Chinese Herbal Medicine

Chinese Herbal Medicine is another vital component of Chinese Medicine. It is labeled “herbal medicine” because more than 70% of its some 3000 recorded ingredients are derived from plants. In most circumstances, several to even dozens of medicinal herbs are combined to make what is known as a Chinese Medical Formula. Formulas generally created by Chinese Medicine physicians for a single patient based on their specific differentiation and health needs. There are however, numerous ready made formulas that may be dispensed by a Oriental Medicine physician if applicable, and on occasion one single herb is dispensed (called simpling) to address an individuals health.


Chinese herbal medicine can be prescribed in a variety of forms: such as powders, capsules, tablets, pills, syrups, and crude form to be taken orally and in plaster, liniment, and ointment form to be applied topically. Whatever the form Chinese herbal medicine may take, the diagnostic methods in TCM are complex and it is advisable to seek a Chinese Medicine physician or a qualified practitioner in your state to assure safety and effectiveness. In contemporary China, the use of Chinese herbal medicine combined with the use of western medicine is routine in many hospital settings and does not generally result in problems. For westerners, difficulties arise if the differences between Chinese herbal medicine and any other “herb” therapies like Native American medicine, homeopathy, or European folk medicine are ignored and self medicating with a mixture of herbs from a variety of sources takes place. Most text on Oriental Medicine and text that include information on the use of Oriental Medicine advise seeking a qualified practitioner, take Chinese herbal prescriptions CONSISTENTLY and do not make random herbal substitutions.


Chinese herbal medicine can be taken in cooperation with western prescription medication but it is imperative to seek Oriental Medicine physicians or practitioners who are qualified to prescribe this form of herbal medicine. It is advisable to continue taking any western medication exactly as prescribed by that M.D. or D.O. If and when it is appropriate, patients need to make arrangement that prescribing M.D. or D.O. to reduce or stop their western medication.


This vital component of Chinese Medicine is best used in conjunction with acupuncture treatments to improve efficacy but can be used solely with very good results.


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