10 Famous Chinese Herbal Medicines

Chinese herbal medicines are natural medicines used by traditional Chinese medicine to treat, prevent and diagnose diseases.
They include botanical medicines, animal medicines, and mineral medicines.

According to statistics, there are as many as 5,000 kinds of Chinese herbal medicines in use. Among them, some medicines are commonly used clinically, and some medicines are backup medicines.

With the spread of traditional Chinese medicine, Chinese herbal medicines are also well-known. In many countries, they are used as dietary fiber supplements.

There are many famous medicines in Chinese herbal medicines. The following 10 kinds of Chinese herbal medicines are relatively precious and practical.

Xi Hong Hua (Stigma Croci)

Xi Hong Hua commonly known as Zang Hong Hua or Stigma Croci is the stigma of Crocus sativus, which is a perennial herb belonging to the family Iridaceae. It is precious Chinese herbal medicine and dietary supplement, which first appeared in <Compendium of Materia Medica> in the Ming Dynasty(about 1,578 AD).

This plant is native to the Mediterranean and Central Asia and has now been planted in large numbers in China, Iran, Spain, France, etc.

In traditional Chinese medicine, it is often used to promote blood circulation to dredge meridians, cool blood and remove toxins, remove depression and tranquilize the mind, and treat abdominal mass, chronic viral hepatitis, hyperlipidemia, coronary heart disease, and angina pectoris.

Ren Shen (Radix et Rhizoma Ginseng)

Ren Shen commonly known as Radix et Rhizoma Ginseng is the root and rhizome of Panax ginseng, which is a perennial erect herb belonging to the family Araliaceae. It is a precious Chinese herbal medicine and dietary supplement, which first appeared in <Shennong Ben Cao Jing> in the late Western Han Dynasty (about 100 BC).

This plant often grows in deciduous broad-leaved forests or mixed coniferous broad-leaved forests at an altitude of hundreds of meters. They are mainly distributed in the three northeastern provinces of China, Russia, and North Korea.

In traditional Chinese medicine, it is often used to recuperate primordial qi, invigorate the spleen to benefit the lung, promote fluid production, and treat tuberculosis, paroxysmal atrial fibrillation, type 2 diabetes, repeated respiratory infections in children, chronic hepatitis, and viral hepatitis.

Ling Zhi (Ganoderma)

Ling Zhi commonly known as Ganoderma or Reishi Mushroom is the fruiting body of Ganoderma lucidum or Ganoderma sinense, which is a medicinal fungus belonging to the family Polyporaceae. It is a precious Chinese herbal medicine, which first appeared in <Shennong Ben Cao Jing> in the late Western Han Dynasty (about 100 BC).

Ganoderma lucidum often grows on the stumps of pines of the Fagaceae or Pinaceae. Ganoderma sinense often grows on stumps of broad-leaved or coniferous trees in forests. Currently, both of these fungi have been cultivated.

In traditional Chinese medicine, it is often used to invigorate qi and tranquilize the mind, relieve cough and asthma, and treat leukopenia, coronary heart disease, arrhythmia, Keshan disease, viral hepatitis, atrophic myotonia, chronic bronchitis, and chronic cholecystitis.

Dong Chong Xia Cao (Cordyceps)

Dong Chong Xia Cao commonly known as Cordyceps or Chinese Caterpillar Fungus is the complex of Cordyceps sinensis and Hepialidae larvae. It is a unique herbal medicine in China, which initially appeared in <Ben Cao Cong Xin> (Thoroughly Revised Materia Medica) in the Qing Dynasty (1,757 AD).

They often grow in the soil of grasslands, river valleys, and grasses at an altitude of 3,000-4,000 meters. They are mainly distributed in the alpine regions and snow-capped grasslands of northwest and southwest China.

In traditional Chinese medicine, they are often used to invigorate the kidney to benefit the lung, stop bleeding and reduce phlegm, and treat chronic renal failure, type 2 diabetic nephropathy, and bronchial asthma.

He Shou Wu (Fo-Ti)

He Shou Wu also known as Fo-Ti is the root tuber of Polygonum multiforum, which is a perennial climbing herb belonging to the family Polygonaceae. It is a famous Chinese herbal medicine, which first appeared in Ri Hua Zi Zhu Jia Ben Cao (Ri Hua-Zi’s Collected Materia Medica) in the Five Dynasties and Ten Kingdoms (907AD-979AD).

They often grow in valleys, shrubs, and hillside forests at an altitude of 200-3,000 meters. They are mainly distributed in China and Japan.

In traditional Chinese medicine, it is often used to enrich and benefit essence and blood, moisten intestines to relieve constipation, and treat dizziness, tinnitus, premature graying hair, neurasthenia, insomnia, amnesia, soreness and weakness of waist and knees, primary hypertension, hyperlipidemia, uterine bleeding, and morbid leukorrhea.

E Jiao (Colla Corii Asini)

E Jiao commonly known as Colla Corii Asini is the solid glue made from the skin of Equus asinus, which is a mammal belonging to the family Equidae. It is precious animal medicine, which first appeared in <Shennong Ben Cao Jing> in the late Western Han Dynasty (about 100 BC).

Equus asinus is relatively common. They are mainly distributed in Asia, Europe, and Africa.

In traditional Chinese medicine, it is often used to enrich the blood and nourish yin, moisten the lung and stop bleeding, and treat muscle weakness, dizziness, palpitations, insomnia, dysphoria, hemoptysis, vomiting blood, blood in urine, blood in the stool, postpartum hemorrhage, anemia, leukopenia.

Hai Ma (Hippocampus)

Hai Ma commonly known as Hippocampus or Seahorse is the dry body of Hippocampus kelloggi, H. histrix, H. kuda, H. trimaculatus, or H. japonicas, which is an offshore warm water fish belonging to the family Syngnathidae. It is rare animal medicine, which first appeared in <Ben Cao Gang Mu Shi Yi> (a supplement to the compendium of materia medica) in the 30th year of Qianlong in the Qing Dynasty (1,765 AD).

They are mainly distributed in most areas of the Indian Ocean and the Pacific Ocean.

In traditional Chinese medicine, it is often used to invigorate the kidney and strengthen yang, regulate qi and activate blood, and treat impotence, nocturnal emission, enuresis, increased leucorrhea, bruises, and abdominal mass.

She Xiang (Moschus)

She Xiang commonly known as Moschus or Musk is the dried secretions from the navel sack of the mature male Moschus berezovski, Moschus sifanicus, or Moschus moschiferus, which is a mammal belonging to the family Corvine. It is rare animal medicine, which first appeared in <Shennong Ben Cao Jing> in the late Western Han Dynasty (about 100 BC).

There are 3 species in the genus, namely Moschus berezovski, Moschus sifanicus, and Moschus moschiferus. They are endangered species and belong to the national first-class protected animals.

In traditional Chinese medicine, it is often used to induce resuscitation and restore consciousness, promote blood circulation to dredge meridians, alleviate swelling and relieve pain, and treat coronary heart disease, tinnitus, acute cerebral infarction, and vascular headache.

Lu Rong (Cornu Cervi Pantotrichum)

Lu Rong commonly known as Deer Velvet or Cornu Cervi Pantotrichum is the non-ossified tender horn of stag of Cervus nippon or Cervus elaphus, which is a mammal belonging to the family Cervidae. It is a precious animal medicine and dietary supplement, which first appeared in <Shennong Ben Cao Jing> in the late Western Han Dynasty (about 100 BC).

Cervus nippon commonly known as Sika deer, Spotted deer, or the Japanese deer is a small to medium-sized deer. Cervus elaphus is commonly known as Red deer and is one of the largest deer species. At present, some countries have introduced them.

In traditional Chinese medicine, it is often used to replenish kidney yang and essence and blood, strengthen muscles and bones, regulate Chong and Ren channels, promote pus discharge, and treat oligospermia, asthenospermia, azoospermia, non-liquefaction of semen, primary dysmenorrhea, threatened abortion, insomnia, forgetfulness, neurasthenia, lassitude in loin and legs, involuntary emission, spermatorrhea, erectile dysfunction, frequent urination, dizziness, tinnitus, deafness, loss of appetite, uterine bleeding, coronary angina pectoris, diabetic nephropathy, fractures, osteoporosis, cervical erosion, and menopausal syndrome.

Tian Ma (Rhizoma Gastrodiae)

Tian Ma commonly known as Rhizoma Gastrodiae is the stem tuber of Gastrodia elata, which is a perennial parasitic herb belonging to the family Orchidaceae.

They often grow in sparse forests, forest margins, or shrubs at an altitude of 400-3,200 meters. They can be found in China, Nepal, Bhutan, India, Japan, the Korean Peninsula, and Siberia.

In traditional Chinese medicine, it is often used to rest wind and relieve spasms, stabilize liver Yang, dispel wind and remove obstruction in the meridians, and treat neurasthenia, neuralgia, hemifacial spasm, hyperlipidemia, senile vascular dementia, essential hypertension, and tetanus.