Herbal Medicine is the most significant modality or treatment within acupuncture (link) and Oriental Medicine (link) . Although acupuncture was the first Chinese healing modality to gain wide acceptance, Chinese herbal medicine is quickly establishing itself as one of the most popular and effective therapies.
Chinese herbal medicine is different than Western folk herbalism, in that, Chinese herbal medicine is based on an individualized pattern diagnosis. This means that the patient receives a custom prescription designed to treat both the symptoms of their condition, as well as, the individual pattern.
Chinese herbal medicine primarily uses single herbs or groups of herbs that treat the same condition and so is carefully crafted to include herbs that will address the person’s main symptoms and their entire pattern.
How to take Chinese herbs?
Capsules, pills, tablets, granules, powders and extracts are most common for prolonged use and to consolidate therapeutic results. They are very useful in the case of chronic conditions where formulas do not have to be very potent or changed on a frequent basis. If a practitioner prescribes an herbal formula, they will calculate the necessary dosage of each herb for your specific condition. This formula can be added to food. There are also liniments, salves, oils and compresses that can be used for external applications.
What is Chinese herbal medicine good for?
Chinese herbal medicine treats a full range of conditions. It treats acute diseases, like the common cold or intestinal flu. It also treats chronic diseases, such as, allergies, gynecological disorders, degenerative diseases or auto-immune diseases.
Chinese herbal medicine is especially good at promoting the body’s ability to heal and recuperate. It attempts to treat the full range of a condition by re-balancing. If something is too hot, the practitioner seeks to cool it down. If something is too cold, then they try to warm it up. If something is to wet, then they try to dry it. While if something is too dry, they try to moisten it. This is combined with if something is too much, then they try to lessen it and if something is too little, they try to build it up. If something is stuck, they try to move it. If something is flowing inappropriately, then they try to make it flow in the right direction and amount.
How long before I will see results?
In acute conditions, results can be expected in a matter of minutes. In chronic conditions, some results should be seen within two weeks. Although, chronic conditions may require taking herbal formulas for a prolonged period of time. Nonetheless, signs that the medicine is working should be apparent to the patient and practitioner alike from the very start.
It is important that the patient call the practitioner immediately if and when any subtle side effects are felt. Any discomfort felt while taking herbal medicine can be avoided by modifying the formula accordingly. Even pregnant and lactating women can take herbal prescriptions to treat any symptoms experienced during pregnancy or post-partum without harm to the fetus.
Are ancient formulas still valid?
The vast amount of Chinese herbal knowledge available today has been accumulated in writings for thousands of years. That means that today’s herbalist draw on ancient herbal formulas that have been getting sick people well for a very long time. The formulas work just as well today as they did in China ages ago. The practitioner will often change or modify the ancient formula in order to fit with modern patterns. This allows the patient to receive the best of both worlds.
Although it is called Chinese herbal medicine, it does not mean that all the herbs are vegetable in nature. Please notify your practitioner if you do not consume animal products as ingredients will be found in the three kingdoms; vegetable, animal and mineral.
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