Cover image for Chinese Herbal Medicine: Materia Medica (Portable 3rd Ed.)
1325 pages, 8" x 10"
Fully illustrated
Flex-case hardcover
ISBN: 0-939-616-82-3

Chinese Herbal Medicine: Materia Medica (Portable 3rd Ed.)

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$135.00 until July 14, 2024
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The new portable edition of Chinese Herbal Medicine: Materia Medica (Portable 3rd Ed.) is designed to provide students and practitioners with the same comprehensive and authoritative content that they’ve always relied on, but in a lightweight and more flexible format.

The Materia Medica provides a wealth of information and practical insight into more than 530 of the most commonly used herbs in the Chinese pharmacopoeia. Drawing from a wide range of sources, both classical and modern, it provides unparalleled perspective and detail that goes far beyond what is available elsewhere to the Western practitioner. Among its many features:

  • Herbs are grouped in chapters by function, with expanded summaries and tables for contrast and comparison. Each herb is identified by its pharmaceutical, pinyin, botanical, and family names, as well as Chinese, Japanese, Korean, and English common names. 
  • Key characteristics are provided at the beginning of each entry, along with dosage, properties, channels entered, and relevant cautions and contraindications. This provides a quick overview of essential information. Actions and indications are integrated with important combinations that illustrate the range of an herb’s functions, with references to appropriate formulas. This presents a more three-dimensional picture of how each herb is actually used.  
  • Expanded commentary offers in-depth analysis and places each herb in its clinical context through rich historical references. The mechanisms of action underlying important combinations, and comparisons with similar herbs, provide a broader context for understanding how the herb can be used with optimal effect. 
  • A section devoted to nomenclature and preparation describes the most important methods of processing and preparing each herb, and the advantages of each method. It also provides information about other commonly-used names and historical background. 
  • Safety is an important focus of this edition, with an emphasis on proper herb identification. Issues concerning standardized products, desirable qualities, variants, and adulterants are explained for each herb. There is also extensive information on toxicity, as well as chemical constituents. 
  • The utility of this book is enhanced by its wide range of appendices, among which are color photographs comparing the standard and adulterant forms of over 20 common herbs; tables of herbs that are indicated for specific pathologies of the five yin organs, and the effects of taste combinations; and extensive cross references of the herbs by taxonomy, pinyin, pharmaceutical name, and other East Asian languages. There are also comprehensive indices of both herbs and formulas, as well as a general index.

Read an excerpt (PDF)


  • Preface 
  • Introduction 
  • Herbs that Release the Exterior 
  • Herbs that Clear Heat 
  • Downward-Draining Herbs 
  • Herbs that Drain Dampness 
  • Herbs that Dispel Wind-Dampness 
  • Herbs that Transform Phlegm and Stop Coughing 
  • Aromatic Herbs that Transform Dampness 
  • Herbs that Relieve Food Stagnation 
  • Herbs that Regulate the Qi 
  • Herbs that Regulate the Blood 
  • Herbs that Warm the Interior and Expel Cold 
  • Tonifying Herbs Herbs that Stabilize and Bind 
  • Substances that Calm the Spirit 
  • Aromatic Substances that Open the Orifices 
  • Substances that Extinguish Wind and Stop Tremors 
  • Herbs that Expel Parasites 
  • Substances for Topical Application 
  • Obsolete Substances 
  • Table 1 Herbs Associated with Pathologies of the Five Yin Organs 
  • Table 2 Summary Table of Herb Actions and Indications 
  • Table 3 The Effects of Taste Combinations 
  • Appendix 1 Guide to Pronunciation 
  • Appendix 2 Table of Chinese Dynasties 
  • Appendix 3 Glossary 
  • Appendix 4 Sample Photographs: Adulterants & Quality Issues 
  • Appendix 5 Table of Authors 
  • Appendix 6 Historical and Source Text Bibliography 
  • Appendix 7 Translators’ Bibliography 
  • Appendix 8 Cross Reference of Pharmaceutical Names with Previous Edition 
  • Herb and formula index 
  • Pinyin-pharmaceutical cross reference 
  • English-pharmaceutical cross reference 
  • Japanese-pharmaceutical cross reference 
  • Korean-pharmaceutical cross reference 
  • Botanical, zoological, and mineral index 
  • General index


"The new 3rd edition of Chinese Herbal Medicine: Materia Medica raises the bar on the practice of herbal medicine in the West. Its commentaries on individual herbs and their combinations provide a wealth of practical information previously unavailable in English. The book is not just informative, it's fun to read."
—Charles Chace, L.Ac.

"I use your book several times each day. It's totally invaluable. Thank you for providing us all with such an indispensable tool. I'm immensely grateful!"
—Christine Leon, Head, Chinese Medicinal Plants Authentication & Conservation Centre, Royal Botanic Gardens

"[The 3rd edition] sets a new standard of excellence for Chinese herbals. The level of scholarship in this book is a reminder of what is possible through a combination of intellect, integrity, and hard work. A 'must' for the clinic and the classroom."
—Craig Mitchell, L.Ac.

"A vastly improved edition. The commentary, comparisons, and new data on nomenclature and quality control all add considerably to previous editions and other versions of the Materia Medica. In particular, the descriptions of herbal individuality and applications which are rooted in traditional energetics and classical references are the great strength of this book."
—The Journal of Chinese Medicine