Chuanxiong

Ingredient Name: Chuanxiong, Szechuan lovage, lovage

Traditional Chinese Name: 川芎 (Chuānxiōng)

What is this?
  • A fundamental herb in Chinese medicine
  • This herb belongs to the carrot family, is native to East Asia and is a perennial herb with massive fist-like rhizomes
  • The rhizome itself is irregular shaped and brown in color
  • You can find this root available as dried, powdered, sliced, tablets, capsules and even root oil

How do I prepare it?

  • Soak in warm water for 10 minutes and rinse before usage

Where can I buy this?

  • Some wet marts will have this in the herbal shops
  • Chinese medicine shops will definitely have this as well (and it does come in various sizes, shapes and forms)

What is the cost?

  • This is not an expensive herb
  • It is commonly sold together with other ingredients (for the tea, drink or Chinese medicine you want to make)

Any benefits?

  • Chuanxiong helps with the circulation of the qi
  • It aids in expelling wind from the body
  • It is antibacterial, antiviral and can act as an anti-inflammatory agent
  • One of the valuable properties of this plant is it pain killing ability
  • It is commonly used to improve blood circulation (such as irregular menstruation or amenorrhea)
  • Chuanxiong is also good for reducing abdominal pain, head pains, head aches, pain due to injuries

Any precautions?

  • Take caution when serving to children (use in moderation as with all Chinese medicine)
  • It is recommended that pregnant women also avoid this herb (but conversely is used in postpartum treatment to eliminate excess blood)
  • If you’ve got a naturally warm body, use with caution as sometimes “warm”  ingredients or soups will make you heated
  • Be sure to purchase from a reputable source

Additional Information

  • Store in a dry and cool place (up to 6 months)

Fried Licorice Root

Ingredient Name: Mizhi Licorice root, Fried Licorice (Liquorice), Sweet root, Chinese Licorice, Glycyrrhiza uralensis

Traditional Chinese Name: 灸甘草 (jiǔ gān cǎo)

What is this?

  • This is a variation of the Licorice root, but is prepared with honey and fried
  • The root of the licorice plant which is extracted and dried
  • Common Chinese herbal ingredient and often found in Chinese medicines
  • Mainly grown in China (Eastern & Northern parts)
  • Slightly sweet in flavor
  • The fried version is said to be more effective on the stomach and relieving diarrhea

How do I prepare it?

  • Rinse in warm water prior to use

Where can I buy this?

  • This is available in most Asian supermarkets
  • Also available in Chinese herbals stores

What is the cost

  • 10 g cost around $2-3 HKD
  • Extremely affordable

Any benefits?

  • Used to aid cough, sore throat, asthma and remove phlegm
  • Helps in detoxifying the body
  • Helps relieve diarrhea
  • When it is fried, it is considered warm

Any precautions?

  • People with heart disease or high blood pressure should be cautious about using licorice

References

Atractylodes or Bai Zhu

Ingredient Name: Atractylodes, atractylodes lancea, bai zhu, dong zhu, xia zhu

Traditional Chinese Name: 白朮 (bai zhu)

What is this?
  • This is the rhizome of a plant in the genus that is similar to that of the daisy
  • The rhizome is dried and the stems and roots are cut from it
  • The atractylode is a common Chinese herb and is bitter and warm in characteristics
  • It is used to treat dampness (ideal for the Spring), reduce sweating, promotes digestion and acts on the spleen and stomach
  • It is primarily used in Chinese medicines more than soups (used in teas)
  • Good condition bai zhu is slightly sticky to texture and moist

How do I prepare it?

  • Soak in warm water for 10 minutes and rinse before usage

Where can I buy this?

  • Some wet marts will have this in the herbal shops
  • Chinese medicine shops will definitely have this as well (and it does come in various sizes)

What is the cost?

  • This is not an expensive herb
  • It is commonly sold together with other ingredients (for the tea you want to make)

Any benefits?

  • It is used to treat dampness (ideal for the Spring), reduce sweating, promotes digestion and acts on the spleen and stomach
  • It is slightly warm, but does also remove heatiness (by carrying some heat out of the body through elimination of dampness)
  • It improves the overall immune system
  • Atractylodes is also anti bacterial and helps lower blood sugar levels

Any precautions?

  • Take caution when serving to children (use in moderation as with all Chinese medicine)
  • If you’ve got a naturally warm body, use with caution as sometimes “warm”  ingredients or soups will make you heated
  • Be sure to purchase from a reputable source

Additional Information

  • Store in a dry and cool place (up to 6 months)

 

Astragalus Root

Ingredient Name:  Astragalus Root, Huang Qi, Bei Qi, Milk Vetch

Chinese Name: 黃耆 (huang qi) or 北芪 (bei qi)

What is this?
  • It is a very common Chinese herb and can be found in the household soups (as well as in Chinese medicine)
  • The astragalus root comes from a legume (specifically the pea family) and may also be called yellow milk vetch
  • The root looks like dried wood and is usually light in body color with some dark pigmentation
  • It is normally prepared as pictured above in thin, long pieces
  • The herb is said to offer multiple health benefits and is often used to strengthen qi, boost the body’s immune system and help with heart functions
  • It is slightly heaty with a slightly sweet taste

How do I prepare it?

  • Simply rinse under running water and it is ready to use

Where can I buy this?

  • The astragalus root can be purchased at most Chinese dried herb shops

What is the cost?

  • 1 pound of dried astragalus root costs approximately $10 CAD

Any benefits?

  • The astragalus root has been a steple of chinese medicine for centuries and is often used to strengthen qi and boost the body’s immune system
  • According to Western medicine astragalus helps to stimulate the body by producing a substance known as interferon while boosting red blood cell formation. Interferon, an anti viral agent, helps the body when destroying viruses and other harmful microbes
  • The astragalus is a common ingredient to help build, retain and maintain heat in the body
  • Another benefit of astragalus is its ability to boost energy levels and vitality. Also, astragalus root has been linked to improving blood circulation

Any precautions?

  • When used appropriately, astragalus appears to be very safe and to have few side effects
  • However, very high doses may suppress the immune system