Often, new patients come to me with one single Chinese herb that they bought, based on an article they read or a friend’s recommendation.
Take, for example, the herb Huang Lian (Rhizoma Coptidis). Googled, it is linked to Western diagnosis like Diabetes, Ulcerative Colitis, Hypertension and more. Is it a good idea to rush out and get some? Definitely not.
Huang Lian is VERY bitter (as everybody who had it in their formula can confirm) and cold. It is said to clear Damp-Heat and (toxic) Fire, so quite an aggressive herb. Therefore, it is always prescribed together with other herbs that either lead Huang Lian to the area of the body where it is needed or protect other regions by neutralizing certain effects of Huang Lian.
And, of course, if your Chinese medicine diagnosis does not include (toxic) Damp-Heat, you should not take Huang Lian, regardless of your Western pathology.
P.S. the herbs might not taste quite as good as the pictured drinks, sorry 😉