Chinese patent medicines very useful for many Health disorders . Chinese Patent medicines are called Patent as they are standardised formulas of Herbal Medicine .

Over two thousand years the Chinese have realised that there are certain patterns to disease and these patterns can be treated using certain herbal formulas or combinations .

These formulas have been standardised over the years and are thus called ” patent ” formulas . These patent formulas have been made into granules , small tea pills like in the picture and capsules .

A pattern is a set of signs and symptoms that the person exhibits with a disorder . So if one has a dry cough one would be prescibed a dry cough formula . Of course the cough could be a wet cough or a hacking cough or a phlegmy cough or an intermittent cough or a cough with yellow mucous etc etc . So each set of cough presentations will have a set Chinese patent medicine cough formula that will resolve the problem . Over 2000 years formulas that work for the various patterns have been retained and recorded and those which did not work were discarded .

Another example of a pattern may be a person who has a pale tongue with normal moisture . This is seen in Chinese diagnosis as the person having a possible blood deficiency . Blood deficiency in Chinese Medicine means that not enough nutrient is in the blood or being absorbed into the blood . The person’s digestion is not optimum hence nutrients are not absorbed into the gut and distributed via the blood vessels . Hence long term this can lead to cells and tissues in the body not receiving the correct amount of nutrient leading to de-oxygenation of the tissues .

Biomedically in western medicine blood deficiency could mean an iron deficiency or border line anaemia or like .

A patent medicine would be prescribed if there were other signs and symptoms relating to the pattern e.g. tiredness , fatigue , pallor in face , poor sleep , easy to bruise or feeling faint or dizzy . Such a Chinese Patent medicine would be for example Si Jun Zi Tang ( tang means soup in ancient times ) . This is called Four Major Herb combination in Western words . This formula was formulated in the Song Dynasty in China and was developed to combat fatigue , digestive weakness , and muscular weakness .

This Chinese patent medicine contains just four herbs –

Glycyrrhiza or licorice root which tonifies the stomach and pancreas and adrenal glands

Poria cocos a type of mushroom that is a nutrient in itself but drains damp from the body i.e. it assists with fluid metabolism

Atractlydes a herb that promotes water metabolism and tonifies the pancreas and stomach

Codonopsis a root that tonifies the pancreas and stomach and influences the mucosa in the lung . It also has an effect on the adrenal glands as well . The original formula had Ginseng instead of Codonopsis and was found to be more effective and warming to the formula but was more expensive to use .

Long term use of this formula brings about a change to the person’s physiology and metabolism thus improving any deficiencies .

These small spherical teapills are sometimes called Black pearls due to their appearance . They are popular all over the world as they are relatively cheap and convenient to use.

One or more formulas may be given at the same time to treat two or more patterns of disharmony , which is quite common .

Chinese Patent Medicine pills that are available in Australia , and that have an license number on the package , are made to good manufacturing standards and are approved by the Australian Therapeutic Goods Administration ( TGA).