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Chinese Herbal Medicine is an important portion of traditional Chinese medicine, combined with
acupuncture, like the two legs of our body.
Chinese herbal medicine can be used independently for many conditions, also can be combined
with acupuncture treatment together. Chinese herbal medicine is especially effective for most
of internal medicine diseases, gynecology diseases, and some skin diseases.
There is a common misunderstanding to Chinese herbal medicine. Some people think if they use
herbs from China, that is called Chinese herbal medicine. This kind of thought is totally wrong!
Whatever where the herbs from, only if we use herbs under the guidance of traditional Chinese
medicine theories, this process can be called Chinese herbal medicine. Otherwise, it is not.
Science & Art
For example, ginger, I believe everybody knows it and you can get it easily from anywhere in the
world. Besides as a delicious spice flavor, most people also recognized ginger can be used to
relief nausea, bloating and intestinal gas. Commercially some companies developed some ginger
products, and advertised those products could be used for antioxidants, anti-inflammatory.
Their thoughts to use ginger are different to what we use ginger in Chinese herbal medicine.
When ginger is used as one of Chinese herbs, we are not only focusing on its basic functions like
stopping vomiting, relieving gas. More important, we are also making use of its Chi
(temperature) and Wei (property), not one or two single pharmaceutical effective components.
We are not thinking of vitamins, or calories included in it, however we need to think about its
features in five elements, the direction it is guiding the meridians and energy flowing, the
specific organs it targets, etc. It is usually combined with other herbs to form a formula.
According to the role, ginger could be a chief herb, or just an assistant in the formula. Ancient
Chinese medicine physicians developed many famous classical formulae with ginger and they
are still widely to be used in our modern TCM clinics. Based on TCM diagnosis, we can
determine if the person is suitable to use ginger formula or not, and how to modify the formula
for the individual at a specific condition.
What is Chinese herbal formula?
A Chinese Herbal formula usually includes several or sometimes more than ten single herbs,
each herb with a specific dose and acting as a specific role. All herbs in the formula work
together like a team. It balances the human body like different departments working together in
a country. With 5000 years culture background, there are more than ten thousand effective
formulae recorded in Chinese medicine history. Those numbers of formulae make modern
researchers difficult to find an idea angle to figure out the underlying truth of Chinese herbal
medicine. Herbal medicine is defined as alternative medicine because scientists could not find a
suitable way to understand it clearly and to build up evidence for its application like western
medicine drugs. However, research is one thing, clinic is another thing. With systematical
education and advanced clinical training in traditional Chinese medicine, a qualified TCM
physician should have the ability to understand the rules how to organize different herbs to
form a specific formula for their patients. The ten thousand formulae created in history are a
valuable database for us to learn, to follow, and finally to merge their essence into our modern
clinic situation. This is called ancient wisdom, modern healing.
Chinese herbal medicine is an individual medicine. The doctor needs to collect each patient's
information by inspecting, listening and smelling, inquiring, palpation (four basic TCM diagnostic
methods), then summarizes the etiology and pathogenesis and gets a TCM diagnosis. All the
steps are supposed to be based on the TCM specific theories. Thereafter, the doctor needs to
determine the treatment principle according to the diagnosis, and then organize different herbs
together to form a specific formula. From this simple introduction you may understand the
whole process looks simple but actual is very complicated. A specific, effective herbal formula
prescription highly reflects the doctor’s medical knowledge, clinical experiences, and personal
In our clinic, we have internal taking herbs and topical herbs.
For internal taking herbs, there are raw herbs, granule herbs, patent pills or tablets. We also connect with the most famous Chinese herbal pharmacy companies in USA to offer you high quality herbal medicine services. During your visit for herbal medicine consultation, if your condition is more acute and severe, you may get the herbal formula in the clinic the same day after the visit. For some
chronic conditions or some conditions needing to have herbs for a longer term, the herbal
formula prescription may be sent to herbal company and the herbs with instructions will be
shipped to you in a few days.
Features for different type of herbs:
1. Patent pills or tablets
a. They are the most convenient type of herbal medicine, usually also the most economical.
b. The formula ingredients are fixed, cannot be modified. They are usually for some general
conditions with common features. For example, anxiety with liver qi stagnation and spleen qi
deficiency, patent formula Xiao Yao San will be a good choice. Insomnia due to spleen qi
deficiency and heart blood deficiency, Gui Pi Wan would be an excellent match. Insomnia due to
phlegm heat disturbing heart spirit, Wen Dan Pian could work well…so you can understand TCM
practitioner will recommend the proper patent herbs to you based on their TCM diagnosis.
2. Herbal Granules
a. Granule herbs were developed in recent decades, are becoming more and more popular in
modern society with busy life schedule. They are processed by qualified herbal companies and easier to use than raw herbs. Patients enjoy this format because it is simple to prepare and easy to digest. The cost of herbal granules is about the same as the cost of a raw herb formula prescription. However,
consumers receive similar efficacy and increased convenience.
b. Granule herbs offer patients a pre-prepared version of the raw herbs they have been prescribed, which makes personalized treatment more accessible. We can modify classical formulae, or make a new formula as needed to create a synergistic effect that reflects the holistic nature of TCM’s approach to wellness.
3. Raw Herbs
Decocting raw herbs ensures that you will receive the intended benefits of the formula you have been prescribed because, when decocted together, raw herbs have interactions that enhance their collective effectiveness.
However, the preparation for raw herbs decoction is a little complicated. You need a ceramic or glass pot with a tight lid, cook the prescribed herbs together with special instructions. The whole process could take 30mins to two hours. Some people also do not like the smells during
preparation of the herbal decoction.
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