Medicinal Herbs Herbal medicine is by far the largest component of traditional Chinese medicine. In about 200 BCE, The Divine Husbandman's Classic of the Materia Medica was written. This book is known to be the first reference book of Chinese herbal medicine. It included 365 herbs, their taste, temperature, toxicity, processing methods, and indications. Many of those herbs are still commonly prescribed today. Since then, traditional Chinese medical herbalogy has continued to be rigorously tested and advanced. Around 1550 CE, another famous herb text was published with 1,892 herbs and 11,000 formulas.

The application of herbs is guided by traditional Chinese medical diagnosis. Herbs are prescribed in the form of formulas, which are composed in such a way as to enhance the potency of single herbs and reduce side-effects. Herbs are available as raw herbs, powder, or pills. After diagnosing a pattern of disharmony and administering acupuncture treatments, a Chinese medical doctor often writes an herbal formula to assist in the patient's healing.

In this herbal classic, herbs are categorized into three groups. The first group is called "food herbs" which are eaten as part of one's diet for general well-being, disease prevention, and health maintenance. The other two groups are called "medicinal herbs" which are dispensed to each patient as an individual formula based on their constitution, environment, and medical condition.

Medicinal herbal therapy works in concert with acupuncture by providing the nourishing support for the energetic "re-programming" and "re-balancing" efforts of acupuncture.