Intro to Herbs

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Intro to Herbs
2011-04-13 16:20:38

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  1. What does it mean to be Pungent in flavor?
    dispersing and promoting circulation of Qi and Blood
  2. What does it mean to be Sweet in flavor?
    nourishing (tonifying), harmonizing, and moistening actions
  3. What does it mean to be Sour in flavor?
    absorbing, consolidating and astringent
  4. What does it mean to be Bitter in flavor?
    drying or resolving dampness, purging and lowering
  5. What does it mean to be Salty in flavor?
    softeining hard nodes or masses and promoting defecation
  6. What are the additional flavors, their function and flavor category?
    • Bland - drains damp - Sweet
    • Astringent - Sour
  7. Lung is ___________ of phlegm
    Spleen is __________ of phlegm
    • container
    • source
  8. What does it mean to have a "Lifting" action of an herb?
    indicated for a disease in the lower or deeper parts of the body (i.e. prolapse of rectum and uterus)
  9. What does it mean to have a "Lowering" action of an herb?
    function towards the lower parts and possess the action of descending adverse qi and are indicated for the disease due to adverse ascending pathogenic factors (i.e. vomitting)
  10. What does it mean to have a "Floating" action of an herb?
    function towards the upper and outward parts, generally exert the effects of sweating and dispersing and are indicated for diseases in the upper and superficial parts
  11. What does it mean to have a "Sinking" action of an herb?
    function towards the lower and inwards parts, have the effects of lowering the adverse flow of qi and relaxing bowels and are indicated for the disease in the lower and interior (i.e. constipation)
  12. Which types are typically considered "lifting" and "floating"?
    • 金 Pungent, 土 Sweet
    • Warm and Hot
    • Flowers, leaves, branches
  13. Which types are typically considered "sinking" and "lowering"?
    • 火 Bitter, 木 Sour, 水 Salty
    • Cool and Cold
    • Fruits, Seeds, Minerals
  14. What is the purpose of processing Chinese medicinal herbs?
    • Removing or reducing the toxicity, drastic properties and side effects of some Chinese medicinal herbs
    • Promoting therapeutic effects
    • Modify the natures and actions of Chinese medicinal herbs so as to make them suitable for therapeutic requirements
    • Facilitating decocting and taking medicine, making preparation and storing medicine
    • Taking away the impurity, non-pharmaceutical parts and unpleasant tastes, thus making the medicinal herbs clean and pure, and convenient for patients to take
  15. Herbal processing by Purifying and Cutting
    • Discarding Impurity - mud and otherwise
    • Breaking to Fine Pieces - for convenience of decocting, preparing and administering
    • Cutting - for convenience in decocting, preparing, drying and storing
  16. Herbal processing with Water
    • Washing away mud and otherwise
    • Softening to make it easier to cut
    • Rinsing over running water to remove substances such as salts, smells, poisons
    • Powder-refining method with water (Pearl Powder example)
  17. Herbal Processing with Fire
    • Parching makes it easier to pound to pieces or powdered and stored, effects are easier to dissolve in decoctions
    • Simple Parching is done without adjuvants
    • Complex Parching is done with dry adjuvants (i.e. mud, bran, rice, talc or powder of surf clam shells)
    • Stir-baking with Liquid adjuvants
    • Calcining - treating crude material to make pure, clean, crispy, easy to be powdered and their effective components decocted out or their natures change to produce better therapeutic effects
    • Roasting in Hot Ash to eliminate some oils, irritants, reduce toxic side effects
  18. Herbal processing with both Fire and Water
    • Steaming
    • Boiling
    • Scalding
  19. Other Methods of Herbal Processing
    • Germination
    • Fermentation
    • Frost-like powder
  20. Singular Application
    Decocting single herb by itself
  21. Mutual Reinforcement
    Both herbs reinforce each other's actions
  22. Mutual Assitance
    One herb is taken as the dominate factor and the others as it's assitants to raise its therapeutic effects
  23. Mutual Restraint
    Different medicines to weaken or neutralize each other's harmfullness, such as toxicity or side-effects of the other
  24. Mutual Detoxification
    One medicinal herb can relieve or remove toxic properties and side-effects of the other
  25. Mutual Inhibition
    One herb and the other act on each other, resulting in their original actions being weakened, even loss of their medicinal effects

    (Try to avoid in practice)
  26. Incompatibility
    Toxic reaction or side-effects may result when two incompatible ingredients are used in combination

    (Try to avoid in practice)
  27. What does "Being decocted first" mean?
    • must be decocted first for 10-30 minutes, then the other kinds are put in, since they are hard in qualities and their effective components are not easily decocted out.
    • The method is also indicated for decocting or boiling poisonous medicinal herbs, thus their poisonous effects may be lessened or eliminated
  28. What does "Being decocted later" mean?
    Some aromatic medicinal herbs with volatile components must be added after the solution of the other medicinal herbs has been boiled 10-30 minutes, and then boiled another 5 minutes or so
  29. Why do you wrap some herbs before you boil them?
    if decocted directly in water it will make the decoction turbid which is difficult to take orally
  30. Why does one decoct or boil some herbs singlely?
    due to them being precious or prevent them from being absorbed by other ingredients when they are decocted or boiled with other medicinal herbs (i.e. ginseng)
  31. What is the purpose of melting some herbs first?
    The method is mainly indicated for the medicine containing a lot of mucilage and easily soluble ones. If decocted directly together with other herb medicines in water, they will be deposited at the bottom of the pot or stick to the other ingredients and not be easily filtered