25 Chinese Herbs in English and Chinese

I grew up drinking herbal soup and tonics with a lot of unidentifiable things in it. There were sweet red rounded things (goji berries) and what look like thick tree barks (codonopsis root). While I could name some of them by their Chinese names, I had no idea what I was eating.

Many years back, I took an interest in Chinese herbology and bought heaps of books to study it. It’s amazing to read all the health benefits that these herbs provide. I know how first hand how effective they are to my body (I swear by pat chan tong 八珍汤, a bitter herbal tonic for drinking after menstruation, which energised my body like nothing else).

I know that most people only know the herbs by their Chinese name. But for someone who is illiterate in Chinese, I thought its important to know their name in English so that we could read and learn more about it. Here’s a list of common Chinese herbs – in English, Mandarin, and Cantonese – that are kept in my fridge:

1. Goji Berries – 枸杞子 gou ji zi/ gei chi

2. Codonopsis root – 党参 dangshen/ dong sum

3. Astragalus root – 黄芪 huang qi/ puk kei)

4. Solomon’s seal – 玉竹 yu zhu/ yuk chuk

5. Chinese yam – 淮山 huai shan/ wai san)

6. Chinese angelica root – 当归 dang gui/ dong guai

7. Eucommia bark – 杜仲 du zhong/ dou zhong

8. Sichuan Lovage – 川芎 chuang xiong/ chuen gong

9. Poria – 茯神 fu shen/ fuk san

10. American Ginseng – 花?參 fa kei sum

11. Cordyceps flowers – 虫草花 chong cao hua/ chung chou fa

12. Cordyceps – 东虫夏草 dong chong xia cao/ dong chung chou

13. Korean Ginseng – 高麗參 gao li shen/ ko lai sum

14. Korean Ginseng – 高麗參 gao li shen/ ko lai sum

15. Ginseng – 人参 ren sheng/ yan sum


16. Foxglove Root – 熟地黄 shu di/ suk dei

17. Licorice Root – 甘草 gan cao/ kam chou

18. Korean Red Ginseng (Tail) – yeung Sum

19. Ginseng Beard – 洋心须/ yeung Sum So

20. Fleece Flower Root – 何首乌 he shou wu/ ho sau wu

21. Red dates -红枣 hong zhao/ hung zhou

22. Black dates – 黑枣 hei zhao/ hak zhou

23. Honey dates – 蜜枣 mi zhao/ mat zhou

24. Dried figs – 无花果 mo fa kor

25. Princepia Uniflora –  内人肉 noi yan yuk

Many of these herbs are tucked away in the fridge. Due to our hot and humid weather, herbs keep fresh for longer in a cool place.

2 thoughts on “25 Chinese Herbs in English and Chinese”

  1. Greetings Sara
    Thank you for taking the time to share! I found your post to be fascinating and very helpful.
    On another note, I’m interested to know if you have any recommendations for a formula that promotes kidney health? Most recently an ultrasound uncovered a mass on my kidney, of which I am scheduled for a ct scan in the not too distant future. Thus, I am attempting to be proactive in the meantime. Anything you can offer is greatly appreciated!

    1. Hello. Oh dear, hope all will be well. While I read Chinese medicine texts and regularly see a TCM doctor, I am not in a position to recommend you something.

      But kudos on being proactive about eating better. Perhaps visit a TCM doctor and ask for recommendation? Or ask a herbalist? In Malaysia, there’s plenty of herbal shops. A popular/commercialised one is https://www.euyansang.com.my Maybe you can find some suitable herbs there and even read some of their articles relating to kidney health: https://www.euyansang.com.my/en_MY/bad-habits-ruin-a-man%27s-kidney/eysmygeneralwellness07.html

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