Portulaca oleracea L.

Species: Portulaca oleracea L.

English Name: Purslane 

Chinese Name: 马齿苋

Family: Portulacaceae


Annual herbs, somewhat succulent, glabrous. Stem usually pale purple-red. Its leaves fleshy, flat, oblong-eliptic to obovate. Flowers are yellow, blooming between summer and autumn. Capsules are dehiscent by a lid.

Preparation: Whole plant is used. It can be collected in summer or autumn and used fresh or dried under the sun after it is steamed.

Properties: Sour in taste, cold in nature.

Actions and indications: Clears heat, expels damp, cools blood-heat, removes toxic substances. Indicated for bacillary dysentery, acute gastroenteritis, mastitis, hemorrhoidal bleeding, leucorrhea. External use for... Read more »

Polygonum chinense L.

Species: Polygonum chinense L.

English Name:  Chinese Knotweed

Chinese Name: 火炭母

Family: Polygonaceae


Perennial trailing herbs. Its stems are glabrous with young purple-red branches. Leaves are alternate, ovate-eliptic, base truncate or subcordate, with purple blotches on upper surface. Flowers are small, white or pale-red.

It can be found growing on wastelands, roadsides and other wet places near villages.

Preparation: Whole herb is used. It can be collected all year round, used fresh or sun-dried.

Properties: Slightly sour and astringent in taste, cool in nature.

Actions and Indications: Clears heat, removes toxic substances, expels damp,... Read more »

Amaranthus spinosus

Species: Amaranthus spinosus

English Name: Spiny Amaranth

Chinese Name: 刺莧

Family: Amaranthaceae


Annual or perennial herbs. The stem is erect, green or somewhat tinged purple, 30-100 cm tall.  Leaves are simple, alternate, petioled, with a pair of sharp spines at the base of petioles. Flowers are unisexual or polygamous, arranged in axillary or terminal panicles. Utricles are oblong.

It can be found growing on wastelands, roadsides or grasslands near villages.

Preparation: Whole herb and root are used. They can be collected in the summer and autumn. Used fresh or sun-dried.

Properties: Sweet, bland in taste, cool in nature.

Actions and Indications: Clears heat,... Read more »

Achyranthes aspera

Species: Achyranthes aspera

English Name: Common Achyranthes

Chinese Name: 土牛膝

Family: Amaranthaceae

Herbs perennial, 20-120 cm tall. Stem tetragonal, pubescent with nodes slightly inflated. Its branches are opposite, with petioled, ovoid or obovate leaves. Flowers are arranged in a spike, erect upwards before flowering.

It can be found growing on wastelands, roadside and near villages.

Preparation: Whole plant is used. It can be collected in summer and autumn, well washed, chopped and sun-dried.

Properties: Slightly bitter in taste, cool in nature.

Actions and Indications: Clears heat, relieves exterior syndrome, promotes diuresis. Indicated for common cold marked by fever; tonsillitis, mumps, rheumatic arthritis,... Read more »

Ficus pumila

Species: Ficus pumila

English Name: Creeping Fig

Chinese Name: 薜荔

Family: Moraceae


Climbing or creeping woody vine, with heteromorphism. Leaves alternate, those on creepy branches small and thin, cordate-ovate or oblong, base oblique. Syconium solitary. axillary, pear-shaped or obovate, pale-yellow when ripe.

It can be found climbing on rocks, walls and tree trunks.

Preparation: Mainly receptacle of the hypanthodium is used. The fruit (syconium) is collected when it is ripe, after removing the seeds, cut it into 2-4 pieces and sun-dry.

Properties: Sweet in taste, mild in nature.\

Actions and Indications: Invigorates kidney, relieves nocturnal emission, activates blood circulation, promotes lactation, expels wind, activates... Read more »

Gnetum parvifolium

Species:   Gnetum parvifolium

English Name: Small-leaved Joint-fir

Chinese Name: 小葉買麻藤

Family: Gnetaceae


Evergreen gymnosperm. Woody vine, nodes swollen. Leaves opposite, long-ovate. Blooming in summer. Monoecious, wrapped by red arils, resembling a cluster of red grapes.

Preparation: Stem is used. It can be collected all year round; used fresh or sun-dried.

Properties: Bitter in taste, slightly warm in nature.

Actions and indications: Expels wind, activates blood circulation, relieves swelling, alleviates pain, resolves sputum, relieves cough. Indicated for rheumatic arthralgia, lumbar muscle strain,m acute respiratory infection, pancreatitis, ulcerous bleeding, ect.


Photos used under a Read more »

Cycas revoluta

Species: Cycas revoluta

English Name: Sago-palm Cycas

Chinese Name: 蘇鐵、鐵樹

Family: Cycadaceae


Palm-like evergreen trees. Trunk sturdy, cylindric, single, densely covered by leaf scars or the persisting bases of the old leaves and spine-like cataphylls. Leaves are large, clustered on trunk top, pinnatipartite. It can grow up to 6-7 m, but it will take around 50 to 100 years for it to get that high. It is mostly cultivated.

Living fossil.

Preparation: Leaves, flowers, seed and roots used. Roots and leaves collected all year round while flowers in summer, seed in autumn and winter. Washed, and... Read more »

Pinus massoniana

Species: Pinus massoniana

English Name: Chinese Red Pine

Chinese Name: 馬尾松

Family: Pinaceae


Pinaceae. Evergreen large tree. Leaves needle-shaped, dark green, in fascicles of 2, 12-20cm long. Flowers unisexual, monoecious, blooming in spring. Cones ovoid, ripe in winter.

Grows on sunny hills.

Preparation: Needle leaf, rosin, nodes, pollen, bark, branch tip, and kernel are used. Pollen is collected in spring, sun-dried and sifted.

Properties: Needle leaf: bitter, astringent in taste, warm in nature. Rosin: bitter, sweet in taste, warm in nature. Node: bitter in taste, warm in nature. Pollen: sweet in taste, warm in nature. Bark and branch tip: bitter, astringent... Read more »

Nelumbo nucifera

Species: Nelumbo nucifera

English Name:  Lotus

Chinese Name: 蓮

Family: Nymphaeaceae


Perennial aquatic herbs. Rhizome creeping horizontally. The petioles are held out above the surface of the water, the blades are orbicular, centrally peltate, waxy above. Flower terminal at tip of pedicel, large, fragrant, dark red, pink, white or pale green.

Its is mostly cultivated in ponds.

Preparation: Whole herb is used. The rhizome can be collected in autumn, flower and stamen in June to August. The seeds and receptacle are harvested in July to October and the green embryo removed from the seeds.... Read more »

Ginkgo biloba

Species: Ginkgo biloba 

English Name:  Gingko

Chinese Name: 銀杏

Family: Ginkgoaceae


Ginkgo biloba is the oldest living tree species. A single tree can live as long as 1,000 years and grow to a height of 120 feet. It has short branches with fan-shaped leaves and inedible fruits that smell bad. The fruit has an inner seed, which may be poisonous.

It  has a long history of being used in traditional medicine to treat blood disorders and improve memory, and it’s best known today as way to potentially keep your memory sharp. Laboratory studies have shown that ginkgo improves... Read more »