Chinese herbal medicine is a major aspect of traditional Chinese medicine, which focuses on restoring a balance of energy, body, and spirit to maintain health rather than treating a particular disease or medical condition.
During your visit to my clinic you may be prescribed a herbal treatment. Chinese herbal formulas typically consist of two or more single herbs carefully chosen to enhance and balance one another while targeting both the symptoms and the underlying cause(s) of your condition. Formulas may be administered as raw ingredients to boil into a tea, powders to mix with water, ready-made tinctures, capsules or pills. As your Acupuncturist, I will work with you to choose a form of herbs that best suits your lifestyle.
Chinese Herbal Medicine can greatly enhance the effects of Acupuncture, especially in the treatment of chronic disease where daily therapy is crucial to achieving significant and lasting relief, for instance:
Skin disease, including eczema, psoriasis, acne, rosacea, urticaria Gastro-intestinal disorders, including irritable bowel syndrome, chronic constipation, ulcerative colitis Gynaecological conditions, including pre-menstrual syndrome and dysmenorrhoea, endometriosis, infertility Hepatitis and HIV: some promising results have been obtained for treatment of Hepatitis C, and supportive treatment may be beneficial in the case of HIV Chronic fatigue syndromes, whether with a background of viral infection or in other situations Respiratory conditions, including asthma, bronchitis, and chronic coughs, allergic and perennial rhinitis and sinusitis Rheumatological conditions (e.g. osteoarthritis and rheumatoid arthritis) Urinary conditions including chronic cystitis Psychological problems (e.g. depression, anxiety) Many of these conditions, especially in their chronic forms, create great difficulty for conventional medicine.
Herbal Medicine and Modern Pharmacology
There is a growing body of research which indicates that traditional uses of plant remedies and the known pharmacological activity of plant constituents often coincide. However, herbal medicine is distinct from medicine based on pharmaceutical drugs. Firstly, because of the complexity of plant materials it is far more balanced than medicine based on isolated active ingredients and is far less likely to cause side-effects. Secondly, because herbs are typically prescribed in combination, the different components of a formulae balance each other, and they undergo a mutual synergy which increases efficacy and enhances safety. Thirdly, herbal medicine seeks primarily to correct internal imbalances rather than to treat symptoms alone, and therapeutic intervention is designed to encourage this self-healing process.
Who can take Chinese herbal medicine?
Chinese medicine can be used by people of any age or constitution. Your practitioner will take any previous or current illness or medication into account before prescribing herbs to you.. With suitable adjustments for dosage and with some provisos which will be determined by your practitioner, children and pregnant women can very well be treated by Chinese medicine.
If your Acupuncturist feels that Chinese herbs would be useful to you, he or she will prescribe an herbal formula designed to meet your individual health needs. He or she will monitor the effects of your prescription, making adjustments as needed to minimize side effects and maximize your healing.
Are herbs safe?
Chinese herbs are very safe when prescribed correctly by a properly trained practitioner. Over the centuries doctors have compiled detailed information about the pharmacopoiea and placed great emphasis on the protection of the patient.
Although the side effects of Chinese Herbal Medicine are minimal compared to Western pharmaceuticals, it is still potent medicine and should only be prescribed by a skilled, licensed practitioner.
Treating with Traditional Chinese Medicine therapies as a whole places great emphasis on lifestyle management in order to prevent disease before it occurs. Chinese medicine recognises that health is more than just the absence of disease and it has a unique capacity to maintain and enhance our capacity for well being and happiness.