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 (except for honey dates). Due to our hot and humid weather, herbs keep fresh for longer in a cool place.

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