Traditional Chinese Medicine, or TCM, the majority of ingredients used in TCM formulas are plant-based and are combinations of herbs, flowers, roots, branches, leaves and mushrooms.

TCM uses thousands of years of knowledge of the benefits of herbs — some of which we already commonly include in our diets — to support and enhance the body’s natural healing abilities.

Many herbs frequently found in traditional TCM formulas may already have a place in your kitchen, diet and wellness regimen. In TCM, however, these all-natural ingredients, used alone or in formulas, are specially cultivated and prepared to maximize their benefits to your body’s natural function.

Other herbs that are commonly used in TCM and that may sound very familiar to you include ginseng, turmeric, cinnamon and nutmeg, fennel, dandelion, kelp and Goji berries. It’s more than likely you have half of these items in your pantry now or have tried them recently.

Raw herbs are dried herbs. They are closest to the form in which they are grown and most similar to something you might find at a grocery store or farmers market. The herb is harvested in its natural form (roots, stems, bark, flowers, fruit and/or leaves), then ground into a powder or cut into pieces to be used for tea. TCM originated with the use of raw herbs and information about their properties has been passed down through generations of healers.

Raw herbs are not simply eaten. The herbs are soaked, boiled and strained in a process called “decoction.” Following your practitioner’s recommendation, you will decoct and take raw herbs either individually or in combination, as a formula, depending on your particular needs and concerns.