Why are some TCM concoctions so bitter? 为什么有些中药汤剂会那么苦?

Updated: Jan 25


TCM Herbs Grinding

While most agree that traditional TCM brews (not the commercial, sweetened ones) may not usually be appetising, some brews are particularly more bitter than others.

This is because the taste of TCM herbs is closely related to the medicinal property of the herb. For example, sweet herbs like red dates tend to be nourishing, sour herbs like dark plums tend have an astringent effect, and bitter herbs like "huang lian" tend to be cooling and clearing.

Therefore, generally speaking, patients with excess heat are more likely to be prescribed bitter herbs to clear away the heat, as compared to patients who have deficiency syndromes instead, thus having to drink more bitter brews.

Evidently, the Chinese were right in saying "'凉' 药苦口". ;)


虽然众所皆知,中药并非香甜可口,大体上都带有苦味,但有些中药却比其它的药类更偏于苦。

这是因为中药的气味与它的功效有密切关系。甘味药,例如大枣,偏于补益。酸味药,例如乌梅偏于收涩。而苦味药,例如黄连,多用于清泄火热。

因此,大致上对于体内有余热的病人,因需清泄火热,所以开的药也偏于苦味。

这就是名副其实的“ ’凉‘ 药苦口”。;)

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