii) (Bai Fu zi) 

White Mustard Seed (Semen Sinapis Albae) (Bai Jie Zi) 

Platycodon Root (Radix Platycodi) (Jie Geng) 

Inula Flower (Flos Inulae) (Xuan Fu Hua) 

Part 2 Herbs for Clearing Heat-Phlegm

Trichosanthes Fruit (Fructus Trichosanthis) ( Gua Lou)

Fritillary Bulb (Balbus Fritillariae) (Bei Mu)

Peucedanum Root (Radix Peucedani) (Qian Hu) 

Bamboo Shavings (Caulis Bambusae in Taeniam) (Zhu Ru) 

Tabasheer (Concretio Silicea Bambusae) (Tian Zhu Huang) 

Bamboo Juice (Succus Bambusae) (Zhu Li) 

Sargassum (Sargassum) (Hai Zao)

Chlorite-Schist (Chlorite-Schist) (Meng Shi)

Part 3 Herbs for Relieving Cough and Asthma

Bitter Apricot Kernel (Semen Armeniacae Amarum) (Xing Ren) 

Stemona Root (Radix Stemonae) (Bai Bu) 

Aster Root (Radix Stemonae) (Zi Wan) 

Perilla Fruit (Fructus Perillae) (Su Zi) 

Mulberry Bark (Cortex Mori Radicis) (Sang bai pi) 

Lepidium Seed (Semen Lepidii Seu Descurainiae) (Ting Li Zi) 

Aristolochia Fruit (Fructus Aristolochiae) (Ma Dou Ling) 

Ginko Nut (Semen Ginkgo) (Bai Guo) 

 

Category 14 Tranquilizers

Cinnabar (Cinnabaris) (Zhu Sha) 

Magnet (Magnetitum) (Ci Shi) 

Dragon¡¯s Bone (Os Draconis Fossilia) (Long Gu) 

Oyster Shell (Concha Ostrea) (Mu Li) 

Wild or Sping Jujuba Seed (Semen Ziziphi Spinosae) (Suan Zao Ren)

Polygala Root (Radix Polygalae) (Bo zi ren) 

Arborvitae Seed (Semen Biotae) (Yuan zhi) 

 

Category 15 Herbs for Calming the Liver and Checking Wind 

Abalone Shell (Concha Haliotidis) (Shi Jue Ming) 

Pearl Shell (Concha Margaritifera Usta) (Zhen zhu mu) 

Red Ochre (Ochra Haematitum) (Dai Zhe Shi) 

Cow Bezoare (Calculus Bovis) (Niu Huang) 

Gastrodia Tuber (Rhizoma Gastrodiae) (Tian Ma) 

Uncaria Stem With Hooks (Ramulus Uncariae cum Uncis) (Gou Teng)

Earthworm (Lumbricus)  (Di Long) 

Batryticated Silkworm (Bombyx Batryticatus) (Bai Jiang Can)

Scorpion (Scorpion) (Quan Xie) 

Centipede (Scolopendra) (Wu Gong) 

 

Category 16 Herbs for Resuscitation

Borneol (Borneolum) (Bing pian) 

Storax (Styrax Liquidus) (Su He Xiang) 

Grassleaved Sweetflag Rhizome (Rhizoma Acori Graminei) (Shi Chang Pu) 

 

Category 17 Tonics for Deficiency Syndromes

Part 1 Herbs for Invigorating Qi

Ginseng (Radix Ginseng)  (Ren Shen) 

Dangshen (Radix Codonopsis Pilosulae)  (Dang Shen) 

American Ginseng Root (Radix Panacis Quinquefolii) (Xi Yang Shen) 

Astragalus Root (Radix Astragali seu Hedysari) (Huang qi) 

White Atractylodes Rhizome (Rhizoma Atractylodis Macroceph) (Bai Zhu) 

Chinese Yam (Rhizoma Dioscoreae) (Shan Yao) 

Liquorice (Radix Glycyrrhizae) (Gan Cao) 

Chinese Date (Fructus Ziziphi Jujubae) (Da Zao) 

Honey (Mel) (Feng Mi) 

Part 2 Blood Tonics

Prepared Rehmannia Root (Radix Rehmanniae Praeparata) (Shu Di Huang) 

Fleece Flower Root (Radix Polygoni Multiflori) (He Shou Wu) 

Chinese Angelica Root (Radix Angelicae Sinensis) (Dang Gui) 

White Peony Root (Radix Paeoniae Alba) (Bai Shao) 

Longan Aril (Arillus Longan) (Long Yan Rou) 

Part 3 Yin Tonics

Straight Ladybell Root (Radix Adenophorae Strictae) (Sha shen)

Fragrant Solomonseal Rhizome (Rhizoma Polygonati Odorati) (Yu Zhu) 

Siberian Solomonseal Rhizome (Rhizoma Polygonati) (Huang Jing) 

Ophiopogon Root (Radix Ophiopogonis) (Mai Men Dong) 

Wolfberry Fruit (Fructus Lycci) (Gou Qi Zi)

Eclipta (Herba Ecliptae) (Mo Han Lian) 

Glossy Privet Fruit (Fructus Ligustri Lucidi) (Nu Zhen zi) 

Tortoise Plastron (Plastrum testudinis) (Gui Ban) 

Fresh Water Turtle Shell (Carapax Trionycis) (Bie Jia) 

Part 4 Yang Tonics

Epimedium (Herba Epimedii) (Yin Yang Huo) 

Curculigo Rhizome (Rhizoma Curculiginis) (Xian Mao) 

Morinda Root (Radix Morindae Officinalis) ( Ba Ji Tian) 

Walnut Kernel (Semen Juglandis) (Hu Tao Ren) 

Chinese Caterpillar Fungus (Cordyceps) (Dong Chong Xia Cao) 

Psoralea Fruit (Fructus Psoraleae) (Bu Gu Zhi) 

Bitter Cardamon (Fructus Alpinae Oxyphyllae) (Yi Zhi Ren) 

Desertliving Cistanche (Herba Cistanchis) (Rou Cong Rong) 

Dried Human Placenta (Placenta Hominis) (Zi He Che) 

Gecko (Gecko) (Ha Jie) 

Eucommia Bark (Cortex Eucommiae) (Du Zhong ) 

Dipsacus Root (Radix Dipsaci) (Xu Duan) 

Dodder Seed (Semen Cuscutae) (Tu Si Zi) 

 

Category 18 Astringents 

Light Wheat (Fructus Tritici Levis) (Fu Xiao Mai) 

Glutinous Rice Root (Radix Oryzae Glutinosae) (Nuo Dao Gen Xu) 

Schisandra Fruit (Fructus Schisandrae) (Wu Wei Zi) 

Black Plum (Fructus Mume) (Wu Mei) 

Chebula Fructus (Fructus Chebulae) (Ke Zi) 

Chinese Gall (Galla Chinensis)  (Wu bei zi )

Red Halloysite (Halloysitum Rubrum)  (Chi Shi Zhi) 

Nutmeg (Semen Myristicae) (Rou Dou Kou) 

Gordon Euryale Seed (Semen Euryales) (Qian Shi) 

Lotus Seed (Semen Nelumbinis) (Lian Zi)

Dogwood Fruit (Fructus Corni) (Shan Zhu Yu) 

Mantis Egg-Case (Ootheca Mantides) (Sang Piao Xiao)

Cuttle Bone (Os Sepiella seu Sepiae) (Wu zei gu) 

Ailanthus Bark (Cortex Ailanthi) (Chun gen pi)

 

Category 19 Herbs for External Use and Others 

Sulphur (Sulphur) (Liu Huang) 

Realgar (Realgar) (Xiong Huang) 

Chinese Blistering Beetle Banmao (Mylabris) (Ban mao)

Nux-Vomica Seed (Semen Strychni) (Ma Qian Zi)

Muskmelo Pediceln (Pedeculus Melo) (Gua Di)