Chinese herbs are often prepared in combinations called formulas. A Chinese herbalist can tailor specific formulas to treat particular conditions.
The so-called raw ingredients of herbal preparations are usually dried materials. They are often prescribed as "soup", or teas but some can be taken in their raw form or processed into pills, powders, ointments, liquid tonics, or teas. They are classified according to their properties, such as "warming" and "cooling", and by their taste. The majority of Chinese medicines are of plant origin but a few are derived from minerals or from animal sources.
Usually the herbs are combined into formulas that are often adapted to suit changing circumstances as the patient progresses. The careful adjustment of the remedy to suit the individual patient is characteristic of Chinese medicine. Chinese herb can be used for a wide range of ailments, including asthma, skin diseases, menstrual problems, digestive disturbances, and migraine, and it is effective when used on its own or in conjunction with another therapy such as acupuncture, moxabustion.