Gao Zi: Medicinal Syrups in Chinese Medicine

Dr. Tsueyhwa Lai and Dr. Henry McCann

Medicinal syrups, known as gao zi in modern Chinese, are a traditional - although lesser-known - method of herb administration in Chinese medicine. Gao zi are highly concentrated decoctions, usually made with supplementing herbs and thickened with sugar, gelatin, or fat, which are then used for internal administration. Although they are labour-intensive to prepare, they store well for long periods of time and are easy to take, and are thus an effective way of taking herbal formulas. Since they taste better than normal decoctions, they can improve patient compliance with treatment over a long period of time. This article is an introduction to gao zi in Chinese medicine and gives an overview of their history, characteristics, preparation methods and administration. Exemplar formulas and case studies are also provided to illustrate how gao zi are used in the clinic.

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AuthorDr. Tsueyhwa Lai and Dr. Henry McCann

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