Chinese Medicine, also known as Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM) uses many therapeutic modalities. Chinese herbal medicine is one of the main therapies. Its development has been a never ending process for more than four thousand years. Chinese herbal medicine follows the theories of holistic and integrative principles. Therapies are based on understanding the relationship between the part and the whole, differentiate appearance and symptom from true cause, and treating each individual patient as unique.
The foundation for Chinese Herbal Medicine is the Chinese Materia Medica. Over six thousand substances have been used and their effects documented and researched over the past four thousand years. Clinical uses with empirical observations from millions of medical cases have created a knowledge base of individual substances as well as prescriptions of complex formulas. This Chinese Materia Medica is unparalleled and unsurpassed in the world's medical knowledge.
Stories about the use of herbs to improve human health are older than Chinese Herbal Medicine itself. Early legends about herbal medicine are believed to have started with Shen Nong (The Divine Farmer). He introduced agriculture and animal husbandry into ancient China. According to an ancient book, Shen Nong tasted a hundred herbs and encountered seventy poisonous herbs each day."