Handbook of Formulas in Chinese Medicine
406 pages
180 illustrations and photos
Smyth-sewn softcover
ISBN: 0-939616-84-X

Handbook of Formulas in Chinese Medicine

Price: $75.00
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Handbook of Formulas in Chinese Medicine is a concise, visual reference to over 180 of the most important herbal formulas in Chinese medicine. The book is designed to provide a snapshot of the formulas and help the reader take in key information at a glance. 

Each formula is presented as a two-page spread. On the left is a drawing of a person showing an aspect that is typical of the type of patient for whom the formula might be prescribed. The drawing is labelled with key symptoms. Under the drawing is a list of ingredients followed by basic information: actions, main pattern, key and secondary symptoms, tongue, pulse and abdomen. This can be absorbed in just a few moments.

Additional detail is set forth in clinical notes, and other formulas with similar indications are discussed for purposes of comparison.

On the right page is a full display of the composition of the formula. Each of the ingredients is color coded to show its taste and temperature, and the overall nature of the formula—warming, cooling, neutral etc.—can be seen at a glance. The role that each ingredient plays in the formula (chief, deputy, assistant, envoy) as well as its actions are also shown.

An introduction discusses how different types of processing affect the functions of particular herbs, and there is a helpful introduction to the Japanese approach to abdominal diagnosis and its value in prescribing herbs. A formula index (by pinyin and English common name) and an index of patterns and key symptoms are included.

Read an excerpt (PDF)


  • Introduction
        Table 1: Common Methods of Processing Herbs
        Table 2: Herbs that are Commonly Processed 
  • The Formulas 
  • Index of Formulas by Pinyin 
  • Index of Formulas by English Common Name 
  • Index of Patterns and Key Symptoms


"I wish this book had been published while I was studying! It would have been a wonderful book to learn from. The color coding and deconstructed format make it a useful book to have on hand."
—Davina Mercuri, The Lantern

"The Handbook of Formulas in Chinese Medicine is a neat and sharp reference tool for two types of practitioner: those with a busy clinic who are in need of a quick reference guide, and students or new practitioners wanting learning aids and checks on their recently acquired knowledge."
—Sarah Price, The Journal of Chinese Medicine

“This book is pitched primarily at Chinese herb students and it fulfills the needs of this market in a way that is close to ideal. ... [T]he handbook seems destined to become the standard introductory student text on formula study.”
—Charles Buck, The Register of Chinese Herbal Medicine Journal (U.K.)