>> Chinese Materia Medica >> Theories and Concepts of Chinese Medicinal
Properties of Chinese Medicinal Substances

The property of Chinese medicinal substances refer to the four nature, five tastes, meridian entered, ascending, descending, floating and sinking, and toxicity. They are the essential quality and feature, which have been summarized by preceding herbalist practitioners in their long-time medical practice. They are based on the basic theories of traditional Chinese medicine, such as yin-yang, five elements, zang-fu organs and meridians, and treatment principles.

Four Qi (Four Natures)
Cold, hot, warm and cool are the four natures of Chinese medicinal substances. They reflect their effects on the body.  It is summarized according to their action, which affects yin and yang, and cold and hot conditions. They match with the cold and hot nature of diseases to be treated. Those that alleviate or eliminate heat syndromes are cold or cool in nature. They act to clear heat, purge fire, cool blood, remove toxin and so on. Those that alleviate or eliminate cold syndromes are warm or hot in nature.  They act to warm the interior and dispel cold, supplement fire and invigorate yang, warm and unblock meridians, restore yang from collapse and so on. Clinically, medicinal herbs, warm or hot in nature are used for cold syndromes, while those, cold or cool in nature are used for heat syndromes.





 Five Tastes
The five tastes are sour, bitter, sweet, acrid and salty. The ancients, in their long trials found out that different taste could have different effect on diseases, so the taste is not only the flavor of a herbal medicine but also the mark of its curative effect. How to determine the taste?  In general it is done by the mouth and verified by clinical practice.
Acrid substances disperse, move qi and blood, used in the treatment of the exterior cold syndrome, qi and blood stagnation.
Sweet substances tonify, relieve convulsion and kill pain, moderate herbal properties, and regulate the stomach.
Sour substances induce astringency and arrest discharge, usually used in the treatment of weakness and profuse sweating, persistent coughing due to deficiency in the lung, chronic diarrhea and dysentery, seminal emission, enuresis and so on.
Bitter substances dry dampness, clear heat, purge fire and check adverse rise of qi, often used for dampness syndrome, heat syndrome, fire syndrome and yin deficiency with flaming of fire.
Salty substances softening hardness and dissipate nodulations and purge fire, often used for scrofula, goiter, subcutaneous nodules and abdominal masses. 






Meridian Entered 
Meridian entered describes the capacity of the medicinal herbs to lead the disease site, based on theories of the zang-fu organs and meridians and the verified effect in the treatment of disorders. For example, the heart controls mental activities, so heart disorders can be inferred when abnormality in mentality, thinking and consciousness develops. There might be coma, depressive psychosis, mania, dementia, and amnesia. Medicinal herbs that can alleviate or remove the disorders mentioned above are Herba Pogostemonis (inducing resuscitation), Cinnabaris (inducing sedation and tranquilization) and Radix Ginseng (tonifying qi), enter the Heart Meridian. Similarly, Radix Platycodi and Semen Armeniacae (checking coughing) enter the Lung Meridian; Scorpio (relieving spasm) enters the Liver Meridian. Some act one meridian while some act on several meridians.
The above knowledge helps to know the herbal effects. Since medicinal substances having the similar effects enter different meridians, their varied action can be determined.  As a result, appropriate herbs are administered.



12 > >>

 • Origin of Chinese ...
 • Definition and Typ...
 • Place of Productio...
 • Gathering of Chine...
 • Properties of Chin...
 • Combinations of Ch...
 • Classics on Chines...
Produced By 大汉网络 大汉版通发布系统