In traditional Chinese medicine (TCM), physicians stress on the overall balance of patients, the remedies are designed to work on the Whole body instead of specific systems. With this holistic approach, physicians always pay attention to the general properties of herbs such as the “natures”, “flavors” and “movements,” so as to help them prescribe remedies that match the therapeutic nature with diagnosed disharmony patterns . The yin and yang theory are used in categorized the herbal properties and as a basic guideline in herbal applications. Generally, cold and cool nature herbs belong to yin, while hot and warm herbs belong to yang. Yin herbs have flavors like sour, bitter and salty, while yang herbs have flavors like sweet and pungent. Herbs with floating or ascending quality are part of yang, while herbs with sinking or descending quality are part of yin.
|Sour: astringency and consolidation. Sour herbs are often used to treat conditions with sweating, cough, diarrhea, emission, incontinence, and heavy menses.
Bitter: purge fire, dry dampness, promote bowel movements, and rectify qi movement. Bitter herbs are often used to treat conditions with fever, heat signs, asthma and cough, vomiting, hiccup, constipation, qi stagnation, abdominal mass, and conditions due to excessive dampness or virtual fire.
Salty: dissipate accumulations, soften hardness and purgation. Salty herbs are often used to treat constipation, abnormal growths and accumulations.
|Pungent: promote distributions and circulations, enhance qi and blood activities. Generally, pungent herbs are used to treat conditions in the superficial portion of the body and also blood or qi stagnation.
Sweet: lubricate and nourish the body, neutralize toxic effects, slow down acute reactions and arrest pain. Sweet herbs are often used to treat general weakness, spleen and stomach disharmony and painful conditions. Some herbs can also induces urination and expel dampness out of the body,.