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Drinking herbal tea can be a daily meditation in which one is conscientiously making an effort to heal and be well

Herbal Therapy

Traditional Chinese Herbal Therapy

Traditional Chinese Herbal Therapy is a highly organized system of prescribing herbs according to ancient and modern Chinese medicine patterns. Rather than a single herb or medication, herbal formulas usually combine anywhere from 4-15 different herbs, which complement each other for the best therapeutic effect. Although the official Materia Medica of China lists many thousands of medicinals, about 300 are most commonly used, and can be combined in many different ways to treat a variety of conditions.

Each herb has different properties such as temperature, flavor, and direction. These qualities generally determine its therapeutic effect. For instance, Ren Shen (人参, ginseng) is warm, sweet and slightly bitter, making it a powerful qi tonic. Bo He (薄荷, mint) is cool, acrid and dispersing, which makes it very useful for certain kinds of colds and flu.

A custom herbal prescription allows the practitioner to alter the ingredients and dosages according to the patient’s needs. By combining individual herbs into comprehensive formulas, multiple symptoms and aspects of one’s physiology can be addressed holistically.

Are herbs safe?

Yes. When prescribed by a trained and licensed practitioner, herbs are extremely safe.

What conditions are herbs used for?

The oldest complete clinical textbook in the world is the classic Chinese formulary, the Shang Han Lun. Dating back to the Han Dynasty – before the year 220 CE – it describes in detail epidemiology, pathophysiology, and treatment strategies for contracted diseases. And this is just the first extant book in the entire recorded history of Chinese herbal medicine.

Chinese herbs have been used to treat everything from the common cold and influenza, to acute trauma and injury, to chronic illness and parasites. There are many conditions in which herbs are more effective than acupuncture alone. This includes such things as dermatology, gynecology, hormonal imbalances, autoimmune disorders, cancer support, and internal medicine.

How do I take herbs?

There are many different ways of taking herbs. The strongest and most traditional way of taking herbs is to cook them fresh each day on your stovetop. You can also take herbs as a powder mixed with hot water (similar to instant coffee or tea), in capsules, pills, or as pre-cooked and pre-measured liquid vacuum packs.

Herbal soaks, plasters, creams, or masks may also be prescribed for external use when necessary.

How long should I expect to be taking herbs?

Herbal prescriptions are custom made for individuals on a case-by-case basis and therefore the treatment plan and duration will depend on the condition as well as other lifestyle factors that may influence the course of treatment. For most conditions the effect should be immediate, with an individual’s prescription changing as the condition changes. It is common for people to use herbal therapy for weeks to months at a time until a satisfactory state of health is achieved. Occasionally, herbs are required as a maintenance measure for chronic intractable conditions.

DEC 16

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