Top 5 Chinese Herbal Remedies

I love Traditional Chinese Medicine. Most often, TCM herbalists pair formulas to individuals for specific conditions, but a few Chinese herbal remedies are good for more general use. I asked Rob of Acupuncture for the People in Eugene, OR, for his take on the Top 5 to keep in your herbal cabinet. (Find Rob at
  1. Yin Qiao
    A traditional formula for preventing cold that can include: Honeysuckle Flower, Forsythia fruit, Chinese Mint leaf, Prepared Soja seed, Platycodon root, Arctium lappa fruit, Chinese Licorice root, Schizonepeta herb, Phragmites rhizome, Lophatherum leaf.
  2. Gan Mao Ling
    This traditional formula releases external wind and clears toxins. It can include: Ilex asprella (Ilex asprella root), Evodia lepta (Evodia lepta herb), Wild chrysanthemum (Chrysanthemum indicum flower), Chaste tree (Vitex negundo herb), Woad (Isatis indigotica root), Honeysuckle (Lonicera japonica flower).
  3. Kang Ning Wan, aka Curing Pills
    This formula is for indigestion, like what you get from over-eating. It's sometimes called Healthy Peaceful Pills or Digestive Relief. The list of herbs in this one is too long to list!
  4. Nin Jiom Pei Pa Koa, aka Loquat Syrup
    Sore throats of all kinds are soothed by this herbal syrup blend. It can include: Loquat, Licorice, Ginger, Peppermint, Honey.
  5. Bian Pian, aka Bi Yan Pian
    After the cold's done or near done, and your nose won't dry up, this traditional formula's the one to try. It dispels wind and removes toxic heat from the nose. It can include: Cang Er Zi San (cang er zi - xanthium fruit, xin yi hua - magnolia flower, bai zhi - angelica dahurica root, and bo he - Chinese mint leaf and stem).
  6. Bonus: Tiger Balm
    This topical formula is wonderful for easing sore muscles and joints! The commercial one is petroleum-based, which isn't as effective as a beeswax version. I sell my formula, called Dragon's Kiss, at You can make your own, too. Get the recipe on The Practical Herbalist online (