In TCM, herbs are often combined in formulas and given as teas, capsules, liquid extracts, granules, or powders.
The five element theory talks about the relationship between the human body and the 5 natural elements: water, fire, air, wood, and metal. For example, water represents the kidney, bladder, and the ear. Or, fire represents the heart, small intestine, and tongue. All the organs in the body are connected and can be affected according to the attributes of certain herbs.
Westerns believe that herbal medicine seeks primarily to correct internal imbalances rather than to treat symptoms alone. They think it is designed to encourage self healing process. Currently scientists are studying the efficacy and safety of the herbs from a scientific perspective. In a way, consuming herbs is like dieting, where the individual is taking in various vitamins and minerals that of which they were previously lacking of.
Astragalus, cinnamon, coptis, ginger, ginseng, licorice, ma-huang, peony, rhubarb, and tang-kuei are some examples of TCM herbs.