Herbs and Meridian Tropism

Updated: Jun 17, 2018



Meridian tropism refers to Traditional Chinese Herbs that produce therapeutic effects on a specific portion of the human body, in other words, their therapeutic action is related to a viscus or channel('s) in predominance and may produce fewer effects on unrelated viscera or channels.


Meridian tropism takes the theory of viscera and meridians, and the indication of syndromes as a basis. For instance, Mahuang (Herba Ephedrae) and Xingren (Semen Armeniacae Amarum) effective to syndromes of the disorder of the lung meridian marked by cough and dyspnea are attributed to the lung-meridian; Qingpi (Pericarpium Cirri Reticulatae Viride ) and Xiangfu (Rhizoma Cyperi) indicated for syndromes of the disorder of the liver-meridian marked by distending pain of breast and hypochondrium and hernia pain are attributed to the liver-meridian.  Generally speaking, what meridian or meridians a medicinal herb is attributed to is related to the certain meridian or meridians on which the herb may work. Certain medicinal herbs can work on several meridians, which means the medicinal herbs can be used widely to treat the disorders of these meridians.

Meridian tropism plays a role in clinical selection of Chinese medicinal herbs according to syndromes, giving a rise of direction and strengthening the therapeutic effects. For instance, medicinal herbs cold in nature have effects of clearing away heat, which also have the differences in tendency towards clearing away heat in the heart, liver, lung, or stomach; those hot in nature can all warm the interior to expel cold, but their effects also have the differences in warming the spleen, stomach, lung or kidney.


Therefore, when your practitioner prescribes medicinal herbs, they will select those that work on the diseased viscus or meridian or some viscera or meridians in the light of their properties of meridian tropism to achieve desired therapeutic effects. In addition, they may also use meridian tropism of Chinese medicinal herbs as a clue to probe their potential effects of some medicinal herbs and to extend their applying range.

These and other Traditional Chinese practices all form part of TCM, each adding a little to the history and methodology of Acupuncture and Herbs.


Eca Brady is a fully licensed physician of Chinese Medicine BSc(Ac) MBAcC PGDip(CHM), practicing Acupuncture and Chinese Herbs from Harley Street, London. Make an appointment for an acupuncture or Herbs treatment and we can discuss how we can help you, to read more about Eca click here.

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