Sunset on the beach at Kihei, Maui

## Essential Formulating Aphorisms from the Golden Cabinet

The subheader is a light-hearted reference to the Chinese medical text, 金匱要略 Jīn Guì Yào Lüè (

The qualities of an herb determine its role in a formula, not the quantity.

If one herb has twice as many relevant actions as another, choose it for the formula.

Sometimes you need an herb to moderate the potency of another in a formula, and they are often polar opposites.

Subaphorism: Don't give a "hot" herb to a "hot" patient unless you also give them "cold" herbs.

Sometimes you need an herb to moderate the toxicity of another in a formula.

Never use two herbs where one will suffice. [I don't follow this one myself all that often.]

Formulating should be

It is valuable to look at what others have used in formulas for various problems first. You don't always have to start from square one/reinvent the wheel every time you formulate.

When possible, make herbal formulas taste good.

All mixtures of herbs need to mix, so every formula needs a synergizer (i.e. herbs containing significant amounts of saponins).

Only "cold" patients need driving herbs ("hot" digestive/cardiovascular stimulant herbs) in their formulas.

When in doubt, give a biphasic formula to patients who have issues that appear to be related to their menstrual cycles.

*Essentials from the Golden Cabinet*), ca. 220 CE. It is filled with more wisdom than anything you will find on these pages.The qualities of an herb determine its role in a formula, not the quantity.

If one herb has twice as many relevant actions as another, choose it for the formula.

Sometimes you need an herb to moderate the potency of another in a formula, and they are often polar opposites.

Subaphorism: Don't give a "hot" herb to a "hot" patient unless you also give them "cold" herbs.

Sometimes you need an herb to moderate the toxicity of another in a formula.

Never use two herbs where one will suffice. [I don't follow this one myself all that often.]

Formulating should be

*fun*. This is good for the patient and the formulator.It is valuable to look at what others have used in formulas for various problems first. You don't always have to start from square one/reinvent the wheel every time you formulate.

When possible, make herbal formulas taste good.

All mixtures of herbs need to mix, so every formula needs a synergizer (i.e. herbs containing significant amounts of saponins).

Only "cold" patients need driving herbs ("hot" digestive/cardiovascular stimulant herbs) in their formulas.

When in doubt, give a biphasic formula to patients who have issues that appear to be related to their menstrual cycles.