CHINESE HERBAL MEDICINE
What is Chinese Herbal Medicine?
Chinese Herbal Medicine is the use of herbs, often in conjunction with acupuncture, for added therapeutic effect. Chinese herbs are a powerful medicine when prescribed by a trained herbalist. While many cultures have herbal medicine traditions, the sophistication of Chinese herbal medicine is unsurpassed. Chinese herbal medicine has a long history reaching back several thousand years. Consequently, the resulting system is now used to treat everything from the common cold to symptoms associated with cancer.
How are herbs taken?
There are thousands of herbs in the Chinese materia medica, of which about 300 are commonly used. Generally, you will receive a mixture of several different herbs in a formula that has been tailored to your condition.
Fortunately, herbs are dispensed in many forms. The most effective form is a decoction of "raw" herbs. An herbal pharmacy prepares a mixture of dried herbs that are roots, berries, twigs, flowers and sometimes minerals. The patient cooks the herbs in water to make a tea or decoction. This tea is taken usually two times a day and the excess is refrigerated for up to two weeks. A typical formula lasts seven to ten days.
Alternatively, if a client prefers to not cook the raw herbs, a tincture can be purchased. A tincture is raw herbs cooked into a very concentrated form with alcohol added to preserve the solution. An individualized formula is prepared by a pharmacy and mailed to the patient.
If neither the raw herbs nor a tincture are appealing, herbs can be made into either a powder or pills. The powder is actually the concentrated decoction with the water removed. Similarly, pills are the dehydrated powder put into capsule form or made into tablets. Due to the convenience and taste, most patients prefer herbs in this formulation. Some formulas can be modified to an individual patient but most are patent formulas, pre-made and ready for general use. They are very effective.
Are Chinese herbs safe?
Chinese herbs are extremely effective and normally have only mild side effects, however it is very important to tell me about all the medications and supplements you are currently taking in order to avoid any unwanted interactions with your formula. I have a certificate in Chinese Herbal Studies from Academy from Five Element Acupuncture. To learn more about Chinese Herbal Medicine, click here.