What are Chinese medicines?

Table of contents
  1. Fast facts 

Chinese medicines  refers to the medicines prescribed in accordance with the principles and theories of Traditional Chinese Medicine. These medicines which possess healing properties and health benefits are used to prevent, cure and diagnose disease and illness. They include both natural and processed medicines, of which natural medicines refer to natural, unprocessed plant, animal and mineral medicines. Chinese medicines consist mostly of medicinal plants.zhong yao .

The saying “food and medicine originate from the same source” sums up the origin of Chinese medicines. In ancient times, when people gathered wild fruits and vegetables, they discovered that not only could certain foods satisfy one’s hunger, they could also prevent and cure disease and illness. Thus the knowledge of various kinds of medicinal plants was accumulated over time. With increased knowledge and understanding, people began to match and combine different Chinese herbs, as well as mix Chinese herbs with food to achieve preventive, therapeutic and health benefits. This explains the history and development of the saying “food and medicine originate from the same source”.



Fast facts 

What is Chinese herbal medicine (zhong cao yao )

Chinese herbal medicine (zhong cao yao ) is the compound term of Chinese medicine (zhong yao ) and herb (cao yao ). Actually,zhong yao comprises not only herbs but also animal and mineral materials. To avoid confusion, the concept ofzhong yao is used in this book as a standardisation.

What is meant by herbal medicines (ben cao )

As 80% of Chinese medicines originate from plant sources, there is an old saying that most plants are medicinal species while medicines are herb-based. Hence, Chinese medicines are also known as herbal medicines.