9 Chinese Herbs for Pain Relief

This article’s goal is to raise awareness among the readers about the benefits of using alternative and holistic approaches to manage pain. In the following lines you’ll get acquainted with Chinese herbs that can help you with pain and improve your bodily health. We hope that after reading article you’ll opt for trying somewhat different treatment and turn away from drug alternatives.

We can easily say that pain became pandemic in the entire world. There are many reasons why people nowadays experience pain, but everyday lifestyle is probably the main cause. Many people sitting the whole day and looking at their laptops or standing behind the counter can cause knees, joints and back to weaken. Especially because there is a lack of physical exercise and proper diet.

Chinese medicine approaches the pain from a very different standpoint. Their practitioners use herbs, acupuncture, and changes made to nutrition and way of living. Patients usually suffer from acute or chronic pain which arose from an injury, arthritis, migraines, period, and nerve pain. Sometimes pain is there to alert you to listen to your body. Chinese medicine views pain as lack and downfall of “Qi” energy and to restore it we should find the core.

TCM, Acupuncture, and Chinese Herbs for Pain at Makari Wellness

Michael Woodworth, the founder of Makari Wellness center, is one of the most successful and leading licensed herbalists in San Diego. His great knowledge and continuous learning helped many people get rid of chronic pain in various body parts. His every treatment is individual and performed according to patients overall health. Michael’s main goal is to find the root of the pain and encourage his patients to change their lifestyles and achieve general well-being.

Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM) is combined with Chinese herbs and acupuncture to boost the whole immune system and reduce the annoying pain. Pain being a complex sensory and mental experience, can be increasingly lessened by acupuncture. Acupuncture will manipulate problematic points and level up the “Qi”. Herbs are used individually and with other herbs to make remedies specific to patients needs and condition. Whether you suffer from muscle, back, joint, or knee pain this is your chance to sustain it and try something beneficial for your health.

Consult Your Doctor

It is very important to mention that for every decision on choosing holistic treatment you should consult the doctor. Sometimes patients suffer certain pain due to some chronic disease. Alternative medicine can, of course, help relieve the pain. But, if patient has been using drugs to treat the certain disease, it is recommended to consult physician to check whether these medications can be combined with specific herbs.

Chinese Herbal Medicine for Pain

We will provide some basic information on common Chinese herbs used for pain management. But the best way to use them would be to discuss it with a holistic practitioner and find custom combination for your problem.

Mo Yao

This herb is also known as Myrrh Resin, and it is produced from commiphora tree. The color of myrrh is brown and yellowish. It was derived from both Ayurvedic and TCM, considered to boost overall health and energy balance in the body. Its healing power lies in moving stagnant blood through women’s uterus and relieving period and post-partum pain. Mo Yao’s impact on our body has antimicrobial, antibacterial, analgesic, and antiseptic effect.

Ru Xiang

Ru Xiang or Frankincense Resin is usually best combined with Myrrh Resin to achieve both herbs full potential. These two mixed provide long-term solution for aches, muscle and joint pain, menstrual cramps, and chronic pain. This herb can also be found and beneficial on its own. We can find it in soaps, essential oils, and body lotions. Ru Xiang contains anti-arthritic and analgesic properties.

Yan Hu Suo

Corydalis Root or Yan Hu Suo is rooted in Chinese culture and has been used by martial artists for centuries to relieve the ache. It was found in grasslands of Zhejiang and acupuncture practitioners recommend it to increase circulation thus manage the pain point. Recent research discovered DHCB component inside this herb is responsible for reducing inflammation and neuro pain.

Jiang Huang

Also known as Turmeric, it is a part of the ginger family, a plant with various health benefits. People most probably use it in the kitchen as a spice for many meals. This herb contains curcuminoids, the ingredient which soothes joints and abdominal pain. If we use it in food we must be aware that the level of curcumin is very low and the best way to reach its full potential is to combine it with black pepper. This powerful yellow powder has been used in Chinese herbal medicine for 4,000 years.

Chuan Xiong

Szechuan Lovage Root, as many call it, is mostly used to boost blood circulation, and decrease inflammation which helps women with menstrual cramping. It is a flowering plant belongs to the carrot, parsley and dill family and people in China and Korea cultivate it for centuries. Szechuan lovage root lessens the body ache and swelling connected to urinary tract. The advisable dosage is maximum nine grams and you can add it to your salad or use it as tincture.

Ge Gen

Another name used for this plant is Kudzu Root and it is a fast-growing vine used for muscle, neck, and shoulder relaxation. This herb has anti-inflammatory and nervine effects, usually prescribed for “wei.” Mild disease or “wei” appears under the surface of your body and causes neck stiffness, migraines, and chest pain. If you suffer from hypotension, use it with caution.

Gan Cao

Gan Cao, also known as Licorice Root, has been used in Asian cultures for centuries for the treatment of abdominal pain. The licorice flavonoids kill helicobacter which is responsible for stomach inflammation and ulcers. Glycyrrhizin is an anti-inflammatory and antimicrobial element of this plant which reduces inflammation and treats respiratory issues. It is usually mixed with other Chinese herbs for better digestion in our bodies.

Rou Gui

Rou Gui, or as many calls it, Cinnamon is a plant used for many sweet recipes. It is a spice used to flavor beverages and baked goods. Cinnamon contains magnesium, iron, fiber, and calcium and has anti-bacterial effects. Its antioxidant feature helps ease inflammation and headaches. Rou Gui also helps patients who suffer from rheumatoid arthritis thus relieving joint and muscle pain.

Xiao Bai Ju

Feverfew’s main purpose is to manage headaches and strong migraines. It also helps with the accompanying symptoms such as dizziness and nausea. It is recommended for menstrual disorders, menstrual cramps, and menopause symptoms. Feverfew contains analgesics and pain management properties which act as natural anti-inflammatory medicine and muscle relaxer. You can purchase it as dietary supplement in tablets, but it is always better to make tea out of fresh plant.

Other TCM Ways of Pain Management

Chinese medicine is about balancing energies in your body to achieve overall performance and relieve pain. It is believed to be born out of Yin and Yang theory. They each have individual roles in the body, and they coexist.

Yin is about stillness and form, while Yang represents activity and Qi. Qi is our energy, matter, and vital force. It travels through our whole organism and reaches all aspects of our body.

Traditional Chinese medicine helps regain this energy back and put the body in balance. By doing this, our body achieves overall health and heals the root of pain. We listed herbs which can help you with various aches in your body and now we will list some other TCM ways worth trying.


Acupuncture is known to help people with various health conditions and has been practiced in Chinese culture for centuries. Certain points are poked with needles to stimulate the central nervous system. Those points include neck, head, shoulders, and upper back. This further releases chemicals into the brain, spinal cord, and muscles. Acupuncture delivers endorphin which is the body’s natural chemical acting as a painkiller. It is holistic approach that provided excellent results in treating back problems used as primary therapy.


The main principle and goal of acupressure is to relieve the spot of your pain. It is basically acupuncture, but without needles. This treatment will encourage the balance of Qi throughout all fourteen channels in our body. Acupressure is a form of massage which dated back to ancient China thus being used in TCM.  It is known to have many benefits such as relaxing mind and body, reducing pain, and fastens the healing of the body. Acupressure should not be painful but should cause gentle sensation and restore overall health and balance.


Moxibustion is part of the TCM too and it is a kind of external treatment. It includes burning dried mugwort on particular body points. It is widely used for pain due to injury or arthritis, where the pain naturally eases with the heat application. Its purpose lies in warming the blood by stimulating the Qi. Follow this link to learn more about moxibustion.

Tu Na Massage

This message type originated in ancient China, and it is one of the oldest systems for bodywork. For medicinal purposes it is combined with acupuncture, qi gong, and Chinese herbs. It is somewhat similar to acupuncture because it triggers certain acupoints, but practitioners use hands instead of needles. They also use herbal compresses, ointments, and heat to treat chronic pain and musculoskeletal conditions.


Cupping is a Chinese massage type which uses several glasses or plastic cups on the body. TCM practitioners warm these cups by using cotton or other flammable material which removes the oxygen. The cups create a vacuum and stick onto the skin. They are usually placed on the stomach or back where most people experience the pain. Scrapping is a Chinese technique which uses jade, bone, stones, and horns to scrape the skin to release toxins.

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