What is Chinese Herbal Medicine?
It is believed that humans across the globe have been using herbs (plant, animal and mineral substances) to heal themselves since before written history. Chinese herbal medicine has a precise and detailed way of classifying each herb by its properties (hot, cold, astringent, drying, sour, to name a few). There are thousands of Chinese herbs and herb formulas that can help a person achieve optimum health by improving the balance of Qi, Blood, Yin, Yang, and other energetic functions. Some of the classic formulas date back many centuries and have been prescribed to countless individuals over time. In fact, the first Materia Medica dates to approximately 300 BCE. I enjoy telling my patients that their custom formula, though tailored for their needs, was first prescribed during, for example, the Tang Dynasty (618 - 907 CE)!
During our initial meeting, I will use information gathered by taking your pulses, observing your tongue, noting your countenance, and listening to your health needs. After thorough discussion, I will craft either a custom prescription herb formula, comprised of 2 to 20 individual herbs, recommend a patent formula (pills or capsules already made), or a topical application. Whereas Western herbal medicine tends to use single herb prescriptions, Chinese herbal medicine relies on the synergistic effect of combining herbs. It is fascinating the way combining individual herbs can create something so different than its parts. Your formula will address your particular organ systems in need and boost vitality.
The most personalized and often most potent way to take herbs is by customized prescription. The herbs come in a bag and are cooked according to my directions, then taken as a tea twice a day. How fun to see your medicine brewing on your stove or crock pot! Another way is to use a convenient liquid concentrate, taken twice daily, sent to you from a Chinese herbal pharmacy. You and I will discuss which method best fits your healing goals, schedule and budget.
Herbal medicine is real medicine, and can bring safe, powerful healing when administered by a trained professional. I am trained to be careful of herb-drug interactions, so I will ask for a list of pharmaceuticals and other supplements (vitamins, herbs, enzymes, etc). Still, we do not know how every herb relates to every pharmaceutical. I recommend patients stay with the timing of taking their Western medicine, and we space the herbs around them appropriately.
I use only herb companies that adhere to strict Good Manufacturing Standards, meaning the herbs are consistently tested and controlled to meet the highest quality requirements.