Top Five (5) Herbs – Dang Gui is The Winner!

June 8, 2012

Here are some Friday morning thoughts that have been occupying our minds. For the last two (2) months (April and May 2012) the most frequently prescribed herbs were as follows:  

dang gui1.       Dang Gui – Angelica Sinensis, Radix

2.       Bai Shao

3.       Fu Ling

4.       Bai Zhu

5.       Huang Qi

They look like the usual suspects: Dang Gui and Bai Shao are both herbs in the category of herbs that tonify the blood. Fu Ling is in the category of dampness draining substances. Bai Zhu and Huang Qi are both part of the category herbs that tonify the Qi.

Is this perhaps indication of people running out of Qi and blood and needing supplementation? Are there more female clients than male clients and hence Dang Gui being the top herb? Or is it a reflection of what our practitioners primarily treat? Could it be seasonally related or is it significant for a particular type of TCM education (and practice)?  

So out comes an ‘old’ book and a fascinating discovery is made:  

Materia Medica

Sweet, acrid, warm

Shen Nong Ben Cao

Sweet, warm, non-toxic

  • Tonifies the blood and regulates the menses (blood deficiency patterns affecting Heart & Liver)
  • Invigorates and harmonises the blood and disperses cold
  • Moistens the intestines and unblocks the bowels
  • Reduces swelling, expels pus, generates flesh and alleviates pain
  • Treats coughs [ii]

Dang Gui is considered a herb of the superior class. Superior class medicinal are used as sovereigns because they are non-toxic, and can be taken in large amounts for a long time.

  • Treating mainly cough and counter flow Qi ascent
  • Warm malaria with fever persisting within the skin
  • Leaking causing infertility in females,
  • Various malign sores, and incised wounds
  • It can be [constantly] taken after being cooked. Its other name is Gan Gui (Dry Return).
  • It grows in rives and valleys. [iii]


[ii] Chinese Herbal Medicine Materia Medica 3rd edition, Compiled and Translated by D Bensky, S Clavey, E Stoeger with Andrew Gamble

[iii] The Divine Famer’s Materia Medica, A Translation of the Shen Nong Ben Cao Jing by Yang Shou-zhong



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