Chinese Herbal Medicine

What is Chinese Herbal Medicine?

Chinese herbs are natural, time-tested remedies made up of plant, mineral and animal parts used to create balance in the body. These herbs were traditionally boiled into a tea, but due to the bitter taste and inconvenience of boiling tea for an hour, herbs are now more readily available in pill, capsule, tincture (a medicine made by dissolving an herb in alcohol) or granular form.

Compared to Western pharmaceuticals, Chinese herbs treat the root cause of your illness and not just your symptoms. Most medicinal plants contain an active compound, as well as other chemical compounds that buffer and balance any potential side effects. When the active chemical in a plant is isolated and concentrated, other important compounds that balance the effects are lost. Western medications often work very quickly, but can have unpleasant side effects. Most Chinese herbs have no side effects when used in their whole plant form. They must be taken consistently for one week to several months in duration, depending on the ailment. Because the plant is in its whole form, Chinese herbs must be consumed in larger doses and more frequently. Chinese herbs can work in conjunction with your prescription medications.

How does it work?

When you come in for an herbal consultation, your practitioner will ask you about your symptoms, and go through a thorough intake of your overall health. They will ask questions about your sleep, digestion and emotional state. The practitioner will observe your voice, the brightness in your eyes, your scent, fingernails, hair, posture, gait and skin which all give valuable clues about the state of your health. Finally, your practitioner will look at your tongue and feel your pulse, these areas are major diagnostic tools of Chinese medicine. After getting a complete picture of your health, your practitioner will recommend herbal formulas, individualized to your body for the best effect. As your condition changes and improves with treatment, the Chinese herbal treatment is also adjusted and modified until the desired health outcome is achieved.

Most herbs are of plant origin, though some animal and mineral substances may also be used. You may find some herbs in your kitchen, such as ginger, garlic and cinnamon, while others such as chrysanthemum and peony flowers, are more likely to be found in your garden! Many of the substances used will be unfamiliar to you and have names like chai hu (bupleurum), di huang (rehmannia), and huang qi (astragalus). Every herb acts on one or more organs, has a thermal property (cool herbs drain heat), and specific actions on the body. All of our herbs are tested for safety and quality control.

Who would benefit?

In addition to providing effective treatment for a wide range of health disorders, Chinese herbal medicine may also be used to assist with general health maintenance and disease prevention.

A snapshot of conditions typically treated with Chinese herbal medicine includes:

  • Insomnia and fatigue
  • Loss of appetite and common digestive disorders
  • Constipation and diarrhea
  • Irritable bowel syndrome
  • Common cold and influenza
  • Chronic headaches
  • Skin disorders
  • Fluid retention
  • Anxiety, depression and stress
  • Allergies
  • Rheumatoid and osteoarthritis
  • Premenstrual syndrome and painful menstruation
  • Excessive menstruation
  • Infertility
  • Impotence and prostate disorders
  • Disorders associated with menopause

How safe are Chinese herbs?

Chinese herbal medicine is extremely safe when formulas are recommended by a licensed practitioner. All of the herbs in our clinic meet manufacturing guidelines known as Good Manufacturing Practice (GMP). You can be sure that all of the herbs we carry are tested for authenticity, potency, purity, and safety.
Herbal medicine can treat everything that pharmaceuticals can, often with fewer side effects. Many pharmaceuticals are derived from herbs. Both herbal and pharmaceutical medicine can be used in conjunction. Herbs are recommended based on your specific constitution and imbalance. 

“Until man duplicates a blade of grass, nature can laugh at his so-called scientific knowledge. Remedies from chemicals will never stand in favor compared with the products of nature, the living cell of the plant, the final results of the rays of the sun, the mother of all life.” – Thomas Edison.