About Chinese Herbal Medicine

Chinese Herbal Medicine is the most comprehensive and well-organized system of herbal knowledge compiled in human history.  It is part of a broader system of medicine referred to as Chinese Medicine (CM) or Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM).  TCM encompasses herbal medicine, acupuncture, bodywork and nutritional therapies as forms of treatment.  Chinese Medicine Dermatology primarily utilizes herbal medicine and it is a distinct specialty recognized within Traditional Chinese Medicine that requires additional specialized training.

Chinese herbs from Zi Zai DermatologyTraditional Chinese Medicine is a comprehensive system of medicine that has its own unique way of diagnosing, treating, and preventing disease.  TCM differs from the medical understanding we have here in the west because in addition to understanding the biological function of the organ systems, it focuses on the body’s energetic function.  TCM first identifies the patterns of energetic imbalance in a patient, and then uses herbal medicine, acupuncture, nutrition and/or bodywork to restore proper functioning to the body by correcting the flow of energy within the different organ systems.  When Chinese Herbal Medicine is the main choice of treatment, herbal substances are prepared for the patient to take internally (and, in dermatology, to apply to the skin) in order to bring about this improved flow of energy. 


Chinese Medicine Dermatology

Dermatology can be complex.  In Chinese Medicine Dermatology, we base our differentiation and treatment of skin diseases partly on the visual presentation of the skin lesions, and partly on how those lesions fit within the context of the overall health of the patient.  If lesions are red, for instance, we say there is energetic Heat present.  If they are pale in color, we say there is an energetic deficiency of Blood.  Purple or brown color may indicate Stasis of Blood.  If the lesions weep fluid or if there is edema, then we say pathogenic Dampness is involved.  Dryness or scaling of skin often means the presence of Dryness.  Acute onset of itching indicates the prevalence of Wind.  

These pathogenic energetic factors usually combine.  For example, a rash that is red, itchy and oozes a little bit of clear fluid would indicate the presence of Heat, Wind, and Dampness.  In Chinese Medicine Dermatology our treatment principal would then be to Clear Heat, Dispel Wind, and Eliminate Dampness.  That means we would choose a combination of herbs known to have properties to perform such energetic actions of Clearing Heat, Dispelling Wind and Eliminating Dampness.

Chinese Medicine Dermatology is far more nuanced than this, of course.  This is merely an introduction to the terminology you may see on our website or hear during your consultation with your practitioner.  We understand that it is a bit different than the typical terms you are used to hearing in healthcare and we want you to embrace these unfamiliar concepts without fear.


A Note About Your Skin

Your skin is an organ, just like your lungs and your liver, except that it lies on the outside of your body.  It forms a protective barrier between the outer world and your insides.  Your skin protects you from chemicals, germs, UV radiation, loss of body fluids, and mechanical damage.  It insulates you and helps regulate your temperature.  It is also a sensory organ, providing info to you about your environment.

However, your skin is not 100% impermeable or impenetrable.  Chemicals, germs, and other harmful substances can find their way into your body via your skin.  So it is of the utmost importance that you take good care of this organ.

A percentage of whatever you put on your skin will be absorbed into your body.  So, you want to be sure that the substances you use on your outsides are not causing harm to your insides. All the ingredients in Zi Zai products are safe for your skin.  We never use steroids, petroleum-based ingredients, synthetic dyes, fragrances, parabens or any other substances known to be harmful to the skin or body in any way.



No chronic skin affliction will be cured by putting substances on the skin; you must address the internal root of the imbalance and this should only be treated by a qualified medical practitioner.  Zi Zai’s topical products do not address the root cause of skin problems.  For further help finding a qualified practitioner specializing in Chinese Medicine Dermatology, check out our Referral Page.

All of Zi Zai’s skincare product descriptions include the intended treatment principal according to Chinese Medicine Dermatology.  Our product formulations are not based on western medical diagnosis.  The statements on our product pages have not been evaluated by the Food and Drug Administration. These products and statements are not intended to diagnose, treat, cure or prevent disease. The information provided on this website is for educational purposes only and is not meant to substitute for the advice provided by your doctor or other health care professional.