Chinese herbal medicine covers broad content and is an important part of Traditional Chinese Medicine. However, plants (herbs) make up the bulk of prescriptions, followed by animal products and then minerals. In traditional Chinese medicine, herbal therapies are generally formula based and single herbs are rarely used.
TCM holds that every medicinal substance has its strengths and its shortcomings, and each ingredient in the formula should be carefully balanced in quality and quantity, in order to accentuate its efficacy while reducing side effects. The herbs are not simply added in a cumulative fashion but combined according to particular principles.
In addition, due to the complexity of individual conditions, the dose, the preparation method and even additional herbal components will frequently be modified. This part of skills needs extensive training and actual clinical experience, therefore appropriate formula prescriptions based on accurate differential diagnosis can only be made by qualified TCM physicians.