Categorization

There are several different methods to classify traditional Chinese medicinals: The Four Natures (simplified Chinese: ; traditional Chinese: ; pinyin: siqi) The Five Flavors (Chinese: ; pinyin: wuwei) The meridians (simplified Chinese: ; traditional Chinese: ; pinyin: jingluo) The specific function. [edit]Four Natures The Four Natures are: hot(?), warm(?), cool(?), cold(?) or neutral(?), in terms of temperature). Hot and warm herbs are used to treat cold diseases, while cool and cold herbs are used to treat heat diseases. [edit]Five Flavors The Five Flavors, sometimes also translated as Five Tastes, are: acrid/pungent(?), sweet(?), bitter(?), sour(?), and salty(?). Substances may also have more than one flavor, or none (i.e., a bland(?) flavor). Each of the Five Flavors corresponds to one of the zang organs, which in turn corresponds to one of the Five Phases: A flavor implies certain properties and therapeutic actions of a substance: saltiness "drains downward and softens hard masses"; sweetness is "supplementing, harmonizing, and moistening"; pungent substances are thought to induce sweat and act on qi and blood; sourness tends to be astringent(?) in nature; bitterness "drains heat, purges the bowels, and eliminates dampness". [edit]Meridians This classification refers not just to the meridian, but also to the meridian-associated zang-organ, which can be expected to be primarily affected by a given medicinal (there are 12 standard meridians in the b dy a medicinal can act upon). For example, traditional beliefs hold that menthol is pungent and cool and goes to the Lung and the Liver channels. The Traditional Chinese concept of the Lungs includes the function of protecting the body from colds, and menthol is thought to cool the Lungs and purge heat toxins caused by wind-heat invasion (one of the patterns of common cold). [edit]Specific function These categories mainly include: exterior-releasing or exterior-resolving heat-clearing downward-draining or precipitating wind-damp-dispelling dampness-transforming promoting the movement of water and percolating dampness or dampness-percolating interior-warming qi-regulating or qi-rectifying dispersing food accumulation or food-dispersing worm-expelling stopping bleeding or blood-stanching quickening the Blood and dispelling stasis or blood-quickening or Blood-moving. transforming phlegm, stopping coughing and calming wheezing or phlegm-transforming and cough- and panting-suppressing Spirit-quieting or Shen-calming. calming the Liver and expelling wind or Liver-calming and wind-extinguishing orifice-opening supplementing or tonifying: this includes qi-supplementing, blood-nourishing, yin-enriching, and yang-fortifying. astriction-promoting or securing and astringing vomiting-inducing substances for external application