By Dr. Yuri Belopolsky
Chinese herbal knowledge has been passed down through oral tradition from doctor to doctor for thousands of years. Early literature that mentions herbal prescriptions includes a manuscript from the Mawangdui Tombs (168 B.C.). This manuscript was titled "Recipes for 52 Ailments" and included herbal prescriptions for specific conditions.
Chinese herbal medicine uses mostly herbs but also incorporates minerals and both animal and human products. Traditional herbal combinations have been refined for hundreds of years through empirical science and include thousands of medicinal combinations that enable Chinese medical practitioners to prescribe based on a person's individual condition.
Chinese herbs can be prescribed in a variety of forms. Today, we use raw herbs and make healing decoctions from them. Herbs are also available as concentrated herbal powders and in pill form.