What is Traditional Chinese Medicine?
Traditional Chinese medicine refers to health practices, approaches, knowledge and beliefs incorporating plant,
animal and mineral based medicines, spiritual therapies, manual techniques and exercises, applied singularly or in
combination to treat, diagnose and prevent illnesses or maintain well-being.
Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM) is an ancient medical system, which has existed about 3000 years in China.
The theory of TCM is based on Chinese ancient knowledge of anatomy, acupuncture, physiology, herbal
knowledge and clinic experience. In this system, doctors will diagnose patient with special techniques involved with
detecting the patients' symptoms, pulse, throat, tongue, color of the face, the sound of patient etc. After the doctor
gives a diagnosis, the patient will receive treatment including herbal medicine, acupuncture or acupressure to cure
What is Chinese herbal Medicine?
Chinese herbal medicine has a long history of at least 3000 years of written accounts. It developed from folk
medicine into a complex medical system that shares its theoretical background, its diagnosis and treatment plans
with acupuncture and other branches of Chinese medicine.
Of all professional medical systems still practiced today in the world Chinese medicine has the longest continuous
history. It is also important to note that Chinese herbal medicine has developed a complete system of classification
of medicinal substances describing their therapeutic qualities that is unequaled by any other herbal practice of
What is special about Chinese herbs for you is that – because Chinese medicine treats the whole person and not
the disease – each prescription will be matched exactly to your condition and needs!
The term "herbal" medicine is actually not quite correct. Although about 80 % of the medicinal substances used
are of plant origin, another 16 % are animal substances and 4 % are derived from minerals. The newest Chinese
"Materia Medica" (the complete listing of medicinal substances), compiled in 1977, lists a total of 5,767 substances.
Of these, about 300 are widely used with 150 of them considered indispensable for a well-stocked pharmacy. Not
all of these substances are native to China, about 20 % were introduced through trade from other Asian countries,
India (e.g. frankincense and myrrh) or the Americas (e.g. American ginseng).
In China, people have used natural herbs to treat a wide variety of diseases and conditions. These herbs are
called herbal medicine, which are composed of roots, bark, flowers, seeds, fruits, leaves, and branches. It is well
known that Traditional Chinese Medicine has over 3000 years history and Chinese herb medicine is one of most
important parts of Traditional Chinese Medicine which also includes acupuncture. In China, there are over 3000
different herbs that can be used for medical purposes. However, about 300 to 500 of these herbs are commonly
used. It is important to use herbs grown in China rather than outside of their native environment. One must use the
right herb from the right source to get the full benefit.
Chinese herbology is a system of herbal treatment. It is not applied in the way that most herbs and medicines are
used in our Western world. For example, all medicines (including herbal medicines) under western schools of
thought are used because they are known to produce certain effects. St. John's Wort and Prozac are used for
depression because they are both known to counter depression in the human body. Chinese Herbal Medicine was
developed as an integral part of Chinese Medicine. It is used to re-harmonize imbalances in the body. Therefore, a
cough would not be treated by choosing an anti-tussive alone. It must first be determined where the cough is
coming from, and then the appropriate group of herbs would be combined to treat the problem.
Increasing Use and Popularity
TCM has maintained its popularity in all regions of the developing world and its use is rapidly spreading in
• In China, traditional herbal preparations account for 30%-50% of the total medicinal consumption.
• In Ghana, Mali, Nigeria and Zambia, the first line of treatment for 60% of children with high fever resulting
from malaria is the use of herbal medicines at home.
• World Health Organization (WHO) estimates that in several African countries traditional birth attendants
assist in the majority of births.
• In Europe, North America and other industrialized regions, over 50% of the population have used
complementary or alternative medicine at least once.
• In San Francisco, London and South Africa, 75% of people living with HIV/AIDS use TM/CAM.
• 70% of the population in Canada has used complementary medicine at least once.
• In Germany, 90% of the population have used a natural remedy at some point in their lives. Between 1995
and 2000, the number of doctors who had undergone special training in natural remedy medicine had almost
doubled to 10 800.
• In the United States, 158 million of the adult population use complementary medicines and according to the
USA Commission for Alternative and Complementary medicines, US $17 billion was spent on traditional remedies in
• In the United Kingdom, annual expenditure on alternative medicine is US$ 230 million.
• The global market for herbal medicines currently stands at over US $ 60 billion annually and is growing
How do I know which Chinese Herbs are good for me?
If you are considering taking Chinese herbs, you should consult a Licensed Acupuncturist who specializes in
Chinese Herbology by NCCAOM (www.nccaom.org). This is a very important step as the practice of Chinese Herbal
Medicine is a complex system that is dependent on the knowledge and experience of a skilled practitioner.
Chinese formulas are comprised of herbs designed for each individual patient. This special formulation is crucial
because these formulas must be delicately composed for the purpose of achieving balance in each disharmonious
state of being. In order to attain the best medical result, any deviation in dosage or herb composition can change
the entire focus of the formula.
Will Chinese "herbal" formulas help me?
The answer is very positive "Yes". Most physicians trained in Oriental medicine will prescribe dietary supplements
derived from plants and minerals, though animal products are sometimes used. Sometimes these may be part of
the initial treatment, or they may be used after a series of acupuncture sessions has clarified the diagnosis.
Patients should expect that any behavioral or dietary changes will need to be continued to maintain the benefit of
the Oriental approach, and often dietary supplements are taken daily for weeks or months. Free of most of the
side effects of pharmaceutical drugs, Chinese formulations are often available in modern extract or tablet form that
is more convenient than the traditional "soups" used in the Orient.
Chinese Herbal therapy or herb medicine has three main functions:
1. Treat the acute diseases and conditions such as killing bacteria or a virus;
2. Heal chronic illness such as gastrointestinal disorder, respiratory disorder, allergies, immune system deficiency,
etc. by strengthening the body, helping it to recover;
3. Maintain a healthy life daily by keeping the balance of human body.
Chronic illness treatment - As we know, many people with chronic illness may take a number of different
conventional drugs daily. Chinese herb medicine is a very good alternative for those who are looking for a natural
alternative for the conventional western medicine. There are many very efficient Chinese herbal patent medicines
and prescribed herb formulas for the medications taken for pain syndromes, gastrointestinal disorders,
neurological disorders, stress related syndromes, respiratory disorders, heart problems, sexual dysfunction,
allergies and immune system deficiencies, as well as replacements for antibiotics and anti-inflammatory drugs.
Side effect reduction - As mentioned earlier, Chinese herbs are safer and have less side effects. Actually they can
be taken to reduce the side effects of other medication such as antibiotics, chemotherapy, etc. It is well known that
antibiotics weaken the immune system. Herbal therapy can strengthen the system. Also, during chemotherapy, the
white blood cell count drops, which causes fatigue, lack of energy and appetite. Herbal therapy has proven quite
successful in relieving the side effects of chemotherapy.
For prevention - People may take Chinese herb medicine for disease prevention. For instance, for a person
suffering from frequent headaches, taking herbs to prevent the headache from ever starting is a much better
option than taking a pain reliever after the fact. Herbs are also used to prevent the flu, menstrual cramps and
premenstrual syndrome, among other things. Herbal therapy can also be used for general health maintenance.
Tonic herbs are also used to increase energy and to slow the aging process. They are also used for enhancing
sexual energy and for cosmetic purposes. Herbs arc also used to treat minor symptoms that are not severe
enough for heavy chemical drugs, symptoms that cannot be diagnosed by Western medicine, and symptoms and
illness that are not easy to treat, such as mononucleosis and immune system deficiencies.
We have a complete pharmacy of herbs to dispense for our patients. Bags of loose herbs have to be simmered for
at least an hour and a half, and some ingredients have to be added at different times to be most effective, as too
much heat will disturb the delicate ingredients. For your convenience, we have Chinese patent medicines and in
granular form as well.
What about contamination of herbs and patent medicines?
You are correct to be concerned about this. Regulations for pesticides and herbicides are different in the source
countries for bulk herbs than they are here. Those that are not heavily treated with chemicals may be
contaminated with insect and other pests or molds. Correct storage is also important.
Some products from China and other countries have been found to be contaminated with arsenic, mercury, lead,
and cadmium. Adulteration with pharmaceutical drugs has also occurred. Toxic plants have sometimes been
mistakenly substituted for the correct ones. Once again, your best assurance will come from working with a
knowledgeable practitioner of all aspects of Oriental medicine. Now a lot of Chinese herb distributors in US have to
follow the FDA’s rules for importing and selling herbs.
In what form do Chinese Herbs come?
Chinese herbs may be taken in any of the following forms:
A raw formula consists of carefully individually weighed unprocessed herbs placed together in individual bags. One
bag is boiled for either one or two day dose. These formulas are best boiled in a clay herb pot which assists in
even cooking and the preservation of the medicinal properties of each herb formula. There are different cooking
instructions for different formulas, so you should consult your doctor on your specific cooking instructions.
This term is used for famous formulas used for generations for common illnesses. Patent medicine includes tiny
herbal pellets that are taken two to three times daily. A standard dose may be as high as 8-10 pills three times per
day. The reason for this is because these pills are so tiny. Taking herbs in this form is sometimes more practical
for the patient who does not have as much time to prepare. However, they are pre formulated based on a general
problem. If your problem does not fit the specific indication, your practitioner may choose to give you a raw or
Pills, Tablets or Capsules
These are raw formulas cooked and freeze dried. The benefit of using this method is the same as the raw formula
itself but without cooking time involved. However, as effective as these formulas are, raw formulas are still the best
method for taking Chinese herbs.
A syrup is made from a high concentration of herbal tea mixed with honey or sugar syrup. The syrup form always
has a sweet taste and the medicinal effect is milder. Thus, it is easily taken and easily absorbed.
Liniment or Cream
There are numerous topical liniments or creams for many different medicinal uses. It is an oil-base medicine in
liquid form. These are highly effective when used under the appropriate circumstances.
The Chinese herbal medicine is mixed into the adhesive formula to form the medicinal plasters. These plasters are
applied externally to reduce pain and decrease inflammation. Sometimes, the adhesive plaster may cause an
allergic reaction for a few patients.
This form is made with a fine herbal powder or herbal extract in dried granular form. This form maintains some of
the special attributes of herbal tea.
Are Chinese Herbs good for everyone?
There is never one answer for every problem. Oriental Medicine is based on the foundation of this philosophy. A
person's underlying condition must be taken into account in the treatment of his or her problem. With all of the
attention that herbal medicine is receiving these days, the impression is given that if you hear that an herb is good
for a certain problem then it must be good for everyone for that problem! THIS IS NOT TRUE! A single herb is
almost never prescribed for any patient within the scope of Chinese Herbal Medicine. Formulas must always be
delicately composed to protect the patient's constitution against the possible unwanted effects of the herbs he or
she needs to take. This is the way side effects are avoided and better results are achieved.
Can I take Chinese herbs with my regular medication?
Your health-care provider should be aware of all medications, vitamins, herbs, and recreational drugs you are
taking. Combining any of these substances may or may not be a good idea. It is important to rely on the advice of
your health-care provider.
Is taking daily vitamins that contain Chinese Herbs a good idea?
Vitamins often contain Chinese Herbs. As we stated above, one herb or one group of herbs is never good for all
people. Using vitamins that contain herbs is not a good idea in our opinion unless you have been advised by your
health-care provider to do so. A good example of this is a diet product that contains vitamins and mineral designed
to burn fat. These products very often contain a Chinese Herb, Ephedra (Ma Huang). This herb has been shown to
stimulate the metabolism. However, in Chinese Medicine it is used as an acute anti-asthmatic for immediate
treatment only. If this herb is used long-term it can have damaging effects on the body's state of health and if
taken in a high enough dose, it could stimulate the body so much, it could possibly produce a heart attack. This is
a very clear example of a good thing that can potentially save a life being used for an incorrect set of
circumstances creating the potential for taking a life. This is why Chinese Herbal Medicine needs to stay in the
hands of the professionals who have been trained to use it. Another example is Ginseng. Everyone knows what
this is. The problem is everyone THINKS they know what it is good for! The media describes it as something that is
good for your immune system, something that is good for energy. While this is true, if we understand Oriental
Medicine, then again we know that what is good for one is not good for all. Ginseng in the wrong hands or taken
long term can actually produce extreme lethargy and fatigue! This is the important part of the message that is not
being communicated to the public.
Why are there so many herbs in Chinese formulas?
Chinese herbalists usually do not prescribe a single herb for their patients. Chinese herbs usually are used in
combinations of 2 to 15 herbs. There are three major reasons to support the combination practice. Mutual
Reinforcement involves combining two or more very similar herbs together to create a stronger effect. Mutual
Assistance is the way to use one herb to help another work better. Mutual Restraint means to use one herb to
reduce or eliminate side effects of another herb in the combination.
All of these demonstrate that an herbalist should be experienced and knowledgeable about herbs before
attempting to combine them. Otherwise, Mutual Inhibition occurs when one herb reduces another's effectiveness;
incompatibility occurs when the combination of certain herbs produces side effects or becomes poisonous.
I receive many e-mails and phone calls regarding where to buy single Chinese herb. I think that many of people in
the United States misunderstood Chinese herb medicine when they tried to use a single Chinese herb to treat
some diseases and conditions. One of the most important aspects and the advantages of Chinese medicine is the
power of mixing.
An intricate system has been developed over thousands of years that utilizes herbs as the primary means of
maintaining health. One of the differences between western and Chinese herbology is the number of herbs used in
a formula. Typically modern Chinese formulas contain between 6-16 herbs. Medicinal herbs are combined to
increase positive effects, and to minimize negative effects. Herbs are designated as chiefs, deputies, assistants, or
envoys depending upon their role in the formula. The chief provides the main therapeutic action, and the deputies
enhance the action of the chiefs. The assistants treat accompanying symptoms, or moderate harshness. The
envoys have a harmonizing effect, or guide the formula to a certain area of body or acupuncture channel.
Herbs can be combined to reinforce each other's action. Together they have a more powerful action than either
alone. Herbs are also combined because they support one another. Astragalus (Huang Qi) and Tang Kuei (Dang
Gui) are combined because Astragalus helps the body absorb Tang Kuei, which is considered a blood tonic.
Herbs are also combined to balance effects. A famous combination of herbs is Coptis (Huang Lian) and Evodia
(Wu Zhu Yu). Coptis is bitter and cold, and Evodia is warm. Together they reduce vomiting, acid regurgitation and
liver related pain. Digestants such as Oryza (Gu Ya) are usually added to formulas that are difficult to digest. To
reduce toxicity, licorice is often added to formulas with aconite by traditional Chinese doctors. Herbs are used to
guide a formula to a certain area of the body. Cimicifuga (Sheng Ma), a relative of Cohosh helps bring herbs to the
upper part of the body for treating mouth sores.
Herbs are also combined to treat the complex presentations seen in the clinic. For example, we often see
fibromyalgia patients with joint and muscle pain, insomnia, fatigue, and poor digestion. Herbs are administered to
treat pain, improve digestion, and ease stress. Herbs traditionally used for anti depressant effects are usually also
included. In the case of a client with Hepatitis C, we may select herbs with anti-viral effects, specific liver protective
properties, and to help alleviate liver related pain.
This approach integrates, refines and directs the properties of many herbs. This is in contrast to the Western
herbal approach that uses herbs according to their specific medicinal properties. Traditional Chinese herbal
formulas are extremely effective and very safe. Just as you need a carefully balanced diet with many different
foods to maintain the nutritional balance of your body, so in Chinese medicine we believe herbal formulas must be
carefully balanced to correctly balance your body systems.
Who practices Chinese Herbal Medicine?
Licensed Acupuncturists have an additional test that may be taken by the National Commission for the Certification
of Acupuncturists and Oriental Medicine (NCCAOM). There are three parts to this certification. The first is the
acupuncture portion (Dipl.Ac.) and the second is the Chinese Herbal Medicine portion (Dipl. C.H.) or Oriental
Medicine (Dipl. O.M.) that includes both. These credentials also indicate that the National standards for
Acupuncture and Chinese Herbology have been achieved. Healthcare providers without an education and license
in Oriental Medicine are not necessarily qualified to practice Chinese Herbology.
How about the quality of Chinese herbs?
"Health Concerns" was the first American manufacturer of Chinese herbs used by practitioners. We have used
these Chinese herbs for centuries, giving special attention to American health concerns. A team of biochemists,
herbalists, clinicians, Oriental medical doctors and translators work together to make sure the quality of Chinese
herbs that are used by health professionals throughout the World.
The herbs we used in Health Concerns formulas are of the highest quality, not exposed to pesticides or fumigated;
many are wild-crafted. All are specially selected to meet our rigid microbiological standards and those for
Finally, we have used all Chinese herbs from American herbal companies that are approved by FDA and they
import Chinese raw herbs from China. The quality and effectiveness are assured.
How long before I can expect to notice a difference?
Each person will respond a little differently, of course. Some of the formulas will work quicker than others. As a
rule, for most cases best results can be obtained when patients continuously take the correct formula in a few
weeks by following doctor’s directions. If you haven't gotten the anticipated results, you should seek the help of an
Are Standardized Herbs Better?
Standardized is a term which means that there is a guaranteed amount of a certain botanical constituent. For
example, some herbal compounds can be standardized to contain Hypercin, Flavones, Mahuang for ephedrine,
and Milk Thistle for its silymarin content. Standardized does not necessarily mean stronger or better. Chemical
solvents such as hexane benzene, acetone, and methyl chloride are typically used in standardized extracts.
Residues of the chemicals are found in the finished product. Furthermore they may be hazardous to the
Every patient is different medically even if he or she has the same diagnosis. Standardized herbs are only for
general medical issues not for specific problems, so the best way to solve this issue is to consult with your herbal
doctor for more assistance in order to get better formulas for your specific case.
How effective are Chinese herbs?
Very effective. You will experience very impressive results in most cases.
Where do Chinese herbs come from and how are they grown?
Chinese herbs coming to the US are grown primarily in China or Taiwan or other Asian countries. The Chinese
have developed refined methods of cultivation for large yields of high quality herbs. Contrary to common concerns,
Chinese herbs are usually grown organically (pesticides only work for more cultivated plant species and are not
affordable for Chinese farmers) and are generally not irradiated.
Some raw materials are grown outside of China, imported for processing and may be exported again.
What about animal substances? I'm a vegetarian!
We do use animal substances for our patients based on medical issues but not for every single patient. There has
been some controversy regarding the killing of endangered animal species and their trade on the black market (e.
g. tiger bone, rhino horn), but such substances are excluded from import to the US and American practitioners
would consider their use unethical. With the vast number of substances available, substitutions can easily be made
(e.g. buffalo horn for rhino horn).
The same applies for substituting plant materials for animal materials for clients who object to the ingestion of
animal parts. A responsible practitioner will disclose ingredients and get the client's approval before mixing a
How are Chinese herbs being taken?
The classic way of ingesting Chinese herbs is to make a decoction from raw dried materials. This means that the
herbs are cooked at a low boil for a long time and then drunk as a tea. This is a very potent, although tedious and
time-consuming method. And Americans often object to the strong taste.
A popular form that maintains the versatility and potency of decoctions, but is convenient to take and usually better
tasting is extract granules. They are dried (dehydrated) decoctions that come as a gritty powder that is mixed with
warm water to make an instant drink. They come both as premixed formulas and single herbs.
In addition, commonly used formulas from both classical and modern prescriptions are available as tablets, pills,
powders, liquid extracts, syrups, medicinal wines, herbal plasters and liniments.
As you know, prescribed herbal medicine is traditionally taken in tea form. The Human body absorbs tea easily and
quickly so it is the most commonly used method. Sometimes, if the smell or taste of the herbal medicine is
unpleasant, capsule or tablet form of this herbal medicine is recommended. Tea should always be warm, and
capsules or tablets should be swallowed with warm water. Generally, it is best to take herbs just before you serve
meals. You should consult a herbalist for specific instructions on taking herbs. For example, tonic herbs, to
promote health, are best taken before meals. Purgative herbs, to cleanse the system, are best taken on an empty
stomach. Herbs that either irritate the stomach or are taken to protect the stomach should be taken after eating.
Herbs for insomnia and other sleeping disorders should be taken at bedtime.
Can I just pick up something in Chinatown or at the health food store?
Chinese "patent medicines", found in Chinatown or Asian grocery stores, are readily available over-the-counter
and very inexpensive. A number of problems have been associated with them such as incorrect labeling,
undisclosed addition of pharmaceuticals, illegal import and contamination with heavy metals. Recently the FDA has
tightened controls. The professional community monitors their manufacturing and trade. Many practitioners,
including me, use them selectively.
Chinese herbs found in health food stores frequently come as single herbs or as tinctures, both of which are "non-
traditional". They can be very helpful, however, they may be contraindicated for your condition and have potential
side effects with long-term use. In case of a complex condition check with a trained practitioner.
….Although Chinese patent herbs are relatively safe and have less side effects, I do not recommend you buy
Chinese patent herbs from herb store or other channels without obtaining advice from a certified herbalist.
Why do many Chinese herbs taste so bitter?
The active ingredients of Chinese herbs are frequently roots and barks compared to the leaves and flowers that
are dominant in Western herbal teas. They need to be cooked for a long time to extract the active ingredients.
However, because the strongest medicinal ingredients are found in roots and barks, Chinese herbs tend to be
much more potent.
How does the practitioner pick the right herbs for me?
Chinese medicine diagnosis is made based on "discrimination of patterns of disharmony". The practitioner will take
a thorough health history, ask questions regarding all body functions, feel the wrist pulse, look at the tongue and
palpate certain body areas. The various findings are combined into a composite diagnosis regarding which body
systems are in disharmony, based on Chinese medical theory. All medicinal substances as well as foods are
classified and described according to several categories, e.g. their flavor, their energetic temperature and their
What is the training for Chinese herbal medicine in the USA?
Chinese herbal medicine in the United States was long practiced in Asian immigrant communities, while
acupuncture colleges have added herbal programs only for the past decade or so. A majority of colleges now offer
herbal training with a minimum of 450 hours, which is prerequisite for taking the national certification exam in
herbology given by the National Certification Commission for Acupuncture and Oriental Medicine (NCCAOM). While
the NCCAOM acupuncture exam is standard requirement for licensing in most states, the herbal exam is only
mandatory in a few. It is not required in Washington State; therefore many practitioners may not have opted to take
this exam, although they have the required training. Those who have passed the exam have earned the title Dipl.
C.H. (NCCAOM), diplomate of Chinese Herbology of the NCCAOM, or Dipl. O.M. diplomate of Oriental Medicine of
the NCCAOM. The latter one includes acupuncture & Chinese herbs.
A number of acupuncture colleges offer an herbal track only as elective. Some older practitioners who studied
acupuncture before herbal programs were introduced have taken short postgraduate programs of 150 or less
hours. So make sure to inquire regarding herbal training when seeking out a practitioner.
"Prescribing" of Chinese herbs is not limited to licensed acupuncturists; other health professionals may
recommend Chinese herbal supplements, and health food stores offer them over-the-counter for self-prescribing.
Although this may be helpful for day-to-day problems, for more complicated or chronic conditions I strongly advise
that you consult with a trained and qualified practitioner.
Are Chinese herbs being researched?
Since the Chinese revolution and the founding of the People's Republic of China the body of medicinal substances
has been subject to chemical analysis and ongoing research on medical efficacy. New therapeutic effects have
been discovered based on this research and many traditional herbs are now being used for contemporary
diseases like high blood pressure, diabetes, cancer, AIDS and many more.
Are Chinese herbs toxic and do they have side effects?
If a qualified practitioner prescribes Chinese herbs and the formula matches the pattern, they are virtually without
side effects. Most Chinese medicines have very low toxicity. Toxic parts of plants are removed or processed to
eliminate toxicity. Herbs with potential side effects are combined appropriately and given in small doses only
The most common side effect may be some bloating because of the cloying nature of tonic herbs. This can easily
be corrected by adding digestive herbs into the prescription.
Can I take Chinese herbs with my vitamins or homeopathic remedies?
Herbs may be combined with other supplements, although many herbs have some nutritional value and you may
find that you may not need as many vitamins. Some American supplements combine vitamins & minerals with
Chinese herbs for particular needs.
From a Chinese medical viewpoint, herbs can safely be taken along with homeopathic remedies, although a
classical homeopath will most likely state the opposite. The therapeutic strategy used is very different, so it may be
better to choose one approach and stick with it. Chinese herbs are more natural – and in my opinion much more
nourishing – than homeopathic remedies which work on a subtle energetic level.
Can children take Chinese herbs?
Yes, in reduced dosage.
What do Chinese herbs treat and when are they indicated?
Chinese herbs treat the full range of human illnesses. An acupuncturist will use herbs to enhance the acupuncture
treatments on an individual basis.
Have Chinese herbs been processed before use?
Yes. Chinese Herbs have been processed before use.
Why? First of all, the processing can reduce any possible side effects of herbs by detoxifying the herbs. The
second reason for processing herbs is for filtering out impurities such as dirt and sand. Another reason is the
processing can soften the strong taste or smell of herbs. Finally, it is very important to emphasize that processing
herbs can enhance their functions.
Can you tell me the difference between Chinese patent and prescribed herbs?
Chinese Patent herbs are premixed herb combinations according to the traditional formulas developed by experts
in traditional Chinese medicine through over 3000 years. They are similar to over-the-counter-drugs and usually in
the form of pill, capsule and liquid. The advantages of Chinese patent herbs are convenience, ease to take, less
expensive. However, the patient's symptoms must fit the patent herb's narrow indications.
According to an individual patient’s symptoms, a herbalist gives a diagnosis and prescribes herbal formula called
personalized medicine. Generally speaking, prescribed herbs are more effective than patent herbs because your
herbalist tailors the prescribed herbs exclusively to your symptoms and conditions if he or she is very good at
traditional Chinese medicine.
Do granular herbs do the same good as the raw herbs in prescribed herbs?
Yes! The granular herbs are made from the raw herbs. First of all, best herbal sources from China are selected.
Then these raw herbs are purified. After that they are processed through steaming, cooking, and finally
condensed into fine granular particles. Therefore, they are easily dissolved and absorbed and enhance the
Could you give me some precautions while I take herbs?
You should take a certain amount of caution when you take Chinese herbs. For instance, some herbs are too
strong for pregnant women and may cause miscarriages. Certain foods can have adverse effects on the herbal
therapy. Generally speaking, when taking Chinese herbs, one should avoid food that is raw (fruit is okay, but
vegetable should be cooked), greasy, strong tasting or smelling, difficult to digest, or irritating to the digestive
system (like spicy foods). It is always a good idea to get advice from an herbalist before you take Chinese herbs.
|Acupuncture & Herbal Clinic