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Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM)

medicine in glass jars

For centuries the healing acupuncture, cupping and blood drawing practices, herbs and tinctures that make up Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM) of the East had been shrouded in mystery. The onset of the holistic health boom of the 20th century pushed TCM to the forefront of alternative medicine in the West. Here is a breakdown of TCM and a few herbal remedies that can be beneficial to sustaining daily wellness.

The Five Elements of TCM are a guideline that organizes all-natural compounds into five master groups in nature, it’s purpose is to express a natural order within the universe that is made tangible within the human body. The five groups, Wood, Fire, Earth, Metal, and Water can include categories of a season, direction, climate, stage of growth and development, internal organ, body tissue, and emotion.

The four treasures of TCM are Blood, Qi (life force energy) and, Yin and Yang. The balance between Yin and Yang is a key health concept in TCM. Those who have too much cold in their body are said to either have a Yin excess (because Yin is cold in nature) or a Yang deficiency (Yang is hot in Nature).

We’ve compiled a list of a few plants that are fairly easy to find and can be applied consistently to maintain health and jump-start your health maintenance and healing with Traditional Chinese Medicine.


In Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM), goji berries belong within the category of “Tonic herbs for Yin deficiency.” Tonic herbs are used for patterns of Deficiency when one lacks one of the “Four Treasures” (Qi, Blood, Yin, and Yang). Extreme Yin deficiency can translate into a burn-out, unfortunately, more and more common among people today.

They also have a tonic effect because they replenish Qi and Blood. As such goji berries are thought to target the Kidney and the Liver. According to TCM, the kidneys not only regulate the urinary system but also play a role in the reproductive system as well as the aging process of the body.

Goji berries are amazing antioxidants and have a high concentration of Vitamin A, C, and E, and carotenoids and, beta-carotene. Dried goji berries can be eaten as snacks, sprinkled on foods or soaked in hot water for tea.


Ginseng is one of the most widely used Chinese herbs in the world. Panax ginseng has a reputation as an energy booster, immune system enhancer and, remedy for fatigue. But should be used with care as to not induce imbalance in other areas of the body.

Some patients of TCM may have adverse effects, including hypertension. Tonic herbs like ginseng can exacerbate headaches, insomnia, and rashes. They can also be relatively difficult to digest, resulting in constipation, loss of appetite, and other gastrointestinal discomforts. Commonly, ginseng can is consumed as a tea or in liquid form as a concentrate.


In TCM, dandelions are plants that belong to the “herbs that clear heat and relieve toxicity” category. Herbs in this category are used to clear inflammatory and infectious conditions, referred to as “internal heat.”

Herbs that clear heat and relieve toxicity also work to remove infectious toxins from the body. Dandelions tend to have a cleansing action on the body by clearing heat, drying dampness and promoting elimination via urination or bowel movements.

A bunch of fresh, raw, bitter leaves of dandelion can be sautéed or made into a fresh-pressed juice.


Hawthorn leaves and berries relieve food stagnation as they assist with digestion related to the stomach and spleen. It also works in conjunction with the heart, which is considered the source of vitality and spirit while the liver, is the body’s filter or “general” regulates movements of “Qi” life force energy and fluids within the system. It is also the most often used herb in TCM as a treatment of non-alcoholic fatty liver disease. Depending on your condition it is said, hawthorn berries can help restore a harmonious balance between Yin and Yang. A tea made from the leaves or berries of Hawthorn, can lower blood cholesterol and decrease the risk of cardiovascular diseases, anti-inflammatory, and anti-tumor activities.


Astragalus is commonly promoted as an immune system builder. It’s used in Chinese medicine is used to raise Qi, moving it from deep in the body out toward the surface. It can be used to enhance athletic performance and increase immunity but should not be taken in excess. Since it is said to push energy upward and outward, astragalus can potentially induce hypertension, insomnia, headaches, dizziness, and heart palpitations. Astragalus can be taken in capsule form as a supplement.

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