What is Chinese Herbal Medicine?
Chinese herbal medicine is the main treatment method within the Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM). TCM is the world’s oldest, continually practiced professional medicine. Its written history stretches back over 2,500 years and it’s practice is probably much older than that. Although acupuncture was the first Chinese method of treatment to gain wide acceptance in the West, Chinese herbal medicine is quickly establishing itself as one of the most popular and effective alternative therapies in the West.
Q:What’s the difference between Western herbalism and Chinese Herbal Medicine?
A: Western fold herbalism primarily treats diseases or symptoms, such as headaches, runny nose, menstrual pain, etc. Yet, its theory is still based on Western medicine. Chinese herbal medicine, when practiced as a part of TCM, is based on an individualized pattern of symptoms as well as disease diagnosis. Your pattern is made up of your physical signs and symptoms, your emotional temperament and the overall composition of your body.
Q: Are all the “herbs” vegetables in origin?
A: Chinese herbal medicine may include vegetable, animal and mineral ingredients. However, the majority of ingredients are from vegetable sources. Leaves, flowers, fruits, seeds, twigs, stems, roots, tubers, rhizomes, and bark are among the parts of the vegetables used.
Q: Do all the herbs come from China?
A: The Chinese adopted and incorporated herbs from all over the world. Fifteen to twenty percent of the 500 ingredients considered standard originated from outside China. What makes these “Chinese” herbs is that they are prescribed according to Chinese medical theory and a TCM pattern diagnosis.
Q: Does Chinese herbal medicine work for Western patients?
A: Yes, Chinese herbal medicine works as well for Westerners as it does for Chinese. Chinese herbal medicine has been used successfully in North and South America, Europe, Africa, Australia, New Zealand, and all throughout Asia for centuries.
Q: How is Chinese herbal medicine taken?
A: In China, the most common method of taking Chinese herbal medicine is drinking a liquid decoction, prepared by boiling the selected herbs. There are also herbal pills, tablets, tinctures, and powdered extracts for those who do not have the time or taste for drinking the more traditional liquid form.
Q: Does Chinese herbal medicine have side effects?
A: Most of the ccomponents of Chinese herbal medicine have very low toxicity compared to even common, over-the-counter Western drugs. As a matter of fact, Chinese herbal medicine has same standard as vitamin supplement in the U.S. When Chinese herbal medicine is prescribed according to a correct TCM pattern diagnosis, they should have few, if any side effects, only beneficial healing results. If you experience and discomfort while taking Chinese herbal medicine, tell your practitioner who will modify the formula until there are no side effects.
Q: Does Chinese herbal medicines inter-react or interfere with Western drugs?
A: Yes, in certain cases. So, it is important for a patient to find a qualified TCM practitioner to prescribe the correct Chinese herbal medicine formula.
Q: What is Chinese herbal medicine good for?
A: Chinese herbal medicine treats the full range of human disease. It is used to treat:
- Acute diseases, like intestinal flu and the viral or common cold, headaches.
- Cardiovascular disorders, angina, tachycardia, palpitation, hypertension cholesterol, circulation problems, Raynaud’s disease.
- Gynecological disorders such as PMS, menopause syndrome, bacterial vaginal infection, ovarian cysts, uterine tumor, endometriosis, infertility, mastitis and post-partum depression.
- Digestive disorders, indigestion, acid reflux, colitis, diverticulitis, Chron’s disease, irritable bowel syndrome, gallbladder problems.
- Genito-Uronary problems like ED, kidney infection/stones, incontinent, urinary track infection, nocturnal urination, and prostate problems.
- Neurological disorders like insomnia, migraines, vertigo, fibromyalgia, restless leg syndrome, peripheral neuropathy, trigeminal neuralgia, seizures, stroke rehabilitation.
- Psychological/Emotional Disorders such as anxiety, depression…
- Immune deficiency, allergies, chronic fatigue, and chronic viral infection.
- Degenerative diseases due to aging. Chinese herbal medicine is especially good for promoting the body’s ability to heal and recover from illness.
Q: Can children take Chinese herbal medicine?
A: Yes again. Pediatrics is a specialty within TCM and children can be given reduced dosages. There are also specially prepared medicines in pill, liquid, and powder form. Chinese herbal medicine can treat colic, the fussiness of teething, earache, diarrhea, cough, and fever in babies and children.
Q: How long does it take to see results with Chinese herbal medicine?
A: In acute conditions, results may occur in a matter of hours. In chronic conditions some results should be seen within a couple of weeks. Although chronic conditions may require taking Chinese herbal medicine for a long time, signs that the medicine is working should be apparent to the patient and practitioner alike almost from the very start.
Q: How do I know if a practitioner if professionally trained in Chinese herbal medicine?
A: Although Chinese herbal medicines are safe when prescribed by a trained and knowledgeable practitioner, they are strong medicine. Patients should ask about where the practitioner trained, how long the training was, how long he or she has been in practice, and what experience the practitioner has had in treating the patient’s specific ailment. Chinese herbal medicine may be part of the testing done where acupuncture is a licensed and regulated healthcare profession. Ask your practitioner if your state requires a license to practice; about half the states do. In states that do not currently require licensing, patients should ask their practitioners if they are certified by the National Certification Commission for Acupuncture and Oriental Medicine (NCCAOM).