In a formula, the king herb is the herb that is primarily responsible for dealing with the syndrome under treatment. The ingredient that exerts the major and leading effects in a formula. Generally, the King herb should constitute the largest proportion of a formula, a competent formula usually only contains one to two principal herbs so that the therapeutic effects can be focused.
Also known as the associate ingredient, it usually perform one of two very different functions. One is to support the King herb to exert major actions on the body. Second is to improve and treat the accompanying symptoms or co-existing disharmony patterns. In comparison with the King herb, the minister herb usually has a weaker action.
This ingredient has three roles in a formula. One is to reinforce the effects of the King or Minister herbs or to treat the less important co-existing patterns. Second role is to eliminate the toxicity of the King or Minister herbs, or to modulate their harsh properties and third is to provide paradoxical assistant.
This has two different functions. One is to force the actions of the formula on the target meridian or area of the body and the other is to harmonize and integrate the effects of other herbs.