How To Cook Chinese Herbs on a Stove Top

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Cooking Raw Chinese Herbs on the Stove Top

Properly cooking, or decocting, Chinese herbs is essential for accessing the full effectiveness of the herbs. Many raw Chinese herb formulas work just like a simple cup of hot tea, however, some require a more intensive cooking process.

In the past, cooking herbs could be tedious, time-consuming, and extremely fragrant—sometimes not in a good way! However, now there are several easy ways to prepare herbs that use equipment you have in your kitchen. Read below to see how to cook herbs on the stove top and browse other ways to prepare your herbs. 

  • Prep Time: 30 minutes – 10 hours
  • Cook Time: 1 hour 5 minutes
  • Yields: 8 – 32 oz

Benefits of Raw Chinese Herbs

Chinese herbal medicine has been used for thousands of years to safely expedite the healing process, strengthen, support and tonify the body. They are effective in not only treating the symptom but also in working to address the underlying root cause of various medical conditions, whether acute or chronic. Individual herbs are combined in order to enhance their actions and effects upon the body. When combined, a unique synergistic formula is created that amplifies the benefits of the formula. When prescribed and used correctly, Chinese herbal formulas rarely cause unwarranted side effects.

What You’ll Need

  • Stainless Steel or Ceramic Cooking Pot
  • Raw Chinese Herbs 
  • Water (Filtered or bottled is best) 
  • Wire-Mesh Strainer
  • Funnel
  • Glass Storage Container(s)


Before cooking your Chinese herbs, you will need to soak them in water. Place raw herbs into cooking pot and cover with water, approximately one inch of water above the level of herbs. For best results, allow herbs to soak overnight. (Minimum of 30 minutes.)

Instructions for Cooking Chinese Herbs on the Stove Top

Cooking Chinese herbs on your stove top is a simple, straight forward way to enjoy the benefits of herbal medicine. This double boil method ensures you get the most out of your prescription. Note: Some herbs should not be cooked for long periods of time. If some of those herbs are included in your formula, add these herbs to the pot after the first boil and stir in. Allow to steep for 3-5 minutes then strain the decoction. Short cook herbs do not need to be soaked prior to cooking. 

  1. Move your pot to your stove top and bring water to a boil. Once boiling, reduce heat to maintain a light, rolling boil. 
  2. Cover the pot with a lid and cook herbs for 20 minutes.  
  3. Remove from heat and pour liquid through the wire-mesh strainer into storage container(s). Retain herbs. 
  4. Return the boiled herbs to the stove, again covering with water. Bring to a boil and repeat the process, this time cooking for 25-30 minutes. 
  5. Remove from heat and strain the liquid from the second boiling into the same storage container so first and second boilings are combined. 
  6. Enjoy! It’s best to drink the herbs warm; however, if you prefer, you can also drink them at room temperature. 

Alternative Ways To Prepare and Enjoy Chinese Herbs

There are several other ways to cook Chinese herbs. Although many patients love this stove top method, we know each person has a preferred preparation method. Click the links below to see which cooking technique works best for you. 

Better Health, Naturally 

Cooking raw Chinese herbs is a time-tested method for unlocking the power of the Earth’s natural medicine.  Choose your favorite cooking method and enjoy the soothing practice of taking care of yourself through Chinese herbal remedies.

Dr. Adam Miramon, DACM, DiplOM, LAc

Dr. Miramon is a Certified Acupuncturist and Herbalist who is the Chief Clinic Director & President at Transformational Acupuncture Clinic in Washington D.C. They have devoted their life to expanding their knowledge in a variety of facets from reproductive health, labor and delivery, to Chinese herbal knowledge. Through a desire to better serve patients and practitioners, they founded Transformational Herbal Pharmacy in 2023.

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