Introduction to TCM

Basics of TCM

  • Yin-Yang | Five Elements

Zang-Fu Theories

  • Zang Organs | Fu Organs

Classification of Antineoplastic Herbal Medicines

Characteristics of Herbal Medicines


  • By Auscultation & Olfaction
  • By Inspection


Theories of Channels (Meridians) and Collaterals

Reference: A Modern View of the Immune System

Differentiation of Syndromes

  • 8 Principles
  • 6 Channels 4 Stages
  • Syndromes of Zang-Fu Organs


  • Exogenous | Pestilential
  • Pathogenic Factors
  • Emotional

Materia Medica

Back to Home

Classification of Antineoplastic Herbal Medicines

The classification of antineoplastic herbal medicines here is based on their effects as categorized by the traditional theories, it is necessary to relate here why, according to the principle of traditional Chinese medicine (TCM) that herbal medicines with various pharmacologic effects can act as an antineoplastic agent.

General Classification

1. herbal medicines with heat and toxin clearing action
2. herbal medicines with blood-regulating action
3. herbal medicines with phlegm-removing action
4. herbal medicines with diuretic and dampness-eliminating action
5. herbal medicines for external application

Herbal Medicines with Heat and Toxin Clearing Action

Generally speaking, the herbal medicines with heat and toxin clearing action are prescribed for illness displaying heat-toxin syndrome. Some of the patients suffering from neoplasm manifest as suffering from heat-syndrome, such as fever, thirst, deep-colored urine, red tongue, rapid pulse, etc. At the same time, signs of heat-toxin retention are shown, for example, necrosis and secretion of stinking tumor mass; foul dirty vaginal discarge in cervical carcinoma cases; purulent and bloody stool in colonic carcinoma cases; hematemesis, epistaxis and subcutaneous hemorrhage in leukemia cases; jaundice, hematemesis and hemafecia in hepatic carcinoma cases; and so on. The herbal medicines in this category are effective for relieving the heat-toxin syndrome hich appears in the patients suffering from neoplasm.

Herbal Medicines with Blood-regulating Action

The herbal medicines with blood-regulating action serve to activate blood circulation and eliminate blood-stasis, or to stop bleeding. In some of the patients suffering from neoplasm, there may be a palpable mass with localized pain and accompanied by a diminshed complexion, a dull tongue with petechiae or ecchymoses, and an engorged sublingual vein. These signify a blood-stasis syndrome. The herbal medicines with blood-circulation activating and blood-stasis eliminating action can remove the blood stagnation so as to dissipate the tumor and to relieve pain. Furthermore, hemorrhage may also be seen in the neoplastic cases, which is caused by blood-heat, blood-stasis, or blood extravasation due to heat. For these cases, the herbal medicines with hemostatic effect not only serve as a symptomatic treatment but also as a causative treatment for cooling the blood, purging fire and eliminating blood-stasis.

Herbal Medicines with Phlegm-removing Action

The herbal medicines with phlegm-removing action serve to eliminate the secreation of resporatory tract and the phlegm elsewhere. As the term phlegm in TCM is rather broad, the manifestation of phlegm-syndrome varies with different locations in which the phlegm accumulates. When it is accumulated in the lung, the case may mainfest as dyspneic cough with expectoration (e.g. lung cancer); in the stomach, as nausea, vomiting and epigastric fullness (e.g. gastric cancer); in the meridians and subcutaneous tissues, as scrofula and subcutaneous nodules (e.g. cervical lymphoma, cervical metastatic cancer, mammary carcinoma, etc.); in the brain, as dizziness or disturbance of consciousness (e.g. brain tumor). Hence, the herbal medicines of this kind may serve to relieve the phlegm-syndrome occurring in the neoplastic cases.

Herbal Medicines with Diuretic and Dampness-eliminating Action

The herbal medicines with diuretic and dampness-eliminating action are applied to cases with retention of fluid and dampness. Some of the patients suffering from neoplasm show a fluid-retention or dampness-accumulation syndrome, manifesting as edema, ascites, leucorrhagia, diarrhea, or dysuria and associated with a corpulent tongue covered by thick turbid and smooth fur. The herbal medicines in this category can relievesuch disorders occurring in the patients.

Herbal Medicines with Tonic Effects

The herbal medicines with tonic effects are used to treat asthenia-syndrome cases with manifest as insufficiency of vital energy, blood, yin or yang. Because debility and deficiency of healthy energy is one of the important causes responsible for tumorigenesis, and a neoplasm already developed may further impair the healthy energy, so the patients suffering from neoplasm usually display an asthenia-syndrome. The application of tonics may enhance the body resistance and is certainly beneficial to the antineoplastic therapy. In fact, it has been found that many herbal medicines with tonic effects can promote the immunologic, hemopoietic as well as digestive functions of the body, and some of them even serve as an inhibitor or killer of the tumor cells. When applying this kind of herbal medicines, the principle of trestment in line with syndrome differentiation should be followed, and the medicines selected for use should match with the attribution of asthenia-syndrome (i.e., whether it is asthenia of vital energy, blood, yin-yang, or one of the viscera).

Herbal Medicines for External Application

The herbal medicines for external application are generally erosive and poisonous, and their dosages should be strictly handled. They are applied on the surface of tumor, or as an infiltrate into the mass or around its base, to induce necrosis and exfoliation of the tumor.

Read also Characteristics of Herbal Medicines

Traditional Chinese Medicine pages by Raymond Cheng, PhD DPA FRSA FRSPH

  Health Related • TCM Basics   Religious • Commentary   Education and Training •

Copyright © 1995-2021 Wyith Institute™ and The Office of Dr Raymond K K Cheng.
All rights reserved.

This site is best viewed with Microsoft® Internet Explorer 6.0 or above, minimum 1024x768 resolution with 16M color-depth. The Office of Dr Raymond K K Cheng, Wyith Institute™, and the website and its associated personnel do not endorse external sites. This website is only meant solely for research and informational purpose and should never be taken as a source of medical advice. Please consult a professional physician if you are sick. All external sites will open in a new browser window.

Contact the editor at raymond {dot} cheng {at} oxford alumni {dot} org

DI63-048 (c) Image DJ Image Dictionary
Photo © Image DJ Image Dictionary

With over 3000 years of experience, Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM) has remain one of the many fascinating areas in ancient Chinese culture. First known to be documented in the Yellow Emperor's Canon of Medicine, TCM is believed to have been practised in as early as 475 to 221 B.C. The field of working knowledge of TCM stretches from anything related to general healthcare practice to the philosophy of the mind, the logic of life, religion, and even to as far as cosmology and astronumerology. This is why in order to thoroughly understand the concepts behind TCM, one must be comprehensive in learning and embracing the Chinese culture as a whole.

Just as Douglas Hoff put it when he explained about accupuncture, "The systems of TCM uses the concepts of elements and meridians and are completely immersed in the Asian cosmology which takes shape through the religions." The meridian-brain mechanism, the fundamental working concept of acupuncture, in which the pain block from the message that the needle or burning cone of herbs gives to the point of stimulus, was only found centuries later by the West through science and technology.


Raymond Cheng, PhD DPA Thank you for visiting this TCM and acupuncture information website. If you have previously been to this website, you might have noticed that some of the pages on ancient historical ideas and holistic thinkings related to Chinese metaphysics are temporarily taken offline. This is because I will be revamping the whole website and be moving those information into a new \"Ancient Chinese Culture\" section so as to reflect a more current perspective on the interpretation of some of the fundamental concepts as well as to include some of the latest information in the area. But if you have just found this website for the very first time, I welcome you again and wish you could find what you require and, hopefully, you could also be benefitted from reading the articles I published on this website.

Please be patient and do come and check out this website frequently as it's being revamped.

Raymond Cheng, PhD DPA FRSA FRSPH

March 28, 2020.


This website is published, edited and designed by Raymond Cheng, and reflects only and only his personal views and opinions in his individual capacity. The information available at this website is not intended directly or by implication to either diagnose or treat any medical, emotional, or psychological condition or disorder. It is also not intended to create a physician-patient relationship between you and I or between you and Wyith Institute™ and The Office of Dr Raymond K K Cheng. The information here is not a substitute for advice and treatment provided by your physician or by another healthcare professional. It is always recommended that consultation with local healthcare providers be obtained for any of your specific health or medical concerns. Furthermore, any products that can be purchased (yet you can see I don't have much to sell here) through advertisers' banners or through links to other websites are not either explicitly or implicitly given any warranty or endorsement by me, my colleagues, Wyith Institute™ or any of its associated businesses.