What is Chinese herbal medicine?
Chinese Herbal medicine was created more than 2500 years ago and is the main modality within Traditional Chinese medicine (TCM). Chinese Herbal treatment differs from that of Western Herbal treatment in the way each herb is prescribed. It is very rare that a single herb will ever be prescribed by a doctor of traditional Chinese medicine where in western herbal practice it is very common to just take a single herb (ie echinachea). Western Herbal treatment generally treats diseases and/or symptoms (headaches, PMS, Diarrhea, …) while in Chinese medicine herbal formulas are prescribed for each individuals pattern. In Chinese medicine each individual patient will be prescribed a custom herbal formula created specifically to treat an individuals symptoms and their individual pattern.
In Chinese medicine Herbs are prescribed within a formula to treat the root of a disease and its manifestation, rather than treating the disease which a patient has. This generally provides a long term solution to the ailments of each patient.
How are Chinese herbal formulas taken?
Herbal formulas are usually taken internally as decoctions (herbs boiled in water). However, doctors of Traditional Chinese Medicine may also prescribe herbs in the forms of pills, powders, syrups, soaks, and plasters. Today the traditional method of cooking raw herbs is generally considered to time consuming and costly (not to mention not very pleasing to ones palate) so it is not commonly practiced.
What can Chinese herbal medicine treat?
Chinese herbal medicine is able to treat an expansive range of human disorders including both acute (common cold) and chronic (allergies) sickness. Traditional Chinese medicine is especially good at promoting the bodies ability to help heal itself without using overly invasive techniques or chemicals.
How long before I see results taking Chinese herbal formulas?
This question is difficult to answer due to the vast array of conditions which are treated with Chinese herbal formulas. Generally acute conditions will be treated faster generating relatively fast results (hours or days). While in chronic conditions results will appear slower depending on how long you have had your condition and how complicated your disorder is. Once a diagnosis has been completed a approximation of how long your treatment should take and how quick results may be seen should be discussed with your TCM Doctor.
Can Chinese herbal formulas be taken during pregnancy?
During pregnancy, Chinese herbal medicine has been used for thousands of years to promote a healthy pregnancy and eliminate many disorders common during this time. Do not try to self prescribe any herbs while pregnant, only a educated doctor in Chinese medicine should prescribe herbs during this time.
Special care must be made when prescribing herbal formulas during pregnancy and any time when there is a possibility of you being pregnant your Doctor of Traditional Chinese Medicine should be informed.
Chinese Herbal Medicine is also safe for breastfeeding mothers but as mentioned above make sure the your doctor of traditional Chinese medicine is aware of your situation.
Can Chinese herbal formulas be used for childhood disorders?
Within the broad scope of traditional Chinese medicine a special area for the treatment in pediatrics has been used with exceptional results. When prescribing herbal formulas in Chinese medicine for children a general reduction dosage is common while specific formulas have been created to treat common illness’s during this time. TCM treatment has been able to treat many disorders such as colic, teething, earache, diarrhea, cough, fever, …
What are the side effects of Chinese herbal medicine?
By the use of a skilful selection of a herbal formula for each patient, a transformation in ones general health can be affected without the dangerous side effects found in drug-based medicine. This is not to say that there are no side effects with the use of traditional Chinese medicine but if the doctor of traditional Chinese medicine prescribes a properly balanced formula there should not be any major symptoms experienced.
Who can prescribe Chinese medicine herbs?
Although Chinese Herbs are safe when professionally prescribed by a trained knowledgeable individual, they have very strong effects. It is important that you only take Chinese medicine herbal formulas from a practitioner with adequate schooling in the specific subject of Chinese Medicine Herbs. Feel free to ask your Chinese Medicine Doctor about their Training and credentials to obtain a greater level of confidence in your treatment.