Chinese herbal medicine is as ancient as acupuncture and is a major aspect of traditional Chinese medicine. Herbs enhance and augment the therapeutic effects of an acupuncture treatment. They are something you can take at home to support your healing between qi gong and acupuncture treatments. Of course, herbs can be prescribed and taken on their own without having to have acupuncture treatments.
Chinese Herbs FAQs
Q: What is Chinese herbal medicine?
A: Chinese herbal medicine, along with the other components of Chinese medicine, is based on the concepts of Yin and Yang. It aims to understand the patient's Qi's current state compared to its ideal or pristine state. TCM practitioners find optional treatments to improve balance in the patients Qi or vitality may be depleted or blocked. Clinical strategies are based upon diagnosis of patterns of signs and symptoms that reflect an imbalance.
Because of its systematic approach and clinical effectiveness it has for centuries had a very great influence on the theory and practice of medicine in the East, and more recently has grown rapidly in popularity in the West. It still forms a major part of healthcare provision in China and Taiwan, and is provided in state hospitals alongside western medicine.
Q: Does Chinese Herbs only come from plants?
A: Yes, however, formulations (a recipe, commonly called formula) may include minerals or animal products. They can be packaged as powders, pastes, lotions or tablets, depending on the herb and its intended use. Different herbs have different properties and can balance particular parts of the body. Prescribing a particular herb or concoction of herbs means the practitioner’s diagnosis has to take into account the state of the patient’s Yin and Yang, and the elements that are governing the affected organs.
Q: How many Chinese herbal medicines are there?
There are thousands of herbs in the Chinese pharmacopia, consisting of plants, minerals and animal products. Chinese herbs are usually combined into Formulations (a recipe, commonly called formula) containing anywhere from 2 to 20 herbs. These combinations are designed to augment the actions or to ameliorate adverse effects of certain herbs in the formulation.
Q: What is Chinese patent Medicine?
A: Chinese patent medicine is a kind of traditional Chinese medicine. They are standardized herbal formulas. From ancient times, pills were formed by combining several herbs and other ingredients, which were dried and ground into a powder. They were then mixed with a binder and formed into pills by hand. The binder was traditionally honey. Modern teapills (wan) however, are extracted in stainless steel extractors to create either a water decoction or water-alcohol decoction, depending on the herbs used. They are extracted at a low temperature (below 100 degrees Celsius) to preserve essential ingredients. The extracted liquid is then further condensed and some raw herb powder from one of the herbal ingredients is mixed in to form herbal dough. This dough is then machine cut into tiny pieces, a small amount of excipients are added for a smooth and consistent exterior, and they are spun into pills. Teapills are characteristically little round black pills. Similar process applies to concentrating 5:1 extract powders is decocted using the same low temperature distillation process as teapills.
These medicines are not patented in the traditional sense of the word. No one has exclusive rights to the formulation. Instead, "patent" refers to the “standardization” of the formulation. In China, all Chinese patent medicines of the same name will have the same proportions of ingredients, and manufactured in accordance with the PRC Pharmacopoeia, which is mandated by law. Taiwan and Hong Kong also manufacture high quality of patent medicines and single herbs extracts. However, in western countries there may be variations in the proportions of ingredients in patent medicines of the same name, and even different ingredients altogether.
Chinese patent medicines are easy and convenient. They are not easy to customize on a patient-by-patient basis, however. They are often used when a patient's condition is not severe and the medicine can be taken as a long-term treatment. Your healer can customize a special formulation base on your symptoms.
Q: Are Teapills or capsules a standard dose? Are doses varied depending on size(weight), gender, age or condition of patient?
A: Teapill (wan) and capsule do have standard serving (dosage) for each formulation. It is like the “daily value” suggestion base on average of adult’s size, gender and age. Your healer will consider the conditions of patient and give a special serving instruction. CTAHC has utilized the herbal capsule to make Chinese Herbal Medicine more accessible and convenient for busy modern lifestyles. According to researches, the herbal capsule can be absorbs by human body as quick and effective as the tea decoction.
Q: Is herbs safe?
A: Chinese herbal medicines 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. Allergic type reactions are rare, and will cause no lasting damage if treatment is stopped as soon as symptoms appear.
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.
Q: What can Chinese Medicine treat?
A: Chinese medicine is successfully used for a very wide range of conditions. Among the more commonly treated disorders are:
Skin disease, including eczema, psoriasis, acne, rosacea, urticarial
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
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
Diabetes, including treatment and prevention
Psychological problems (e.g. depression, anxiety)