TCM Herbal Medicine Database (Herbs That Start With "R")

Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM) offers an extremely valuable, rich, lengthy, and extensive herbal treatment history. Within it are thousands of years of development and research which we benefit from greatly today. As opposed to some forms of herbalism and western medicine, Chinese herbs are often used in formulas instead of being used singularly in larger amounts. Formulas allow you to blend herbs to enhance their positive effects and reduce or eliminate any negative side effects they may have. These formulas take years and years of practice to master and many are kept within families and or generations of teacher-student transmissions. This rich tradition is a very valuable gift from previous generations.

The true benefit of this herbal tradition, as with acupuncture, is that it allows practitioners to blend formulas to match each patient and their signs and symptoms exactly. Instead of having a standard formula for a particular condition you can increase the clinical effectiveness of the herbs through this tailoring. For the patient this ideally means faster results with less side-effects.

Our Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM) herbal database contains usage information for the majority of the herbs used in clinical settings around the world. Listed within this section are individual herbs, however, in clinical treatment settings you would most often combine these into formulas for usage. The herbs listed here may be ground into powders and put into capsules, cooked into teas, used topically, taken raw, etc. You should never attempt herbal treatment without proper training as some of the herbs are toxic and need to be prepared correctly and others can have side-effects without being used in proper amounts and/or mixed properly into appropriate formulas.


You may view the individual herbs by clicking on the first letter of the Chinese Name or by searching through other groupings such as by channel, properties, or functions & actions (which also contains summary/study notes for each grouping).


This section is very much a work in progress, so please check back if you are not finding the herbal information you are looking for.

Herb Name Functions and Usage
Ren Dong Teng (Honeysuckle Stem)
  • The stem of the honeysuckle plant (Jin Yin Hua) - similar functions, abscesses, sores, damp-heat bi syndromes.
Ren Shen (Ginseng Root)
  • Strongly tonify yuan qi - extreme collapse of qi, shortness of breath, cold limbs, profuse sweating, weak pulse (often used alone for this condition after severe blood loss).
  • Tonify lung qi - wheezing, shortness of breath, w/kidneys failing to grasp the qi.
  • Strengthen the middle warmer - lethargy, no appetite, chronic diarrhea, prolapse of organs, distended chest/abdomen.
  • Generates fluids, stops thirst - xiao ke, damaged fluid due to high dever and profuse sweating.
  • Benefits heart qi, calms the spirit - palpitations, anxiety, insomnia, poor memory, restlessness due to qi and/or blood deficiency.
Rou Cong Rong (Fleshy Stem of Broomrape)
  • Tonify kidneys, strengthen yang - reproductive and urinary disorders such as impotence, spermatorrhea, urinary incontinence, posturinary dripping, cold pains in lower back and knees.
  • Warms womb - infertility, excessive uterine bleeding, leukorrhea from cold deficiency.
  • Moistens instestines - constipation, good for elderly or younger patients with blood and/or qi deficiency.
Rou Dou Kou (Nutmeg Seeds)
  • Binds the intestines, stops chronic/daybreak diarrhea due to cold from spleen and kidney deficiency.
  • Warms the middle burner, moves Qi - alleviates pain in abdomen, vomiting due to cold from deficiency of the spleen and stomach.
Rou Gui (Dried Cinammon Bark)
  • Warms the kidneys and fortifies yang - aversion to cold, cold limbs, weak back, impotence, frequent urination; also for waning of spleen and kidney yang with abdominal pain and cold, reduced appetite, diarrhea; wheezing due to failure of the kidneys to grasp the Qi.
  • Leads floating yang back to its source - upward floating of deficient yang; flushed face, wheezing, severe sweating (like oil), weak and cold lower extremities, deficient and rootless pulse (false heat-true cold, or heat above-cold below).
  • Disperses deep cold, warms the channels, alleviates pain due to cold causing qi or blood stasis; amenorrhea, dysmenorrhea.
  • Encourages generation of Qi and blood.
Ru Xiang (Frankincense)
  • Invigorate blood, dispel blood stasis, alleviate pain - trauma, carbuncles and swellings, chest and/or abdominal pain.
  • Relax the sinews, invigorates the channels, alleviates pain - bi syndromes, rigidity, spasms.
  • Reduces swellings, generates flesh - topically for sores, carbuncles, traumatic injury.