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Chinese herbology facts for kids

Kids Encyclopedia Facts
Xi'an traditionnal medecine market (20)
Dried herbs and plant portions for Chinese herbology at a Xi'an market

Chinese herbs do not grow in China only. If you find the right climate and soil type, you can grow many of those herbs overseas. For instance, American Ginseng is grown in Wisconsin State.

The raw herbs available in retail have the following natural features:

  • Part of a plant: root, leave, seed, flowers, branch, etc.
  • Unprocessed except being cut, sliced, and cleansed of dirt.
  • Dried because the dried form weighs less and can be stored longer.
  • Some herbs can be eaten after boiling because they turn soft.
  • Most herbs cannot be eaten for they remain very coarse after boiling.
  • Herbs in general do not taste good. Most taste bitter and earthly. Some taste neutral. A few taste even sweet.
  • Inexpensive except for a few like Ren Shen 人參, Chuan Bei Mu 川貝母, or Dong Chong Xia Cao 冬虫夏草.

Herbal tea

Xi'an traditionnal medecine market (18)
Ready-to-drink macerated medicinal liquor with goji berry, tokay gecko, and ginseng, for sale at a traditional medicine market in Xi'an, China

How do people take the raw herbs? Raw herbs are usually taken orally by extracting the essence out of them. The natural way being practiced since ancient time is to boil and brew the herbal package in water to get a dark brown solution called herb tea that never tastes good. One hour of brewing should be good enough. Then you drink one or two cups a day. Honey or sugar may be added to make it taste less bad. The herbal package can be conveniently modified by changing some ingredients to make it work for you. So an herbal package is really tailor-made for you only.

Tablet form

Raw herbs can be dried and grounded into a powder then compressed into a tablet which is better than buying your own tablets or having to buy gel capsules

Capsule form

Raw herbs can be made into capsules at home. All you need is a tailor-made package of raw herbs. Turn it into fine powder with a powerful grinder, and put the powder into empty gel capsules. When you swallow the capsules, your digestive system has to extract the essence out of the raw herb powder. Whereas if you drink the herb tea, the essence extraction is already done after brewing. The herbal solution will readily be absorbed by your body. Furthermore, the herb tea has a history spanning over two thousand years. How many years of history does the tablet or capsule have besides offering convenience?

Healing properties

  • Herbs have natural healing effects on organs, blood, and various unhealthy conditions.
  • In contrast to Western pharmaceuticals, which are mainly designed to fix or suppress certain health conditions, herbs have additional enhancing and strengthening values on the body.
  • Due to their strengthening and enhancing values, herbs can also be used for preventive measures.
  • The herbal effects are natural and mild, with little adverse side effects.
  • Each herb has multiple effects on the body, in addition to one major effect.
  • Herbs do not work singly because the effects of one herb are too gentle.
  • The effects of herbs rely on synergies because of their overlapping multiple effects. Therefore, an herbal package of different herbs put together can deliver a much greater effect than a single herb of equal weight.
  • How to create synergy for an herbal package is an essential knowledge and experience that distinguish a good herbalist from a mediocre one.

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