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What's the difference between herbal medicine and traditional Chinese medicine?

Jan 23, 2019

It is difficult to distinguish between traditional Chinese medicine and herbal medicine. To classify herbal medicine into the category of traditional Chinese medicine is in line with the actual situation of the development of traditional Chinese medicine.

Herbal medicine refers to the local collection of primitive medicines used to prevent and treat diseases. It has certain regional characteristics, unlike the commonly used Chinese medicine as a commodity, it is sold and used all over the country or abroad. The herbs mentioned now have been recorded in the ancient books of "Materia Medica", and some of them have been spread among the people, such as Prunella vulgaris, Shuyang Spring, Jinlian flower, etc. With the increasing use of herbal medicine to prevent and treat diseases, thousands of folk herbs have been continuously excavated, studied and popularized, and some herbs with good curative effect are gradually used in traditional Chinese medicine.

Traditional Chinese medicine (TCM) refers to the drugs used to prevent and treat diseases and to help diagnose diseases under the guidance of the theoretical system and therapeutic principles of TCM. These drugs come from nature, including plants, animals and minerals. Most of them are domestic medicinal materials recorded in ancient "herbal medicine" books, and a few are imported from abroad, such as frankincense, myrrh, nux vomica, saffron, rhinoceros horn, pepper, dragon's blood and so on. Because of their long use, they are all called traditional Chinese medicine.

What are the precious traditional Chinese medicines?

At present, there are 38 kinds of valuable traditional Chinese medicines commonly used in China. They are ginseng, Korean ginseng, American ginseng, dangshen, astragalus, rhodiola, Ganoderma lucidum, snow lotus, Angelica sinensis, Polygonum multiflorum, longan flesh, yellow essence, dendrobium, medlar, gastrodia, eucommia, cornel, Cordyceps sinensis, clam, ziheche, antler, deer antler gum, shellfish gum, turtle shell gum, sea dragon, hippocampus, sea horse, etc. Dog kidney, bird's nest, toad, notoginseng, saffron, dragon's blood, musk, white snake, antelope horn, bezoar, pearl.

Will Chinese medicines expire?

Most of the common Chinese medicines should be kept in a cool, ventilated and dry place, and the relative humidity of 35 to 70 degrees should be kept indoors. It is better not to put them in the refrigerator for refrigeration. However, high-end Chinese medicines such as Cordyceps sinensis and ginseng can be stored in a refrigerator at minus 5 degrees. In addition, there are some Chinese herbal medicines, such as orange peel and Ejiao, which need to be stored for more than five years and have better efficacy.

Generally speaking, it is better to eat Chinese medicines as soon as possible. Once the quality of the medicines decreases, the efficacy decreases. Sometimes, not only does it not play a role in health care, but also affects health. At present, the common view in the field of traditional Chinese medicine is that only when Chinese herbal medicine is preserved within its shelf life and proper preservation methods are adopted, can it be truly "guaranteed". Once the quality of Chinese herbal medicine declines and its efficacy decreases, it will not be able to cure diseases and save people. Naturally, it will not be able to maintain and increase its value, and the collection will be of no value.

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