The earliest record about Chinese herbs was dated back to 2,070 B.C. The legend has it that Shennong tasted hundreds of herbs to test their medical value and the record was passed down through the generations.

Chinese medicine has evolved over the past 4,000 years. In addition to the herbal medicine (e.g. roots, stems, leaves and fruits of plants), Chinese medicinal doctors nowadays also make medicine from animal parts (internal organs, skins and skulls) and from other minerals. As herbal medicine still makes up the vast majority of all, the herbal medicine is what always inferred when people talking about Chinese medicine. There are over 5,000 types of Chinese medicine in China. Every herb has its own nutritional and medicinal values. The Chinese medicinal doctors would mix different herbs together for powering up or complementary purposes, so as to cure different types of diseases.

All the Chinese herbs are processed or refined, as to prolong the storage time, better preserve their nutritional values, or to get rid of any impurities or toxins within.

Before we talk about the values and functions of Chinese herbs, it is necessary that we first know of some basic theories about Chinese medicines. This will make it easier for us to choose the herbs that fit our body needs, and understand under what circumstances should we use a particular herb.

 

有關草藥的記載,在中國最遠古可追朔至夏朝(公元前2,070年)。相傳神農嘗百草,並將其醫學上功效記下,一代一代承傳下去。

經過四千年的演化,現代中醫所用的藥主要由植物藥 (根、莖、葉、果),動物藥 (內臟、皮、骨)和礦物藥組成。由於植物佔大多數,中藥亦被稱為中草藥。中國各地使用的中藥達5000種。每種草藥有自己的營養價值及療效,中醫亦會將不同草藥複合成藥方,令功效更強,或亙補不足,醫治更多不同的疾病。

坊間所售賣的中草藥,都經過處理或煉製,目的在於延長保存時間,令其有效成分含量不變,及去除當中的雜質或毒性。

要認識中草藥的價值及功用, 是需要先認識一些中醫藥的理論基礎。這樣就會更了解哪一些草藥較適合自己體質,以及在什麼情況下使用什麼草藥會較恰當。