Chinese Herbal Medicine
Chinese medicine uses balanced formulas of several different
herbs to treat various conditions. Some of these formulas have
been used effectively for more than 2000 years. The herbal
formula chosen is specifically suited for the client’s presenting
Chinese medicine formulas are designed to correct specific
patterns of imbalance. There are as many formulas as there
are types of imbalance, literally hundreds of formulas and
modifications. Therefore, it’s important to be properly diagnosed
to know what formula is appropriate for your specific needs.
While acupuncture is more of a regulatory therapy, herbology
can be directional and target specific conditions. If a condition is
due to weakness, herbs are the preferred therapy because they
are able to provide additional energy to help the body rebuild.
Chinese Herbs are also very effective for conditions of excess and accumulation, for example
"dampness". Dampness in the body is much like it is in the weather – heavy, lingering, and slow
moving. Dampness takes on many forms depending on the organ system in which it is found.
Examples of dampness can be fluid retention, weight gain, or cholesterol build-up in the arteries.
Chinese herbs are rarely prescribed as an individual herb. Unlike modern medicine, where
medication is usually taken as “one drug for one symptom”, Chinese herbs are almost always
prescribed as a formula which addresses the underlying condition. Formulae are always custom
tailored to the individual and are meant to target the weakened or malfunction system, which is
causing the symptoms to present themselves. Formulae usually consist of 4 to 20 different herbs.
Typically 1 or 2 of the herbs have the greatest clinical effect, and the other herbs are chosen to
assist the main herbs in their function, remedy other issues present in the patient, and help guide
the herbs to the necessary location.
There are many ways to take Chinese herbal formulas. The most common is as a decoction or
“tang” where herbs are boiled and the remaining water drank two or three times a day for several
days. An easier form of this is the decoction is made into powered granules that can be dissolved
in hot water. Formulas can also be pressed into pills or even used topically in teas, plasters,
liniments and many other forms.Close supervision is necessary when any type of medication is ingested, and this includes Chinese herbal formulas.