Chinese herbs

Page 1


Buddha’s hand Gentiana Cassia Seeds Ginseng Rheum palmatum Wolfberry

Chinese herbs Chinese herbs have been used for centuries. Among the earliest literature are lists of prescriptions for specific ailments, exemplified by the manuscript “Recipes for 52 Ailments�, found in the Mawangdui which were sealed in 168 BC. The use of Chinese herbs was popular during the medieval age in western Asian and Islamic countries. They were traded through the Silk Road from the East to the West.


Buddha’s hand Citrus medica sarcodactylis, or the fingered citron, is an unusually shaped citron variety whose fruit is segmented into finger-like sections, resembling a human hand. It is called Buddha’s hand in Chinese. The different cultivars and variations of this citron variety form a gradient from “open-hand” types with outward-splayed segments to “closed-hand” types, in which the fingers are kept together. The origin of this kind of citron is commonly traced back to the Far East, probably northeastern India or China. Citrus medica sarcodactylis is, like any other citron variety, a shrub or small tree with long, irregular branches covered in thorns. Its large, oblong leaves are pale green and grow about four to six inches. Its white flowers are tinted purplish from the outside and grow in fragrant clusters. The fruit’s fingers contain only the white part of the fruit and sometimes a small amount of acidic pulp, but many of them are completely juiceless and some are seedless.



Uses Buddha’s hand fruit is very fragrant and is used predominantly in China, Malaysia and Japan for perfuming rooms and personal items such as clothing. In China, the Buddha’s hand fruit is a symbol of happiness, longevity and good fortune. It is also a traditional temple offering and a New Year’s gift.



Effects Unlike other citrus fruits, most varieties of the Buddha’s Hand fruit contain no pulp or juice. Though esteemed chiefly for its “exquisite form and aroma”, the Buddha’s Hand fruit can also be eaten in desserts, savory dishes and alcoholic beverages (such as vodka) or candied as a sweet. The sliced, dried peel of immature fruits is also prescribed as a tonic in traditional medicine.



Gentiana Gentiana is a genus of flowering plants belonging to the gentian family (Gentianaceae), the tribe Gentianeae, and the monophyletic subtribe Gentianinae. With about 400 species it is considered a large genus. They are notable for their mostly large, trumpet-shaped flowers, which are often of an intense blue. Gentians have oppositely arranged leaves, sometimes in a basal rosette. The trumpet-shaped flowers are usually deep blue or azure, but can be white, cream, yellow, or red. Many species are polymorphic with respect to flower color, bearing flowers of different colors. Blue-flowered species predominate in the Northern Hemisphere, with red-flowered species dominant in the Andes, where bird pollination is probably more often favored by natural selection. Most flowers are pentamerous, with 5 lobes in the corolla and 5 sepals. A few species have 4 to 7 flower parts. The corolla has folds called plicae between the lobes. The style is short or absent. The ovary is mostly sessile and has nectary glands.



Uses Gentian contains several alkaloids, predominantly gentian and gentialutine. Additionally it contains the constituents: xanthones, triterpenes, pectin, tannin, mucilage and sugar. It has a long history of use as bitters, used to promote the appetite and digestion by general stimulation of the digestive juices. Gentian, as with all bitters, is important in traditional herbal medicine as a remedy for physical and mental exhaustion.



Effects The herb is used as a blood builder, traditionally used convalescence. It is used as a natural herbal treatment for gaining weight, anorexia and exhaustion.Gentian is believed to strengthen the entire system by stimulating the digestive function as well as the general circulation and the activity of many glands and organs.The herb is also used as a liver tonic and to stimulate insufficient production of gastric juices, bile and saliva. It is used to alleviate inflammations in the gall bladder.



Cassia Seeds Cassia obtusifolia is an annual suffruticose herbaceous plant, which grows between 0.5 to 2 meters. And there are many branches on the upper part. Pinnately compound leaf is alternate; petiole is 2 to 5cm; leaflets are 3 pairs; blade is obovate or obovate-oblong, 2 to 6cm long, 1.5 to 3.5cm wide, and with rounded apex and cuneate base. Flowers are axillary in pair and the top ones are acervate; peduncle is very short; pedicel is about 1 to 2cm; sepals are 5 and obovate; corolla is yellow, obovate, 12 to 15mm long, and with 5 petals and base with claws. Pod is slender, four edged, 15 to 20cm long, 3 to 4mm wide, and with 2 to 4cm stalk. Seeds are numerous, nearly in prismatic shape or sometimes slightly flat, light brown, bright, and with linear oblique groove on each side. It usually blooms from June to August and fruits from August to October. Habitats include hills, roadside, barren mountain, hillside, and woodland.



Uses Clinical experiments show that its products, including cassia seed supplement, tea, extract, seed oil, and powder, can help on at least 4 major aspects. To begin with, in TCM remedies it is an essential herb for treating a variety eye infections, such as hot eyes, swelling and pain eyes, blurred vision, photophobia, excessive tearing, and more; then, cassia seed pillow can tremendously improve sleep quality by removing heat and soothing the nerves; furthermore, it can be used as a laxative to relax bowel and treat constipation



Effects Vision, intestine, kidney and liver problems may be treated with the cassia seeds and dried seeds may even substitute coffee. The seeds make the bowel movement smoother as well. For problems like dizziness due to the liver fire, headaches, pain, swelling and conjunctive congestion, use cassia seed along with gentian root. Intestinal dryness may lead to the heat accumulation in the large intestine, which eventually leads to the constipation.



Ginseng Ginseng is any one of the 11 species of slow-growing perennial plants with fleshy roots, belonging to the genus Panax of the family Araliaceae. Ginseng is found in North America and in eastern Asia (mostly northeast China, Korea, Bhutan, eastern Siberia), typically in cooler climates. Panax vietnamensis, discovered in Vietnam, is the southernmost ginseng known. This article focuses on the species of the series Panax, called Panax ginseng and P. quinquefolius. Ginseng is characterized by the presence of ginsenosides and gintonin. The English word ginseng derives from the Chinese term rénshēn. Rén means “Person” and shēn means “plant root”; this refers to the root’s characteristic forked shape, which resembles the legs of a person. The botanical genus name Panax, meaning “all-healing” in Greek, shares the same origin as “panacea” and was applied to this genus because Linnaeus was aware of its wide use in Chinese medicine as a muscle relaxant.



Uses Although ginseng has been used in traditional medicine for centuries, there is only preliminary evidence to date from high-quality human research that it has any biological effects. Among potential effects are improved memory, reduced fatigue, reduced symptoms of menopause and reduced insulin response in people with mild diabetes, but the design and quality of these studies were questionable.[9] Higher quality clinical trials were recommended before conclusions about any effect of using ginseng are possible.



Effects Ginseng is perhaps the most widely recognized plant used in traditional medicine and now plays a major role in herbal health care. For more than 2,000 years, various forms have been used in medicine. Through the ages, the root has been used in the treatment of loss of strength, hardened arteries, blood and bleeding disorders, and colitis, and to relieve the symptoms of aging, cancer, and senility.



Rheum palmatum Rheum palmatum, commonly called Chinese rhubarb,ornamental rhubarb,Turkish rhubarb, Turkey rhubarb, Indian rhubarb, Russian rhubarb or rhubarb root (and within Chinese herbal medicine da-huang). The species R. tanguticum and R. officinale, also under the categorical term of the Chinese drug da-huang, are closely related to R. palmatum.Today, these three species are regarded as superior in performance to other species-existing rhubarbs.Though R palmatum is commonly misinterpreted to be one in the same with the familiar R. rhabarbarum garden rhubarb we eat, there are several facets falsifying this assumption. Size is the most evident of the facets used to differentiate these two closely related species. While most garden species only grow to a mere few feet in height, Chinese rhubarb can produce as high as a “six to ten foot jointed stalk,� with loosely branched clusters of flowers along the tips that mature red in color from their often yellow or white blooms.



Uses In ancient China, rhubarb root was taken and recognized as a means to cure stomach ailments and as a “cathartic” (an agent used to relieve severe constipation), as well as serves as an antibacterial in its ability to treat “toothaches, shingles, fevers, hypertension, burns, acute appendicitis, acute infectious hepatitis, conjunctivitis, swelling and pain of gums, and sores of the mouth or tongue.”



Effects Rhubarb can increase peristalsis, inhibit intestinal absorption of water and promote defecation; Rhubarb has anti-inflammatory effects on a variety of Gram-positive and-negative bacteria. The most sensitive ones are staphylococcus and streptococcus, which are followed by diphtheria, typhoid and paratyphoid bacillus, pneumococcus, Shigella, and so on; Rhubarb also inhibits influenza virus.



Wolfberry Wolfberry species are deciduous woody perennial plants, growing 1–3 m high. L. chinense is grown in the south of China and tends to be somewhat shorter, while L. barbarum is grown in the north, primarily in the Ningxia Hui Autonomous Region, and tends to be somewhat taller. Leaf dimensions are 7.0 cm long by 3.5 cm broad with blunted or rounded tips.The flowers grow in groups of one to three in the leaf axils. The calyx (eventually ruptured by the growing berry) consists of bell-shaped or tubular sepals forming short, triangular lobes. The corollae are lavender or light purple, 9–14 mm wide with five or six lobes shorter than the tube. The stamens are structured with filaments longer than the anthers. The anthers are longitudinally dehiscent. These species produce a bright orange-red, ellipsoid berry 1–2 cm in diameter. The number of seeds in each berry varies widely based on cultivar and fruit size, containing 10–60 tiny yellow seeds that are compressed.



Uses As a food, dried wolfberries are traditionally cooked before consumption. Dried wolfberries are often added to rice congee and almond jelly, as well as used in Chinese tonic soups, in combination with chicken or pork, vegetables, and other herbs such as wild yam, Astragalus membranaceus, Codonopsis pilosula, and licorice root. The berries are also boiled as a herbal tea, often along with chrysanthemum flowers and or red jujubes, or with tea, and packaged teas are also available.



Effects The blue-red colours found in goji berries is natural anti-oxidants which may help protect the body against oxidative damage. In addition Goji berries contain complex starches called Lycium barbarum polysaccharides which may benefit the immune function, and may reduce fatigue associated with living at high altitude. Goji berries also have compounds rich in vitamin A that may also confer health benefits. Vitamin A and its derivatives may protect against skin damage, help maintain night- vision, and benefit the immune system.


Native cultures all over the world have traditionally used herbs to maintain health and treat illnesses. Chinese herbal medicine developed with Chinese culture from tribal roots. By 200 BC, traditional Chinese medicine was firmly established, and by the first century AD, a listing of medicinal herbs and herbal formulations had been developed.

Turn static files into dynamic content formats.

Create a flipbook
Issuu converts static files into: digital portfolios, online yearbooks, online catalogs, digital photo albums and more. Sign up and create your flipbook.