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Chinese Herbs "The Heart stores the Shen (Houses the Mind)"
Learn the Chinese Herbs!
TCM Herb Qualities
Tastes & Properties TCM Herb Explorer
General TCM Herbs
Drug Interactions Incompatible Herbs Toxic or Endangered Latin Name Notes

Chinese Herb Tastes and Properties

The Five Tastes (Wu Wei)

Spicy (Xin) - Yang in Nature

Substances that enter the Lung Meridian.

Spicy substances can scatter, disperse, and move.

  • Diaphoretic, Treats Cold, and is Nourishing
  • Invigorates Blood and Moves Blood Stagnation

Sweet (Gan) - Yang in Nature

Substances that enter the Spleen Meridian.

Sweet substances can scatter, tonify, harmonize, and are sometimes thought to moisten.

  • Alleviate Pain and Spasms
  • Nourish and Tonify the Middle Jiao
  • Changes the taste of Herbal Formula

Bitter (Ku) - Yin in Nature

Substances that enter the Heart Meridian.

Bitter substances can drain, clear Heat, dry Dampness, and descend Fire.

  • Asthma
  • Constipation
  • Retention of Dampness due to Heat or Cold

Sour (Suan) - Yin in Nature

Substances that enter the Liver Meridian.

Sour substances can drain, astringes, improve digestion, soften the arteries, and prevent or reverse the abnormal leakage of energy and fluids.

  • Diarrhea
  • Spermatorrhea
  • Excess Perspiration
  • Softens Arteries

Salty (Xian) - Yin in Nature

Substances that enter Kidneys.

Salty substances can drain, purge, and soften masses

  • Softens and Dissolves Lumps and Masses
  • Constipation
  • Reduce Phlegm

Extra Tastes/Properties

Bland (Dan) - Yang in Nature

Substances that seep and drain, leech out dampness and promote urination

  • Edema
  • Dysuria

Astringent (Se) - Yin in Nature

  • Diarrhea
  • Bleeding
  • Spermatorrhea
  • Frequent Urination
  • Excess Perspiration