The Basics of Chinese Herbal Medicine
By: Diane Joswick, L.Ac. www.Acufinder.com
* What is
a Chinese Herbal Formula?
* What is the difference between Western Herbs and Chinese
* Safety of Chinese Herbs
* Selection of Quality Herbs
Chinese Herbal Medicine
Traditional Chinese Herbal Medicine consists of 5,767
substances derived from plant, animal, and mineral sources.
The use of these substances can be traced back to 1,000 BC.
Over the past 3000 years, an incredibly rich and powerful
system has medicine has been created. During this time,
classical herbal formulas that are effective for many health
concerns have been developed. The herbs are available in the
form of herbal teas, liquid extracts, tablets, capsules,
granules, lotions, creams, salves, or poultices.
What is a
Chinese Herbal Formula?
Individual substances are rarely prescribed alone in
Traditional Chinese Medicine. A carefully balanced recipe of
several different herbs is specifically tailored for each
person's entire health condition. Each herb is chosen for its
own specific functions. In addition, herbs can enhance the
strengths and reduce the side effects of each other. The
combination of substances in a formula creates a new
therapeutic agent that can treat much more effectively and
completely that a single substance.
the difference between Western Herbs and Chinese
Western Herbal Medicine tends to use one or two herbs to
treat just a specific symptom. A Chinese Herbal formula has
as many as 20 different herbs. The herbs are selected to work
synergistically to treat the whole person. In Chinese
medicine, due to our diagnostic system, we are able to assess
a persons whole constitution (the health of their whole body)
and treat the root (or cause) of a health concern along with
a branch (or the symptoms) of a health concern. It is in this
way that we are able to treat a person's whole body and mind,
rather than just a symptom.
One of the most appealing qualities of Chinese Herbal
Medicine is the low risk of adverse reaction or side effects.
Herbal medicine uses all the constituents of the plant,
including the cellulose. The herb is completely balanced, and
therefore has minimal side effects.
The most commonly reported adverse reaction is minor
gastrointestinal upset. Modifying the herbal formula or
adding herbs to strengthen the digestive system can remedy
this. If you do notice any side effects, please stop taking
your herbs and consult your herbalist right away.
of Quality Herbs
To be confident that the herbs that you use are of the
highest potency, quality, and safety; only use herbs from
manufacturers that are certified by the Therapeutic Goods
Administration of the Australian government as having Good
Manufacturing Practice (GMP) - a hygiene guideline even more
strict than in the United States.
Do not use endangered species (plant or animal), and promote
wildlife conservation through the use of surrogate natural
These statements have not been evaluated by the Food and Drug