[TCM Herbs] Huang Qi【中草药】黄芪

  • 黄芪/北芪/黄耆 Astragalus root



Properties: Sweet, slightly warm.


Medicinal effects: Invigorates Qi and stabilises the Wei Qi (defensive Qi of the exterior), promote discharge of water/fluids, expels toxins and regenerates flesh (boosting immunity and healing ability of the body).


Suitable for: Chronic debilitating conditions, poor immunity, fatigue, spontaneous sweating, common cold, edema, diabetes (numbness, diabetic wounds/ gangrene)


Contraindication: When swelling/soreness/wounds just developed, or when soreness/redness is apparent, Huang Qi should not be used as it may aggravate the conditions.


Effects on blood glucose: Polysaccharides found in Huang Qi has a two-way regulation of blood glucose level. It does not affect the blood glucose levels of healthy mice but it helps to lower blood glucose levels of mice when there is an increased intake of glucose.


Mabel @ singaporetcmblog

缤缤 @ 新加坡中医学部落格



[TCM Herbs] Huai Shan【中草药】淮山

Today, I will be sharing with you one of my favourite herb- Chinese Yam, also known as Huai Shan or Shan Yao. If you do not develop any allergy after consuming Chinese Yam, you can actually add this ingredient into your meals! This herb is also commonly used to treat diabetes!

今天很高兴与大家分享一个我非常喜欢的中药—— 淮山。淮山也称山药。如果大家食用淮山后没有出现任何不良反应,不妨考虑在日常饮食中加入这位药食两用的中药!淮山其实也是治疗糖尿病的常用中药!









Properties: Sweet, neutral

Medicinal effects: Tonifies the spleen, lungs and kidneys. Improves digestive system, replenishes body fluids, boosts immunity and respiratory functions, improves reproductive functions

Suitable for: Poor appetite and poor digestion, cough due to Lung Qi deficiency, panting with weakness of the body, chronic cough, Kidney Qi and Yin deficiency,  diabetes (with symptoms of Qi and Yin deficiency), abnormal vaginal discharge, diarrhoea

Effect on blood glucose: The polysaccharide and mucus found in Chinese yam is able to reduce blood glucose level

Note 1⚠️: Fresh Chinese yam/ Dried Chinese yam should not be directly eaten (it should be cooked/boiled unlike Japanese yam). Some people may experience itchiness and redness of the skin when they come into direct contact with uncooked fresh Chinese yam. I recommend using gloves when handling the fresh yam during preparation. In addition, it is best for people with sensitive skin to consume a smaller amount of the fresh herb to prevent any undesired effect from occurring.

Note 2⚠️: Chinese yam has astringent properties. Those who are suffering from diarrhoea due to bacteria (bacterial gastroenteritis) or feel bloated should avoid this herb until they recover. Also, people should avoid consuming this herb when they have dry, hard stools.

生淮山 还是 炮制(干)淮山?

Fresh Chinese yam or Dried Chinese yam?




Fresh Chinese yam is usually used as a food ingredient (in soups, porridge etc.) whereas dried Chinese yam is usually used as a medicinal herb albeit it is sometimes used as a food ingredient too. Fresh Chinese yam is relatively more moisturising and better at nourishing the body Yin. Therefore, using fresh or dried Chinese yam depends on personal preference and needs.

So, is there anything that should not be consumed together with Chinese yam? Well, there are no official records in TCM that states that eating certain food/herbs with Chinese yam can cause harm to the body. However, since Chinese yam is essentially a nourishing herb, it is best to avoid consuming anything that has strong medicinal effect together with it.



Mabel @ singaporetcmblog

缤缤 @ 新加坡中医学部落格





[TCM Herbs] Ren Shen【中草药】人参

This post is the first follow-up of the previous blog post [Diabetes] Commonly used herbs in TCM remedies 【消渴症(糖尿病)】中医处方里常见的中药

  • 人参(Ren Shen)Ginseng



Properties:Sweet, slightly bitter, slightly warm

How it helps in diabetes treatment: Strongly tonifies the body’s Yuan (original) Qi which invigorates the human body. It is also known to promote blood circulation. In some clinical studies, it is shown that ginseng reduces insulin resistance and thus helps to normalise blood glucose levels.


So, the question is, which should be used in diabetes treatment: Asian Ginseng or American Ginseng?


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Both Ginseng and American ginseng have been used to treat patients with diabetes. However, it should be noted that TCM treatment takes into account a holistic view of the patient’s health and body condition. Speaking from personal experience, the concept of syndrome differentiation also allows TCM treatments to be flexible and dynamic. This is vital to patients because treatment is targeted to fix the body’s core problems (imbalances), thus boosting the body’s immunity while minimising adverse effects on the patient’s health. Hence, the overall heatiness/ coolness of the TCM prescription should suit the body constituent of the patient for treatment to be effective.

To sum up, Ginseng’s medicinal effect to tonify the spleen and lungs is relatively stronger than American ginseng but it is important to note the dosage used and complement it with other suitable herbs to prevent heatiness. American ginseng, on the other hand, is suited for patients with both Qi and Yin deficiency.




Mabel @ singaporetcmblog

缤缤 @ 新加坡中医学部落格

[Diabetes] Commonly used herbs in TCM remedies 【消渴症(糖尿病)】中医处方里常见的中药

In the classic texts of TCM, diabetes is known as a medical condition called “消渴” (Xiao Ke), which shows signs of increased hunger, increased thirst, frequent urination, weight loss, weakness etc. It is a long-term energy-depleting medical condition that leads to physical weakness of the body.

翻阅中医古书籍, “糖尿病” 这个名词不存在。不过,这不意味中医对糖尿病没有认识。中医以 “消渴” 这一病名指多食、多饮、多尿、尿甜、体瘦、虚弱等为主要特征的一种身体长期消耗而导致虚弱的疾病,近似现代医学的糖尿病。

Commonly used TCM herbs to alleviate the symptoms of diabetes or to stabilise blood glucose levels include:


  1. 人参 (Ren Shen) Ginseng
  2. 淮山 (Huai Shan) Chinese Yam
  3. 黄芪 (Huang Qi) Astragalus Root
  4. 枸杞 (Gou Qi) Chinese Wolfberry
  5. 桑椹 (Sang Shen) Mulberry
  6. 熟地黄 (Shu Di Huang) Processed Rehmannia Root
  7. 肉桂 (Rou Gui) Dried Cinnamon Bark
  8. 黄连 (Huang Lian) Coptis Rhizome 
  9. 石膏 (Shi Gao) CaSO4·2(H2O) / Gypsum Fibrosum 
  10. 知母 (Zhi Mu) Anemarrhena
  11. 葛根 (Ge Gen) Kudzu Root
  12. 麦冬 (Mai Dong) Dwarf Lilyturf Tuber
  13. 北沙参 (Bei Sha Shen) Coastal Glehnia Root
  14. 茯苓 (Fu Ling) Poria
  15. 冬虫夏草 (Dong Chong Xia Cao) Cordyceps

The dosage of herbs to be used varies according to individuals and can change over the course of treatment. Herbs that are used in a remedy should complement one another to suit the condition of the patient and it is important to consult your TCM doctor regarding the safe way to ingest the herbs. Usually, TCM herbs/medication should be taken with (warm) plain water. Avoid substituting plain water with tea, coffee or juice to prevent change in the medical effects of the herbs/medication.


In separate posts, I will share with you the basic medicinal properties of the above mentioned herbs, common misconceptions of them as well as simple recipes that you can try out at home!




Mabel @ singaporetcmblog

缤缤 @ 新加坡中医学部落格