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Herbal Therapy

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What is Chinese herbal therapy?

Developed over 5,000 years ago, Traditional Chinese Medicine or TCM refers to a number of practices. While acupuncture is perhaps the most widely recognized area of TCM, Chinese herbal therapy actually comprises the majority of TCM.

Essentially, Traditional Chinese Medicine is based on restoring and maintaining balance and harmony, both internally and externally. Chinese herbal therapy administers natural herbal formulas specifically designed to correct imbalanced properties within the body, thereby aiding in the treatment of disease.

Why should I turn to Chinese herbal medicine?

Treating disease is extremely complicated and current health care system can't fully cope with such complexity alone. Despite progress made in modern medicine, there are substantial deficiencies in the treatment of cancer, heart disease, arthritis, AIDS, auto-immune disease, and diabetes, as well as other metabolic and degenerative conditions. Chinese herbal therapy offers an ancient, natural method of addressing modern health problems by taking the whole body into consideration, rather than just the symptom.

How does Chinese Medicine Work?

Chinese Medicine works by re-establishing balance and harmony within the body, This means balance between yin and yang, balance between the five phases, balance between the viscera and bowels, and balance between the Qi, blood, and body fluids. This balance is re-established by supporting the body's healthy or righteous energy and attacking any unhealthy or evil energy.

Does it really work?

Yes. Modern drugs that you may already use are derived from the thousands of years old raw herbs from China. Pharmacological testing on hundreds of herbs has demonstrated that most of the herbs have significant physiological activity correlating with the traditional use of the herb. Clinical studies utilizing single herbs and complex formulas have been conducted in large hospital trials involving hundreds of patients. The results of the studies indicate that stubborn conditions which fail to respond to modern pharmaceutical treatments often respond well to herbal therapy.

For which conditions does Chinese herbal therapy work best?

Chinese herbal therapy is often used for treating functional disorders, hormonal imbalances, and “ organic problems “. For example, Chinese herbal therapy can be applied to weak digestion, estrogen deficiencies, cysts and tumors. The effects of herbs are usually seen after several days of regular use, rather than immediately, but once the effects are achieved they often last for a long period of time. The combination of acupuncture and/or other physical manipulation with Chinese herbs usually provides the most dramatic results.

How does the Chinese medical practitioner determine what is out of balance?

Practitioner of Chinese Medicine diagnoses what is out of balance in a person's body by employing four basic examinations. The first is questioning about one's signs and symptoms, medical history, and course of disease. The second is visually inspecting one's face, body, and especially one's tongue and its coating. The third is listening to one's voice and the sound of one' breathing as well as smelling any odors emanating form one's body or excretions. And the fourth is palpating various areas of the body and especially the pulse at both wrists. Using a combination of one's signs and symptoms, tongue diagnosis, and pulse diagnosis, the practitioner can determine the pattern of disharmony which requires rebalancing.

How is this rebalancing accomplished?

If something is too hot, the practitioner seeks to cool it down. If something is too cool, they try to warm it up. If something is too wet, they try to dry it, while if something is too dry, they try to moisten it. If something it's too much, they try to make it less. And if something is too little, they try to build it up. If something is stuck, they try to move it, and if something is flowing inappropriately, they try to make it flow in the right direction and amount.

What methods are used to re-establish balance within one's body?

The main professionally applied methods of re-establishing balance are Chinese herbal medicine and acupuncture / moxibustion. Chinese herbal medicines may be prescribed internally or applied externally. Acupuncture and moxibustion seek to regulate the flow of Qi and blood within the body by either inserting fine, sterile needles at certain acupoints or warming certain acupoints by various methods. In addition, Chinese medical practitioners may also use Tui Na (tuina) or An Mo, styles of Chinese massage, they may prescribe remedial or preventive exercises, such as Tai Ji, Qi Gong, or Dao Yin, and they typically counsel their patients on diet and lifestyle, all according to the theories of Chinese medicine.

Is Chinese Medicine Safe?

Very safe. When practiced correctly by trained, qualified professional practitioners, acupuncture and Chinese herbal medicine are extremely safe. In fact, when practiced correctly, they have no side effects and produce no iatrogenic or doctor-caused disease. If a patient reports side effects from a Chinese Medical treatment, the practitioner modifies the treatment until there is healing without side effects. This is because Chinese Medicine seeks to restore balance to the entire person, not just the piece or part. Side effects mean there is imbalance which needs to be corrected.

Does Chinese Medicine only work for Chinese?

Chinese medicine has worked for thousands of years on literally billions of people. Because of the diverse population of China and its varied geography, Chinese medicine has proven itself effective on all sorts of ethnic groups in all sorts of climates and lifestyles. In fact, Chinese medicine is so universally effective that the World Health Organization ( WHO ) has selected it for worldwide propagation. At this time, thousands of practitioners around the world are proving every day that Chinese medicine works no matter where on lives or to what race on belongs.

Can drugs and/or dietary supplements be combined with Chinese herbal therapy?

Chinese herbs may make it possible to take lower dosages of modern medicines, to reduce their side effects, and obtain better, more comprehensive results. While modern medicine can offer acute, immediate treatments, Chinese herbal therapy can strengthen long-term benefits, naturally. Chinese herbal therapy has been successfully used in conjunction with dietary supplements.

What is the best way to take Chinese herbs

Traditionally, Chinese herbs were taken either in a decoction ( a tea simmered for at least 45 minutes ) or as a coarse powder ( made into pills or steeped in boiled water ).

Today, more scientific methods of preparation are available. The preferred methods are a modification of the traditional decoction method with high-tech equipment, under controlled conditions. The decoction is then dried to form a concentrate or fine powder which is then transformed into granules, capsules or tablets.

Such concentrated extracts free the patient from the lengthy process of decocting the raw herbs and bypass the strong, unpleasant tasting tea. Today's granules, capsules and tablets offer easy administration and standardized quality as major advantages. Check with your practitioner regarding the herbal formulas they prescribes to ensure that the manufacturer is reputable and upholds manufacturing regulation and standards.

Are there any side effects from taking Chinese herbs?

Chinese herbs are well known for their lack of side-effects, when administered by knowledgeable practitioners. Only occasional, mild adverse reactions have occurred, such as gastrointestinal disturbance. If such a reaction occurs, it can almost always be prevented by taking the herbs after a meal ( rather than before, as is usually recommended ). Very few people have experienced dizziness, rash, or nervousness from taking herbs. This usually indicates that the formula is not adequately balanced for their specific needs. In such cases, another formula should be tried or the formulation should be adjusted. In all cases, any reactions to the herbs will disappear shortly after stopping usage.

With Chinese herbal therapy, the intention is to affect the whole body. An herbal formula is carefully composed and rarely has side effects because its influences on different parts of the body are balanced by other herbs, thus each part of the body receives the desired type of effect.