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Traditional Chinese Medicine’s associated Five flavors & four energies

At Michigan Acupuncture Studio, we believe that the use of herbs in traditional Chinese medicine is an important aspect of treatment. Each herb has a unique set of properties that can help to treat specific ailments, and understanding the five flavors and four energies can give us clues as to what each herb can do.


The five flavors – pungent, bitter, sour, sweet, and salty – can give us an idea of what the herb can do within the body. For example, pungent herbs can disperse and move qi and blood, while bitter herbs can descend, drain, purge, dry dampness, and tonify yin.


The four energies – cool, cold, warm, and hot – describe the nature of the herb. For instance, mint is associated with the cold energy, while ginger is associated with the hot energy. Cool and cold herbs can clear heat, drain fire, cool the blood, and tonify yin, while warm and hot herbs can warm the yang, repair fire, clear cold, remove cold obstruction in the channels, and tonify yang.


With spring here, we can take a closer look at some of the beautiful flowers – known as ‘hua’ in Mandarin – around us and how they are used in traditional Chinese medicine. However, it is important to note that these herbs should only be taken as prescribed by an accredited practitioner and in the recommended forms, usually dried.


At Michigan Acupuncture Studio, we believe in a holistic approach to healing, and herbs are just one aspect of our treatments. By understanding the unique properties of each herb, we can create personalized herbal formulas that work in conjunction with acupuncture and other forms of traditional Chinese medicine to help our patients achieve optimal health and wellness. To learn more about our services and book an appointment, please visit our website.


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