Chinese Herbal Medicine can help everyone, but especially people who have hard-to-diagnose problems or syndromes. These conditions include:
For centuries, China and other Asian countries have embraced herbal therapy. Now, the West is catching on to this ancient medicine and has started to incorporate Chinese Herbs in the treatment of a wide range of health issues.
Chinese Herbal Medicine uses herbs to improve health. “The biggest difference between Western and Traditional Chinese Herbalism is that Herbalists don’t treat symptoms or diseases. They treat entire human beings, including their patterns of symptoms,” says certified and licensed Chinese herbalist Galina Roofener, LAc.
Chinese Herbal Medicine has thousands of years of data to back it up. “Throughout history, Chinese emperors worked to preserve and multiply the knowledge of the previous ages. That means today we have almost 2,000 years of clearly written records about how herbs and herb combinations work in different people.”
Chinese Herbal Therapy can come in the form of:
In every customized formula, some herbs are the main active ingredients that address a primary complaint, while others are included to address secondary complaints or symptoms.
How Chinese Medicine Herbs work: Chinese Herbal Medicine is rooted in the concept of pattern differentiation. Pattern differentiation involves identifying a person’s head-to-toe collection of signs and symptoms. Rather than treating diseases, there is a focus on treating patterns and patients. Each person has a specific internal environment that requires a unique approach.
“There are several studies that prove the safety and effectiveness of Chinese Herbal Medicine,” notes Roofener. However, “because it’s natural does not mean it’s problem-free. Treat Chinese herbs like a prescription—get an evaluation from a qualified Practitioner before taking anything.” (Cleveland Clinic, US)
Chinese Herbology has a vast and complex history. There are approximately 4,000 Chinese Herbs documented and hundreds of formulas that have been developed over the centuries. From this compilation, there are roughly 400 commonly used formulas which are administered in clinical application. The formulas are usually composed of between 2 to 24 Herbs.
Some Herbs are wild and grow on riverbanks or mountainsides, while others are farmed. The plants are harvested and their seeds, flowers, stems, and bark are isolated and used in mixing the natural formulas. The Herbal formulas work alongside Acupuncture treatments to optimize and boost the effectiveness of the treatments. (Alberta Association of TCM Doctors)
Chinese Herbs are combinations of herbs, roots, powders, or animal substances to help restore balance in the body. (HealthLink BC)
Chinese Herbal products have been studied for many medical problems, including stroke, heart disease, mental disorders, and respiratory diseases (such as bronchitis and the common cold). A US national survey showed that about one in five Americans use Chinese Herbs.
Always be sure that your Chinese Herbs are from the cleanest and purest (organic if you are able) sources.
For more information about specific herbs, see NCCIH’s—National Center for Complementary and Integrative Health (US)—Herbs at a Glance web page. You can find additional information on botanical (plant) dietary supplements on the NIH—National Institutes of Health (US)— Office of Dietary Supplements web site. (The National Center for Complementary and Integrative Health)
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