Chinese medicine comes in many different formats. Here's what certain common words mean:

PIAN (片 - Piàn)
Tablet (modern looking pill)

WAN (丸 - Wán)
Pill (old-style or handmade pill, or black teapill)

TANG (湯 - Tāng)
Water Decoction (boiled whole herbs)

SAN (散 - Sàn)
Powder (milled or granulated)

SHUI (水 - Shuǐ)
Tincture (extract with alcohol or other solvent)

GAO (膏 - Gāo)
Paste (topical unguent or plaster)

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