Chinese Medicine Division

Pamphlet

How to Choose Between Herbal Tonics and Food Tonics

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How to Choose Between Herbal Tonics and Food Tonics

Strengthening the body with Chinese herbal medicines (herbal tonics) or food (food tonics) is one of the methods of treatment and health preservation in Chinese medicine. How should we choose between them?

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Food and Chinese herbal medicines

•In Chinese medicine, herbals and food are considered sharing the same origin - they are products of nature. However, food and Chinese herbal medicines are different in properties, usage and scope of application.

(Rad date, water melon, lotus root, honey and ginger are used daily as food. They can be used for medicinal purposes.)

•Generally mild in nature, food provides nutrients to the body and is of wide application. Food can be used to preserve and maintain health in everyday life, or acts as a supplement for the prevention and treatment of illnesses.

(Food maintaining health in everyday life)

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•Chinese herbal medicines are more potent and have medicinal properties. They are mainly used for treating illnesses by restoring the balance of yin and yang in the body. They should be taken according to a specified usage and dosage. Therefore, one should follow the instruction of a Chinese medicine practitioner when taking Chinese medicines. One should stop taking the medicines upon recovery to avoid over-consumption due to prolonged use.

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Appropriate Choice between herbal tonics and food tonics

•Both herbal and food tonics have their own merits and usages, and it is advisable to maintain health by regulating the body with food tonics.

(Eating red dates, spinach and lean meat can help replenish your blood)

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•For treating a deficiency state diagnosed by a Chinese medicine practitioner, herbal tonics of appropriate nature should be used according to the differentiating of syndrome, or supplemented by the right kind of food.

(e.g. If a Chinese medicine practitioner diagnosed you having a blood deficiency caused by loss of blood and insufficient blood formation, it can be treated by Chinese medicines of Radix Astragali, Cornu Cervi Pantotrichum, Radix Angelicae Sinensis, Red dates, etc. which help replenish qi, blood, bone and bone marrow.

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Do not abuse herbal tonics if you have no apparent syndrome of deficiency otherwise discomfort or harm may result.

(Abuse herbal tonics, e.g. mixing Radix Astragali, Cornu Cervi Pantotrichum and Korean ginseng, may result nosebleed, dry mouth, agitation, abdominal distention, etc.)

Chinese Medicine Division of the Department of Health Enquiry Hotline: 25749999

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