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1 - Ren Shen ​​ (Ginseng Radix - ginseng)

2 - Dang Shen ​​ (Codonopsis Radix - codonopsis)

3 - Tai Zi Shen ​​ (Pseudostellariae Radix - pseudostellaria)

4 - Bai Zhu ​​ (Atractylodis macrocephalae Rhizoma - (white) atractylodes)

6 - Gan Cao/ Zhi Gan Cao ​​ (Glycyrrhizae Radix - licorice, honey-fried licorice)

7 - Da Zao ​​ (Jujubae Fructus - jujube, Chinese date)

12 - Shan Yao ​​ (Dioscorae Rhizoma - dioscorea)

13 - Bai Bian Dou ​​ (Lablab Semen – lablab, hyacinth bean) ​​ 

15 - Huang Qi ​​ (Astragali Radix - astragalus)




5 - Fu Ling ​​ (Poria – poria)

14 - Yi Yi Ren ​​ (Coicis Semen – coix)

16​​ - Zhu Ling (Polyporus – polyporus)

17​​ - Ze Xie ​​ (Alismatis rhizoma – alisma)





8 - Chen Pi ​​ (Citri reticulaae Pericarpium – citrus peel)

9 - Zhi Ban Xia ​​ (Pinelliae Rhizoma preparatum – pinellia)

10 - Sha Ren ​​ (Amomi Fructus - amomum)





11 - Mu Xiang ​​ (Auklandiae Radix – aucklandia, saussurea, costus)

21 - Chuan Xiong ​​ Chuan Xiong ​​ (Chuanxiong rhizome - cnidium)





18 - Dang Gui ​​ (Angelicae sinensis Radix - Chinese angelica)

19 - Shu Di Huang ​​ (Rehmanniae Radix preparata - prepared or cooked rehmannia)

20 - Bai Shao ​​ (Paeoniae Radix alba - white peony, peony)

22 - Long Yan Rou ​​ (Longan Arillus - longan)


23 - He Shou Wu ​​ (Polugoni multiflori Radix – polygonum, fleeceflower)

24 - E Jiao ​​ (Asini Corii Colla - ass-hide glue, donkey-hide gelatin)

25 -- Gou Qi Zi ​​ (Lycii Fructus - lycium, Chinese wolfberry)





1)​​ Ren Shen ​​ (Ginseng Radix -​​ ginseng)


Tonify Qi

sweet, slightly bitter, neutral to warm

Sp, Lu

3-9 gr


Contraindications: ​​ unresolved pathogens, deficiency heat, heat in the blood, Liver yang rising, stagnant heat


 ​​ ​​ ​​ ​​​​ 1) strongly tonifies primal qi

 ​​ ​​ ​​ ​​​​ 2) strengthens Sp and tonifies St

 ​​ ​​ ​​ ​​​​ 3)​​ tonifies Lungs and​​ augments the​​ qi

 ​​ ​​ ​​ ​​​​ 4) generates fluids, stops thirst

 ​​ ​​ ​​ ​​​​ 5) benefits Heart qi, calm spirit​​ 

 ​​ ​​ ​​ ​​​​ 6) tonifies primal qi, underlying and supporting all qi activities of the body


Note: Use with strong qi deficiency, especially with Heart and/or Kidney imbalance














2)​​ Dang Shen ​​ (Codonopsis Radix -​​ codonopsis)


Tonify Qi

Sweet, neutral

Sp, Lu

6-9 gr


Contraindications: Caution with excess and pathogens


  • tonifies middle burner and​​ augments​​ qi

  • tonifies Lu qi

  • tonifies qi in exterior conditions with qi deficiency


Notes: okay to use long term, good for “everyday” qi deficiency\





3)​​ Tai Zi Shen ​​ (Pseudostellariae Radix -​​ pseudostellaria)


Tonify Qi

Sweet, slightly bitter, neutral

Sp, Lu

9-30 gr


Contraindications: none


  • strengthens Sp, augments qi

  • generates fluids, stops thirst


Notes: usually used in high dosages in order to be effective













4) Bai Zhu ​​ (Atractylodis macrocephalae Rhizoma - (white) atractylodes)


Tonify Qi

Bitter, sweet, warm

Sp, St

5-15 gr


Contraindications: Caution with dryness or yin or fluid deficiency (adding Zhi Gan Cao helps)


  • tonifies Sp, augments yin

  • dries dampness, promotes water metabolism

  • stabilizes exterior, stops sweating

  • calms fetus


Notes: Is aromatic therefore excellent at supporting transformation nd transportation mechanism








5) Fu Ling ​​ (Poria – poria)


Drain Dampness

Sweet, bland, neutral

Sp, Lu, Ht, Kd

9-15 gr


Contraindications: Caution with yin deficiency, sunken Spleen qi, or cold from deficiency with spermatorrhea


  • promotes urination, leeches dampness

  • strengthens Sp, harmonizes middle

  • strengthens Sp, transforms phlegm

  • quiets Ht, calms Spirit


Notes: ​​ The herb is very commonly used, somewhat mild but very effective. ​​ It’s sweetness is tonifying, and it’s blandness leeches out dampness










6) Gan Cao/ Zhi Gan Cao ​​ (Glycyrrhizae Radix - licorice, honey-fried licorice)


Tonify Qi

Sweet, neutral – sweet, warm

All 12 channels but mainly Sp, St, Lu, Ht

1.5-9 gr


Contraindications: Caution regarding large doses as can incrase blood pressure, headaches, dizziness


  • tonifes Sp, augments qi

  • moistens Lu, stops cough

  • moderates spasms, alleviates pain

  • clears heat, resolves toxicity

  • moderates and harmonizes the characteristics of all other herbs


Notes: Gan Cao is good at clearing heat, Zhi Gan Cao is prepared and increases tonification and harmonizing functions, Gan Cao Shao drains fire, toxin and damp heat from UB







7) Da Zao ​​ (Jujubae Fructus - Jujube, Chinese date)


Tonify Qi​​ 

Sweet, warm

Sp, St

3-12 dates or 10-30 gr


Contraindications: heat from excess, damp heat, phlegm heat, caution with excessive damp stagnation


  • tonifes Sp, augments qi

  • nourishes blood, calms spirit

  • moderates and harmonizes harsh properties of other herbs


Notes: Often used to moderate and harmonize along with Zhi Gan Cao and Sheng Jiang (fresh ginger)











8) Chen Pi ​​ (Citri reticulaae Pericarpium – aged citrus peel)


Regulate​​ Qi

Acrid, bitter, warm, aromatic

Sp, St, Lu

3-9 gr


Contraindications: Because it is bitter and drying, it should be used cautiously in heat due to excess. ​​ Contra in dry coughs from qi or yin deficiency.


  • regulates the qi, adjusts the middle

  • dries dampness, transforms phlegm

  • helps prevent stagnation when using cloying tonifying herbs


Notes: Very much a damp and phlegm drying herb, though classified in Regulate the Qi. ​​ It is moderately strong so good in Spleen deficiency with qi stagnation and dampness that is significant but not too intense.






9) Zhi Ban Xia ​​ (Pinelliae Rhizoma preparatum – pinellia)


Transform​​ Damp and Phlegm

Acrid, warm, toxic

Lu, Sp St

3-9 gr


Contraindications: Is warm and drying so caution in dry cough from yin deficiency, sore throat from excess fire, or bleeding


  • dries dampness, transforms phlegm

  • directs rebellious qi downward

  • dissipates nodules due to phlegm due to phlegm in chest


Note: Ban Xia is toxic in it’s raw form, so is always prepared (zhi). ​​ In most texts, the prepared version is still referred to as just “Ban Xia”













10) Sha Ren ​​ (Amomi Fructus – amomum)


Aromatically Transform Damp

Acrid, warm, aromatic

Sp, St

3-6 gr


  • promotes movement of qi, transforms damp, strengthens Spleen

  • warms the middle, stops diarrhea

  • calms the fetus

  • prevents stagnation with the use of cloying tonic herbs










11) Mu Xiang ​​ (Auklandiae Radix – aucklandia, saussurea, costus)


Regulate​​ Qi

Acrid, bitter, warm

Sp, St, LI (GB, SJ)

3-9 gr


  • promotes movement of qi, stops pain

  • adjusts and regulates stagnant qi in intestines

  • strengthens Spleen and prevents stagnation when using cloying tonics

















12) Shan Yao ​​ (Dioscorae Rhizoma - dioscorea, Chinese yam)


Tonify Qi

Sweet, neutral

Sp, Lu, Kd

9-30 gr


Contraindications: none


  • tonifes and augments Sp and St

  • tonifes Lu qi and augments yin

  • tonifies Kd, stabilizes and binds


Notes: Is a food herb so is mild but long term use is fine and that allows for the herb’s effect to gradually grow. ​​ Easy to digest.









13) Bai Bian Dou ​​ (Lablab Semen – lablab, hyacinth bean) ​​ 


Tonify Qi

Sweet, neutral

Sp, St

9-30 gr


Contraindications: none


  • strengthens Spleen, nourishes St, transforms dampness, harmonizes middle

  • clears summerheat with dampness

  • treats poisoning from spoiled food


Note: Is a mild food herb. ​​ Not commonly used in herb formulas except Shen Ling Bai Zhu San















14) Yi Yi Ren  ​​​​ (Coicis Semen – coix)


Drain Dampness

Sweet, bland, slightly cold

Sp, Lu, Kd, St

9-30 gr


Contraindications: none


  • facilitates resolution of dampness, strengthens Spleen

  • facilitates resolution of dampness, eliminates painful obstruction

  • clears heat, expels pus

  • clears damp heat


Notes: ​​ Is a harmonious herb, easy to use even in yin deficiency situations. ​​ Guides dampness out via urination






15)​​ Huang Qi ​​ (Astragali Radix -​​ astragalus)


Tonify Qi​​ 

Sweet, slightly warm

Sp, Lu

9-15 gr


Contraindications: not for significant heat toxin or early stage sores


  • tonifies qi and blood

  • tonifies qi, raises yang

  • augments wei qi, stabilizes exterior

  • promotes urination, reduces edema

  • promotes discharge of pus and generates flesh​​ 



Notes: ​​ Main uses are to tonify qi, lift, and consolidate exterior










See Dang Gui​​ #18








16) ​​ Zhu Ling ​​ ​​​​ (Polyporus – polyporus)


Drain Dampness

Sweet, bland, slightly cool

Sp, Kd, UB

6-12 gr


1) promotes urine, leeches dampness








17) ​​ Ze Xie ​​​​ (Alismatis rhizoma – alisma)


Drain Dampness

Sweet, bland, cold

Kd, UB

4.5-9 gr


  • promotes urine, leeches dampness

  • settles Ministerial Fire in Kidney




















- Supplement, strengthen, tonify, nourish

- Primarily enter the Liver, Kidney, Heart channels

- Treats blood deficiency disorders, due to blood loss, weak constitution, chronic disease history, weak Spleen and /or Kidney

- Often combined with herbs to tonify the qi to produce blood

- Care should be taken when using blood tonics as they can be cloying and hard to digest, causing Spleen qi deficiency or stagnation​​ 

- Chen Pi or Shao Ren are commonly used to help digestion of blood tonics

- Often combined with herb(s) that move and regulate the qi and/or blood to create formula balance











18) Dang Gui ​​ (Angelicae sinensis Radix - Chinese angelica)


Tonify Blood

Sweet, acrid, warm

Ht, Liv, Sp

4.5-15 gr


Contraindications: ​​ Diarrhea or abdominal fullness due to excessive dampness


  • tonifies blood, regulates menses

  • invigorates and harmonizes the blood

  • moistens intestines, unblocks bowels

  • reduces swelling, expels pus, generates fluids


Notes: Very commonly used, tonifies and moistens. ​​ Is said to tonify the “qi within the blood”













19)​​ Shu Di Huang ​​ (Rehmanniae Radix preparata - prepared or cooked​​ rehmannia)


Tonify Blood

Sweet, slightly warm

Ht, Kd, Liv

9-30 gr


Contraindications:​​ Qi stagnation and profuse phlegm, fullness, and pain in the abdomen, reduced appetite and diarrhea


  • tonifies the blood

  • nourishes the Liv/Kd yin

  • strongly enriches yin and relieves wasting and thirsting

  • nourishes blood, tonifies essence


Note: Shu Di is a very cloying substance and is often combined with Chen Pi, Sha Ren or Shen Qu – or Spleen qi tonics – in order to support the ability to digest the herb. ​​ Be careful with dosaging too high.






20)​​ Bai Shao ​​ (Paeoniae Radix alba - white peony, peony)


Tonify Blood

Bitter, sour, mildly cold

Liv, Sp

6-15 gr


Contraindications: ​​ none


  • nourishes blood, regulates menses

  • calms Liver yang and alleviates pain

  • preserves yin, adjusts nutritive and protective levels


Notes: ​​ Key herb to nourish and soften the Liver. ​​ Because it also enters the Spleen channel, it is a common used herb for Liv/Sp disharmony.














21)​​ ​​ Chuan Xiong ​​ (Chuanxiong rhizome, cnidium)


Regulates Blood

“Sichuan chuangxiong”

Liv, GB, P

Acrid, warm

3-9 gr


Contraindications: ​​ pregnancy, bleeding easily, yin deficient fire, tongue dry and red


  • Invigorates the blood, promotes the movement of qi in any blood stasis pattern

  • Expels wind and alleviates pain


Note: ​​ affects the “qi in the blood”, very commonly used for Liver channel issues. ​​ In Si Wu Tang






22) Long Yan Rou ​​ (Longan Arillus (longan)


Tonify Blood

Sweet, warm

Ht, Sp

9-15 gr


Contraindications:: ​​ Fire from constraint, phlegm with qi stagnation, or obstruction due to dampness


  • tonifies and augments Heart and Spleen

  • nourishes the blood, calms Spirit


Notes: ​​ considered a gentle Spirit nourishing herb that quiets emotions. ​​ Longan fruit.














23)​​ Zhi He Shou Wu ​​ (Polugoni multiflori Radix processed - processed​​ polygonum)


Tonify Blood

Bitter, sweet, astringent, slightly warm

Liv, Kd

9-30 gr


Contraindications: ​​ Loose stool or significant dampness or phlegm


  • tonifies Liv and Kd, nourishes blood, augments essence

  • expels wind from skin by nourishing blood


Notes: ​​ this is the processed He Shou Wu which makes it sweet and slightly warm and better able to nourish the Liv/Kd blood and yin








Sheng He Shou Wu ​​ (Polugoni multiflori Radix - raw polygonum)​​ 


Bitter, sweet, astringent, neutral

Liv, Ht, LI

9-30 gr


Contraindications: ​​ Loose stool, dampness or phlegm


  • moistens intestines, unblocks bowels
















24)​​ E Jiao ​​ (Asini Corii Colla - ass-hide glue, donkey-hide gelatin)


Tonify Blood

Sweet, neutral

Kd, Liv, Lu

3-9 gr


Contraindications: ​​ Spleen-Stomach deficiency, focal distention in the epigastrium, or diarrhea


  • tonifies the blood

  • nourishes blood to stop bleeding

  • nourishes and moistens yin

Notes: ​​ Very cloying herb. ​​ When used as a raw herb, it is ground and dissolved into the decoction at the end,​​ after the​​ rest of the​​ herb tea is cooked and strained.












25)​​ Gou Qi Zi ​​ (Lycii Fructus -​​ lycium, Chinese wolfberry)


Tonify Blood

Sweet, neutral

Liv, Kd, Lu

6-12 gr


Contraindications: ​​ in very strong Spleen qi deficiency


  • nourishes and tonifies Liver and Kidneys

  • benefits essence, brightens eyes

  • enriches yin, moistens Lungs


Notes: ​​ Less cloying and difficult to digest than other blood and yin tonic herb