What is Chinese Herbal Medicine?
Chinese herbal medicine is highly-developed and intricate system of treatment that has undergone continual evolution over thousands of years. As a major treatment modality of Traditional Chinese Medicine, Chinese herbs can be used both independently, as prescribed by an herbalist, or prescribed in conjunction with acupuncture. There are thousands of individual herbs in the Chinese Herbal Materia Medica, consisting of plants, minerals, and some animal products. Centuries of research and practice have lead to the development of hundreds of formulas, each containing a careful balance of individual herbs. A well-balanced formula contains herbs to enhance the effects of similarly-acting herbs, moderate or balance the effects of other herbs in the formula, treat multiple symptom patterns, and simultaneously treat both symptom and constitutional patterns.
What can Chinese Herbal Medicine Treat?
Chinese Herbal Medicine can be beneficial for all forms of physical and emotional concerns. Expected results and the length of treatment required will depend on the severity of the disease, its duration, and the general health of the patient. Your individualized treatment plan is discussed during your initial intake and throughout the course of your treatment.
How are Chinese herbs prescribed?
Based on the goal of restoring balance to the body, mind and spirit and maintaining health, Chinese herbs are prescribed after a careful assessment of each individual’s constitution and presenting symptoms, pattern diagnosis by his or her practitioner, and subsequent diagnosis. The principles behind diagnosis in Traditional Chinese Medicine do not follow that of treating someone based only on symptoms or by the name of a disease. Rather, each person is diagnosed based on a series of questions, observation and pulse palpation to determine his or her diagnosis. For example, ten people could present with ‘headache,’ but each person could have a very different diagnostic pattern causing the headache, and each would leave with a formula tailored to their unique situation. Chinese Herbal Medicine runs contrary to the idea of popping a pill for individual symptoms, or keeping someone on the same medication for a certain ailment, for the rest of his or her life. Rather, it seeks to balance and strengthen the body, enhancing its ability to function smoothly on its own. The effects of each formula on the individual will be carefully monitored and adjusted accordingly, over time.
How are Chinese herbs administered?
Herbs are available in a number of different formats:
‘Loose,’ or ‘raw’ herbs: Raw herbs are boiled in hot water and taken as a tea.
Extract powder or granule formulas: These formulas have the advantage of being cooked together in the traditional manner before the powdering process takes place.
Patent Formulas: Some of the most common formulas of herbs are available in prepared form as pills, capsules and tablets. There are also syrups, plasters and lozenges available. They tend to be less expensive and are more convenient to take than other forms.
Is Chinese Herbal Medicine safe?
Chinese herbs are a wonderful modality of medicine, and are very safe, when prescribed by a knowledgeable, certified practitioner. Herbs may enhance the efficacy of most treatments, and can be extremely beneficial for most patients.
Where do the herbs come from, and what do they contain?
The herbs used by qualified practitioners come from highly reputable manufacturing facility that follows GMP (Good Manufacturing Procedures) regulations and TGA procedures and come from companies that takes this one step further, putting all products through the industry’s most rigorous testing standards and inspection processes. All herbs pass multiple tests. These tests are integrated throughout their manufacturing process and each batch comes with a certificate of analysis (CoA) verifying their quality. In addition, most herbs are non-genetically modified, and are processed without wheat or corn, making them well-suited for all patients—even those typically sensitive to these common allergens.
Will Chinese herbs interfere with Western medications?
Chinese Herbal Medicine can work harmoniously with Western medication, but like anything, there can also be adverse side effects if certain substances are combined. This is why it is absolutely imperative to see a properly trained herbalist, who has undergone training in herb-drug interactions.