Classified in “Herbs that Quell Fire” as sweet and cold to clear heat (such as fevers) and generate fluids; to clear heat from the lungs, especially in acute conditions with thick, yellow sputum; ...
Pine / Song Jie / Pinus spp.
Pine knots (from P. tabulaeformis & spp.) are classified under “Herbs that Expel Wind Dampness” as bitter and warm for wind damp painful obstruction with pain and soreness in the joints; and for trauma.
“When a Pine tree has grown for a thousand years, its resin is so concentrated that, by eating it, you can pervade all in your spirit. You can enter into the depth of the earth, hide your true identity, and change your name at will.
…With its help you can become immune to weapons. You can pass freely over land and through water, leave the obscure and enter the serene. You will be free from hunger and thirst and live as long as the sun and moon.
If you can find the resin of a thousand-year-old Pine, you can truly live long!”
Pines have been used all over the world as primary herbs for the lungs, including treatment of colds, coughs and infections. They are used at the onset of various sicknesses because of their diaphoretic properties.
American Ginseng / Xi Yang Shen / Panax quinquefolius
Classified in “Herbs that Tonify Yin” as sweet, slightly bitter, and cool to benefit qi, generate fluids, and nourish yin in deficient yin patterns and after febrile illnesses; and to nourish Lung yin for cough, coughing up blood, and loss of voice. Often the Ginsengs are known as “lung tonics” for their general beneficial effect on the lungs.
Coltsfoot / Kuan Dong Hua / Tussilago farfara
The Divine Farmer has it in the middle class of herbs as “acrid and warm. It mainly treats cough and counterflow of qi ascent, frequent panting, throat impediment, various kinds of fright epilepsy, and cold and heat evil qi.”
Classified in “Cool, Acrid Herbs that Release Exterior Conditions” as acrid, aromatic, and cooling to disperse wind heat; to clear the head and eyes and benefit the throat; to encourage rashes, such as in measles; and to free the flow of Liver qi, such as in pressure in the chest or flanks, emotional instability, and gynecological problems.
Mulberry / Sang Ye (leaf) / Sang Zhi (twigs) / Sang Bai Pi (root bark) / Sang Shen (fruit) / Morus alba
The leaves are classified in “Cool, Acrid Herbs that Release Exterior Conditions” as sweet, slightly bitter, and slightly cold to expel wind and clear heat from the Lungs; and to clear the Liver and the eyes. The twigs are classified in “Herbs that Expel Wind Dampness” as bitter, sweet, and slightly cold to expel wind and activate the channels for wind damp painful obstruction, especially in the extremities. The root bark is classified in “Herbs that Relieve Coughing and Wheezing” as sweet and cold to alleviate cough and quell heat from the lungs; and to promote urination and reduce floating edema. The fruit is classified in “Herbs that Tonify the Blood” as sweet and cool to nourish blood and yin for dizziness, insomnia, premature graying, constipation, and thirst.
Burdock / Niu Bang Zi (seed) / Articum lappa
Classified in “Cool, Acrid Herbs that Release Exterior Conditions” as acrid, slightly bitter, and cold to disperse wind heat and benefit the throat; and to detoxify fire poison for red swellings and rashes.
Burdock root is a good vegetable or herb for strengthening the lungs. Like the seed, it also removes toxins from the system and benefits the throat.
Mugwort / Ai Ye / Artemisia vulgaris & spp.
The Divine Farmer lists A. argyi (Bai Hao) as sweet and balanced for evil qi, wind cold damp impediment, boosting qi, promoting black hair growth, and a syndrome with constant hungering; A. keiskeanae as bitter and a little warm for blood stasis, water qi in the abdomen, abdominal distention, persisting heat, wind cold damp impediment, and pain; and A. capillaris as bitter for wind, damp, cold evil qi, hot evil qi, and heat jaundice.
There are many other related species.
Varnished Polypore / Reishi / Lingzhi / Ganoderma tsugae & spp.
This is one of the most important immune-boosting and immune-regulating herbs. The Asian name translates as “Mushroom of Immortality” as it is known as a tonic for the whole body and the promotion of health.
Peach / Tao Ren (seed) / Prunus persica
The Divine Farmer lists as bitter and balanced, for blood stasis, blood block, conglomerations, evil qi, and worms; and adds that the flowers (Tao Hua) kill malign demonic influx and improves facial complexion. This is one of the ingredients in Shaolin training wines. Like other barks and seeds of the family, it is very good for treating coughs.
Calamus / Chang Pu / Acorus spp.
The Divine Farmer lists A. graminei as “acrid and warm. It mainly treats wind cold damp impediment and cough and counterflow qi ascent. It opens the heart portals, supplements the five viscera, and helps the articulation of the voice. Protracted taking may make the body light, improve memory, prevent confusion, and prolong life.”
“Thus Calamus gives life to people, nurtures and protects essence and spirit. It drains superfluous body liquids and drives out dampness. It repels demons and dissolves all feelings of ill.
All spectres, sprites, and weird otherworldly creatures will flee from it and seek refuge in dark obscurity. Anything or anyone violent and harmful will never dare to come close.
Take it without interruption and you can live thousands and thousands of years.”
Barberry / Hsiao Po / Berberis thunbergii
“It is regarded as very cooling, and is therefore prescribed in fevers. Its anthelmintic and antiseptic properties are also highly esteemed, and it is prescribed in menorrhagia.”
Kudzu / Ge Gen / Pueraria lobata
The Divine Farmer lists as “sweet and balanced. It mainly treats wasting thirst, generalized great fever, retching and vomiting, and various kinds of impediment. It lifts yin qi and resolves various toxins.” And adds that the seed (Ge Gu) “mainly treats more than 10 year old dysentery.”
Weeping Willow / Hsiao-yang / Salix babylonica
This famous genus of tree is the source for the name salicylic acid, being one of the early sources. Like the pharmaceutical preparations, Willow is used for fevers, pain, and thinning the blood.
Others: Perilla, Scallion, Chrysanthemum, Duckweed, Monkey Grass, Wood Ear, Ginkgo, Balloon Flower, Self-Heal, Mimosa, Radish, Magnolia, Purslane, Tree-of-Heaven, Tuckahoe, Pagoda, Rose, Bur-Reed
The Divine Farmer’s Materia Medica translated by Yang Shou-zhong
Chinese Herbal Medicine Materia Medica by Dan Bensky & Andrew Gamble
Chinese Medicinal Herbs by Li Shih-Chen
Herbal Emissaries by Steven Foster & Yue Chongxi
Jade Remedies by Peter Holmes
The Taoist Experience edited by Livia Kohn
(The quotes on Pine & Calamus are from Explanation of the Five Talismans of Numinous Treasure)