Using herbs to enhance health isn’t a new idea. The practice goes back centuries and was the focus of ancient medical practices. The selection of cooling vs. warming herbs was as important as the other properties of the plants. What are cooling herbs and how are they different from warming herbs? They were likely designated as such by early Chinese herbalists. The two types of herbs can influence the balance of Yin and Yang, which in turn promotes optimal health.
Cooling vs. Warming Herbs
Herbs are an impressive tool to add to our medical wellness kit. Their long history of use in many different cultures can’t be a mistake. Taking a page from our ancestors in the use of herbs could help us live healthier lives and avoid the doctor’s office. Herbs that warm and cool are used for different purposes. The temperature designation has nothing to do with the body’s heat level, but rather with the symptom to be treated.
Herbs that warm and cool have nothing to do with temperature and everything to do with “nature.” With herbs, nature dictates what will be used on a particular patient. Each patient is unique with complaints that may be cool or warm. Once diagnosed, the herbal practitioner will dispense the appropriate herb to combat the state, either cool or warm.
For instance, warm influences the yang and the metabolic processes of the body. Cooling herbs affect the yin and have flavors that are sour, bitter and salty. Conversely, the warming herbs tend to be sweet but pungent. Each has its place in Oriental medicine and is used for different diagnosis.
What are Cooling Herbs?
Cooling herbs are used to remove excess heat and increase strength. Associated ailments can include hot flashes, dryness, dizziness, insomnia, and even irregular heartbeat. Sour herbs are used to correct the reproductive system, reduce sweating, and treat cough, diarrhea, and incontinence. The bitter herbs are used for constipation, cough, fever, vomiting, and other complaints. Salty cool herbs detox the body and treat abnormal growths.
Cool herbs include:
- American ginseng
- Ligustrum berry
- Wild asparagus root
- Golden thread rhizome
- Honeysuckle flower
- Chinese gentian root
What are Warming Herbs?
Warming herbs are used to treat weakness, coldness, inflammation, lower back pain, and impotence. The sweet variety focus on such problems as pain, detoxification, and general weakness. They are used to enhance stomach and spleen health. The pungent herbs enhance circulation and blood and may be useful uplifting the endocrine system. Warming herbs are not only warming but drying. The types used are: