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The Changing Qualities of Chinese Herbal Medicines

The Changing Qualities of Chinese Herbal Medicines

In Chinese, the character 性 xing represents the complete character of a substance, which is not synonymous with plant name, genus, species or previously documented medicinal action or indication. Rather, 性 xing is the totality of what an individual herb actually is and therefore does in a patient’s body at the moment of its use. It is important to recognise that the 性 xing of a natural substance is not static, but changes through location and climate, and continues to shift as a plant dries, ages, becomes mouldy, loses essential oils due to storage, is ground into powder, prepared into pills, steeped for minutes or cooked for hours. This article explores these aspects of Chinese herbal medicines, particularly in relation to clinical practice.

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SKU: JCM 117-19


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AuthorJulieAnn Nugent-Head

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