For more than 3,000 years, Traditional Chinese Medicine practitioners have used tonics to create balance by counteracting deficiencies or blockages, and to help the body resist stressors to the immune system, organs, and mind. “Usually blended into formulas, tonic herbs can be taken long-term to help normalize body functions and aid longevity,” says Theresa Hui, Lac, an herbalist in San Mateo, California. But they can also be used short-term to treat specific issues. In such cases, take the tonic until your symptoms resolve. An herbalist can recommend formulas and doses.

Astragalus (Radix astragali) Cordyceps (Cordyceps sinensis) Dong quai (Angelica sinesis) Ganoderma (Ganoderma lucidum) Goji berry (Lycium barbarum) Siberian ginseng (Eleutherococcus senticosus)
Chinese name: Huang-qi Chong xia cao Tang kuei Ling zhi Gou qi zi Ci wu jia
What it is: A root harvested in temperate climates in the Northern Hemisphere A fungus originally from Japan and China, now often grown in labs A Chinese root A mushroom found in North and South America and Asia A tart red fruit believed to have originated in Europe or Asia A small, woody shrub native to northeastern Asia
Best for: Lack of appetite, fatigue, diarrhea, frequent colds, and edema Impotence, weak lower back, chronic coughing, and phlegm Blurred vision, heart palpitations, pale complexion, and menstrual pain Coughing, shortness of breath, lack of appetite, heart palpitations, and insomnia Sore lower back, impotence, coughing, and blurred vision Sluggish appetite, diarrhea, and mild depression