How to take Chinese herbs as granules – a quick guide

By: Dr Jason Chong (Traditional East Asian Medicine Physician)

This article is to help guide you in how to take Chinese herbs when prescribed in granule form. Some of these tips are also applicable to Chinese raw herb formulations.

At Dantian Health Chinese Herbal Medicine clinic in Melbourne I prescribed herbal formulas in granulated form. Granulated herbs are first decocted to extract their active ingredients. They are then combined with a starch such as potato or corn starch.

This is a modern method of taking Chinese Herbal medicine. Whilst not as powerful as taking a raw herb decoction, it is much more convenient.

Granule herbs are as easy instant coffee ie add hot water, stir and drink.

Tweet it Out

When to take Chinese herbs

Ideally, take your herbs half an hour before food. Of course, if you need to take the herbs after food that’s okay.

In fact, herbs can be taken at any time, mealtimes are generally a good habitual reminder. The key is to make sure that there is a good 20-minute separation between food and taking your herbs.

This is because herbs work through the flavour profile. That is, your body responds to the combination of flavours. The clearer your palette in your mouth and your stomach are, the clearer the message is to your body. This helps your body to best understand what it needs to do to heal.

Chinese Herbal formulas are usually prescribed three times a day, others twice a day.

For those prescribed three times a day, some people struggle with the midday dose. This is generally due to the work environment ie no access to warm water. In this case, then take a little bit more morning and night. But on the days you don’t work, try and adhere to the prescribed three times a day.

At the end of the day taking the herbs is the most important thing. If your schedule is so full that separating herbs and food is difficult, then take the herbs with your food.

It is important that you eat. At the same time

Herbs don’t work if you don’t take them!

Is Taking Chinese Herbs in Granule Form as Effective as Traditional Methods?

Yes, taking adaptogen Chinese herbs in granule form can be as effective as traditional methods. The granule form makes it easier to consume and ensures consistent dosage. Plus, it is a convenient and effective option for many people.

How to prepare Chinese herbal granules

  • Place your granules in the glass.
  • Add a little bit of boiling water.
  • Stir with a metal spoon (plastic and hot water shouldn’t mix). It will become a thick paste.
  • Add some room temperature water.
  • Drink and ‘enjoy’.

What is your Five Element Constitution

Transform your health with my complimentary e-book, which provides practical, easy-to-follow dietary suggestions that can help you achieve optimal wellbeing.

How to drink Chinese herbal granules

Make sure you continue to stir as you drink. This ensures that it stays mixed and you don’t end up with a mouthful of ‘sand’ at the bottom of the glass’.

Of course, you may end up with a few granules left at the end. Simply rinse the glass with some water and drink.

Make sure you get as much of those herbs in as possible!

Chinese herbs are not famous for tasting great. This is in part as they are unfamiliar flavours. Usually, they are more manageable after the first few doses.

If you’re struggling with the flavour, here are a few tricks you could use:

  • Pinch your nose so you don’t smell as you’re drinking
  • Use less water – shots generally go down easier than cocktails
  • Have a little bit of water on the side to follow ie a little chaser
  • Note: Don’t try and change the flavour by adding honey or sweeteners or by mixing it with juice. These extra flavours change the action of the herbs.

When to stop taking herbs

A Chinese Herbal formula is prescribed based on your presentation in the clinic. If your health changes dramatically, then you should stop taking herbs and contact your practitioner ASAP.

For example at you may at some point contract a head cold. At this point, you will generally need different herbs.

If you are ever unsure, reach out and ask!

What else would you like to know?

Hopefully, you have found this guide helpful. If you have any questions then please let me know. And if you have any tips on how to help take the herbs then please share in the comments below!

Photo of author

Dr Jason Chong (Traditional East Asian Medicine Physician)

Traditional East Asian Medicine Physician. Educator.

Jason is the owner and principal practitioner at Dantian Health, providing consultations for Classical Chinese Herbal Medicine and Japanese Acupuncture in Melbourne, Australia.

He is a qualified acupuncture physician, Classical Chinese herbal medicine clinician, shiatsu practitioner and tuina therapist, Oriental therapies educator and director at the Australian Shiatsu College.

Jason's qualifications include:

Share with friends

© 2019 Please note this article is copyright protected
Notify of
Inline Feedbacks
View all comments
calendar comment phone
Would love your thoughts on this article, please leave them in the comments.x
facebook twitter pinterest linkedin