Herbal names change in different ancient times; the situation leads to the same herb called by different names, or the same name represents different herbs. Therefore, sometimes applying tong-cao or mu-tong is a controversial issue; for instance, Zhang Zhong-Jing’s “Dang Gui Si Ni Tang” should use mu-tong or tong-cao in Hang Dynasty. For understanding the process of historical development on the change of herbal names:“mu-tong” and “tong-cao” to precisely interpret herbal names written on bencao and medical formulary books, we arrange bencao, medical formula, comprehensive medical literatures, literary and historical books, and naturalistic materials, add information like time, place and background of the author to analyze. The research outcomes point out: authorized bencao books: Shennong Bencao Jing, Shennong Bencao Jing Jizhu, Xinxiu Bencao all addressed Akebia quinata (Lardizabalaceae), mu-tong, as “tong-cao”. The herbal name “mu-tong” appears on Yaodui written in Northern Qi Dynasty; besides, Yaoxing Lun composed in Tang Dynasty rename “tong-cao” to “mu-tong”. Until Song Dynasty, “mu-tong” stands for the herbal plant mu-tong, whereas “tong-cao” becomes an alternative name of tong-tuomu. With respect to clinical medication, before Tang and Five Dynasties, it is more often to use “mu-tong” rather than “tong-cao” among medical formulary books. “Chuan-mutong” is species recognized by the authority, Song Dynasty government and confused herbs of mu-tong exist. Overall, the usage rate of tong-cao is generally lower than mutong before Song Dynasty. As a result, while investigating formula and medicine records in ancient literature, we should differentiate the change of herbal names to understand certain medical conditions during its written time.