DIY Chinese Herbal Medicine Cabinet

DIY Chinese Herbal Medicine Cabinet: Just as most folks keep a variety of over-the-counter medicines in their cabinet at home, it’s a great idea to have common Chinese herbal medicine products on hand for when you might benefit from having them. Chinese herbal medicine has been around for thousands of years, and is used worldwide today. Chinese herbal medicines are derived from the roots, twigs, bark, leaves, sap and flowers of plants, as well as from animals, insects and minerals. They are available in raw form, or in powder, capsule, pill and tablet, liquid tincture, ointment and salve form. Pre-made formulas are called patent medicines, and for most people these are the easiest to use. They usually contain a carefully selected combination of ingredients for more effectiveness and to reduce potential side effects.

Here are a few I recommend having in your cabinet or travel first aid kit:

Pain Corydalis Formula can be used to treat many types of pain, as well as cramps and spasms. With its strong pain-relieving actions, Corydalis Formula provides an effective alternative to over-the-counter pain relievers such as aspirin or ibuprofen. Chuan Xiong Cha Tiao Wan (Ligusticum Tea Headache Pills) is a traditional prescription for acute onset headache, particularly those due to exposure to pathogenic Wind. It is popular as an all-purpose headache remedy, including chronic headache, when due to excess (wind, cold, humidity) rather than deficiency. Traditionally the formula is taken with a cup of green or black tea to induce sweating.. Additional benefit is from drinking the tea while in a hot bath, followed by getting under bed covers to facilitate sweating. (Fratkin, Chinese Herbal Patent Medicines)

Pill Curing (Kan Ning Wan) is an excellent popular formula for acute digestive discomfort, such as nausea, upset stomach, stomach flu, diarrhea, loose stools, belching, excessive flatulence and morning sickness. It also provides quick relief from indigestion and discomfort due to overeating, overdrinking and hangover.

Gan Mao Ling Formula is an effective formula to help stave off a common cold. It’s most effective when taken at the first sign of a cold, and to reduce its severity. When a common cold is going around your workplace or school, take Gan Mao Ling as a preventative and to help boost your immune system.

Ching Wan Hung is an ointment you can keep in your kitchen for treating burns. It immediately reduces pain from burns, can lessen the severity of burns and speed up healing.

Yunnan Bai Yao should be part of every first aid kit. It quickly stops both internal and external bleeding. Apply the powder topically to a cut or wound. It can also be taken internally to help with excessive menstrual bleeding or breakthrough bleeding for women, and can be taken before surgery to reduce bleeding during the operation, reduce post-surgical swelling and speed up recovery.

Children’s Ear Formula (Hai Er Fang) is effective for treating acute, painful or inflamed ear infections. It is a nice alternative to Western antibiotics, and can be used by adults as well as for children.

In summary, DIY Chinese Herbal Medicine Cabinet can offer you safe and time-tested natural remedies that can be used to help you and your family with common health concerns. They can also be used for more serious health issues, but in such cases they should be prescribed by your acupuncturist/Chinese herbalist after a thorough exam and diagnosis.


Jampa Stewart, MSOM, L.Ac. is a board certified acupuncturist and practicing Chinese herbalist. Consultations and treatments can be scheduled by calling 860-619-2788. All these herbal medicines are available at Valley Spirit Cooperative & Wellness Center.

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