Recent Issues

  • Constipation


  • Chinese Materia Medica(1)
  • Terminology

About the site

>> full story

  • Purpose
  • Disclaimer
  • Background
  • Herbal Medicine
  • The Theory of Chinese Medicine
  • Profile
  • Reference Literature
  • Contact Us

Chinese Materia Medica(2)

1. Herbs for Relieving Exterior Syndromes (Pungent and Warm)

1) ephedra

2) cinnamon twig

3) schizonepeta

4) ledebouriella root

5) perilla leaf

6) fresh ginger

7) notopterygium root

8) dahurian angelica root

9) chinese lovage root

10) spring onion

11) magnolia flower

2. Herbs for Relieving Exterior Syndromes (Pungent and Cool)

(to be continued)




Illnesses and Formulas

How Do Medicinal Herbs Work ?



There are a lot of formulas in Chinese medicine (TCM) for every illness, according to your constitution. In this article, however, one of the formulas will be selected and explained in order to make you understand how the formula works. This is an article, not a TCM treatment. We hope you will understand our purpose. The web sites concerned will be shown later for those who would like to get additional information about modern medicine.



The theory of Chinese herbal medicine is the one which has made an independent development of modern medicine and science. Therefore it may be seen bizarre by those who get used to modern medicine. In fact, I was often confused by the mysterious oriental way of thinking, when I started to study Chinese medicine(TCM). Understanding this system of thought is, however, indispensable to effective use of medicinal herbs. So we recommend that you put your scientific viewpoints and knowledge aside at least during your study of Chinese medicine(TCM), and listen to the oriental way of thinking with an open mind.



Chinese Herbal Medicine is effective !



Insomnia means that although someone has enough time to sleep and tries to sleep, he or she cannot get a good night's sleep for more than three nights successively. The causes of insomnia are follows :

1. physical

2. physiological

3. psychological

4. psychiatric

5. pharmacological

Chinese herbal medicine is said to be the most effective medicine among CAMs (complementary & alternative medicines ). Our purpose in this article is to explain how Chinese medicine(TCM) works and analyzes both symptoms and signs as well as how medicinal herbs contained in the formula work. Therefore we recommend you go to other websites , if you'd like the explanation of modern medicine.



42 y.o. male

Occupation : manager of the personnel department at a pharmaceutical company

He is workaholic. He has had insomnia for a couple of years. He was taking sleeping pills prescribed by a doctor. He came to our clinic for fear of long-term use of sleep-inducing medications. He has been feeling tense and nervous all the time simply because of his stressful position. Even after going to bed he is worried about his work, making him unable to relax and fall asleep.

He has :

 -lower back pain (+)

- thirst (+)

-a feeling of heat in his limbs (+)

- night sweats (+)

Physical Findings on TCM

Pulse : fine, rapid

Tongue : scarlet, dry, not coating



Analysis of Symptoms and Signs ( Pattern Identification )

Hyperactivity of pathogenic fire due to yin-deficiency


Therapeutic Principle

1. nourishing yin to remove heat

2. tonifying blood to tranquilize the mind



Tennou-Hoshin-tan ( Tianwang Buxin Dan )


A) nourishing yin to remove heat

B) moistening to remove fire

C) enriching blood to tranquilize the mind

D) invigorating qi to tranquilize the mind

E) reinforcing the HES and DAS to tranquilize the mind

F) astringing qi to produce fluid

G) lifting all the herbs in the formula


    A B C D E F G
Rehmannia glutinosa : dried rehmannia root
Radix +            
Scrophularia ningpoensis : scrophularia root , figwort root, Radix +            
Asparagus cochinchinensis : Chinese asparagus
Radix   +          
Ophiopogon japonicus : ophiopogon root, lily-turf
Radix   +          
Salvia miltiorrhiza : red sage root
Radix     +        
Angelica sinensis : Chinese angelica root
Radix     +        
Panax ginseng : ginseng
Radix       +      
Poria cocos :poria
Sclerotium       +      
Biota orientalis : arborvitae seed
Semen         +    
Zizyphus jujuba : wild Jujube seed, sour jujube(seed)
Semen         +    

Polygala tenuifolia : polygala root

Radix         +    
Schisandra chinensis : schisandra fruit
Fructus         + +  
Platycodon grandiflorum : platycodon root
Radix             +

Differentiation and Treatment


Chinese medicine classifies the cause of insomnia in following four categories. Detailed explanations will be made available later in the feature program.  


1. weakness of both the DAS and HES ------> Ki-Hi-Tou (Guipi Tang ) etc


2. hyperactivity of pathogenic fire due to yin-deficiency ------>Tennou-Hoshin-Tan (Tianwang Buxin Dan) etc


3. excessive fire from the LES -------> Ryuutan-shakan-Tou ( Longdan Xiegan Tang )


4. stirring up phlegm-heat --------> Untan-Tou ( Wendan Tang )


Medicinal herbs often used for insomnia


Polygonum multiflorum ( Ramus ) --- Chinese cornbind

Albizzia julibrissin (Cortex )-------------- mimosa tree bark

Zizyphus jujuba ( Semen ) ----------------wild jujube seed, sour jujube seed,

Biota orientalis (semen ) ------------------arborvitae Seed, arbor-vitae