Together with acupuncture, herbal medicine is a major pillar of Chinese medicine. Herbal medicine uses plant leaves, plant stems, bark, roots, seeds and flowers.The unique characteristic of Chinese herbal medicine is the degree to which formulation is done. In other forms of herbal medicine, especially western herbal medicine, herbs are often delivered singly or combined into very small formulas of herbs with the same function. In contrast, Chinese herbalists rarely prescribe a single herb to treat a condition. They create formulas instead. A formula usually contains at least four to twenty herbs. Each herbal ingredient has its own specific properties which are cleverly combined together as a treatment for diseases.