Health – The Secret Garden

The Melbourne International Flower and Garden Show will be on again this year from the 29th of March until April 2nd (2017). But what many people do not know is the curious link between Australian Gardens and the ancient collection of plants maintained for China’s Empress up until the early 20th Century.

Privet, Magnolia, Honeysuckle, Salvia, Impatiens, Rhubarb, Peonies, Carnations (Dianthus), Chrysanthemums, Mulberry, Celosias, Gardenias, Dendrobium Orchids and many, many more common garden plants originally come from this fabulous collection – of medicinal plants!

In China, around the time of the opium wars and eventual Boxer revolution, there was an event of great significance. British troops looted and plundered the Summer Palace and so called ‘Plant Hunters’ plundered the gardens, not knowing that the plants they stole and dispatched to places like Kew Gardens in England were not collected for their beauty alone, but in fact were the Empress’s medicinal collection gathered and lovingly tended over thousands of years.

And so it is that the basis of ‘Green Medicine’ in the West is highly dependent on the plants looted from this collection in the late 19th Century. In fact the Nursery Industry, without realising it commercially sells many of these plants purely for their visual beauty without understanding that each plant provides a medicinal quality, something people can use simply and add to their diets.

In the Chinese diet, these plants are used not just for flavour, but for their health giving characteristics.

Here are 10 well known plants with strong medicinal qualities still used and respected by millions of people every day.


Ginseng has been used in Chinese Medicine for thousands of years to treat High Blood Pressure, Hepatitis, Menopausal problems and many other common ailments. For many it is famed as an aphrodisiac.

Angelica Sinensis or ‘Dang Gui’

This herb is renowned in Chinese Medicine as a Muscle Relaxant. Angelica Sinensis is used in the treatment of infertility in women and heart related ailments. It is commonly used to treat Angina, irregular heartbeat and high blood pressure.


Low in calories but high in nutritional values. Of the 200 varieties of Mushroom found in China over 25% are recognised to have great capacity in fighting tumours. Many varieties are good in fighting insomnia and female sexual dysfunction.

Goji or Wolfberry.

Goji has been used in food preparation as well as a medicinal herb for over 2000 years. In China it is considered a national treasure because of its great healing properties.

Coptis Chinensis (or Chinese Gold Thread)

Coptis Chinensis is known as one of the most bitter of all herbs. It is used in healing diseases of the digestive tract.

It is counted as one of the 50 basic herbs of traditional Chinese Medicine.

Liquorice Root

Liquorice Root is used to provide detoxification and for ailments such as Hepatitis, Asthma, depression, colds, flu, cough, heartburn and more.


For over 4000 years the Astragalus herb has been used as a tonic to boost the human body’s immune system, regulating or improving metabolism rate and digestion. It heals wounds and injuries speedily and provides protection against infection.


Ginger is a mainstay in Chinese cuisine throughout Asia – it’s easy to see why. It is renowned for curing indigestion, improving blood circulation, stopping diarrhoea and treating cardiac problems. Home remedies using this herb are created to treat cough, nausea and the common cold.

Ephedra Sinica

Known as ‘Ma Huang’, Ephedra Sinica is one of the oldest herbs known to Chinese Medicine. It is used to treat Asthma, colds and hay fever.


A very important Chinese Medicinal Herb, Bupleurum is used to treat liver disease, arthritis, ulcers, mental disorders and many other ailments.

At Tang there are many products on our shelves to help you enjoy good health. Ask our staff if you are seeking a particular product or check the Health and Wellbeing Products on our website and look for yourself. Traditional Chinese Cooking is healthy, good for your family and allows you to perform in your busy lives.

If you go to the Flower and Garden Show, take the time to enjoy the beautiful plants and flowers – now you know where many of them have come from. Good Health and Good Luck


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