About Herbal Medicine
What is Chinese herbal medicine?
Chinese herbology is an important part of Traditional Chinese Medicine and can be used alone, or to compliment acupuncture treatments. Herbs are powerful medicinal substances that can accelerate and strengthen the healing process. There are over 10,000 substances in the modern Chinese material medica, including various parts of plants such as leaves, flowers, seeds or roots. Usually 8 to 14 different herbs are prescribed by the doctor into an individualized formula that is custom tailored to treat that individual’s root cause of disease at the exact stage of their healing. This specificity allows for optimal therapeutic effect and few, if any side effects. On average, a week’s supply of herbal medicine is $15 to $20.
History of Chinese Herbal Medicine
Here in the U.S., Chinese herbal medicine is thought of as alternative medicine, yet ironically, many common pharmaceutical drugs such as aspirin, morphine and digoxin have their origins in plant medicine. And for many people throughout the world, herbal medicine is their primary form of health care. It is a rational, systematic type of medicine most likely first used by ancient Indian and Chinese practitioners. Documented evidence of herbal medicine use appears in literature and archeological evidence dating back more than 3000 years in China. In fact, the world’s first complete clinical textbook in medical history was published by a Chinese medical physician in 220 A.D.
Are Chinese herbs safe?
When prescribed by a trained herbalist, yes. These herbs are derived from nature and do not contain chemicals, alcohol or preservatives. Chinese herbs do not have the same harsh side effects often experienced with Western medications. They generally do not interact with most prescription drugs, and your practitioner is highly trained to be aware of and to avoid those rare instances when interactions might occur. In addition, all of the herbal suppliers used by Blue Heron Acupuncture adhere to strict safety guidelines. Each batch of herbs is checked for contaminants such as bacteria, fungus and heavy metals. These suppliers also follow all current standards of Good Manufacturing Practice (cGMP) established by the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) and World Health Organization (WHO).
How do I take Chinese herbs?
Chinese herbs can be administered in a number of different ways. They may be taken as powdered extracts which can be dissolved in warm water and consumed as a tea. They can also be used in their whole and raw form, in which case they are taken home and cooked down into a liquid form to drink as tea. Or they may be taken pre-made as tablets or capsules. You and your doctor will decide together what form of herbs is best for you on an individual basis.
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