Herbal Medicine There are over a thousand herbs, dried and treated without any chemical assistance, specifically formulated in Chinese pharmacopoeia. Most formulas consist of between 6 and 16 type of herbs to be boiled and drunk as “ tea” (decoction), these are tailor made to suit the individual’s patterns of disharmony. There is also a range of herbal pills, tablets, juices, sachets, and external use lotions, creams etc.
Traditional Chinese Herbal Medicine is one of the oldest systems of medicine in the world.Chinese herbs are an integral part of Traditional Chinese Medice and have been largely unexplored outside China until this decade.
The treatment is primarily concerned with establishing and eradicating the cause of ill health through holistic treatment of the individual. Herbalists use whole plant extracts and believe that by using plants in their natural form, many of the side effects associated with modern medicine can be avoided.
The doctors prescribe combinations of herbs (carefully selecting up to 15 from a total of 300) specifically suited to treat you and your condition. Each prescription is therefore tailor-made. The herbs are prepared and drunk as a decoction or taken in tablet or capsule form, to resolve the problem.
Chinese herbal therapy involves the use of natural plants in raw or processed forms. Each herb has its own specific characteristics and particular medical use to treat diseases by rectifying any hyperactivity or hypoactivity of yin and yang, and to help restore the body to its normal physiological functions.
Herbs come in three different forms:
Loose herbs - roots, leaves or fruits etc which are decocted (boiled up) to extract the pharmacoLogically active ingredients.
Powders - dried preparation of the decoction.
Pills – containing herbs.
How is a herbal prescription constructed using Tradional Chinese Medicine (TCM) ?
Chinese herbal therapy must be given by qualified TCM practitioners.
Firstly the practitioner conducts a diagnost interview, which includes asking questions relating to your health problems, taking your pulse and examining your tongue, before making a prescription.
Secondly the practitione considers the patient’s overall symptoms, as well as the type and severity of illness and how and when it occurs. The patient’s sex, age, and general health are also noted.
Thirdly, following guidelines from classical texts, the practitioner forms a basic prescription and then adjusts the mixture to the needs of the patient by adding or deleting various herbs, or manipulating the dosages of the compounds to fit the precise disharmony. Such a prescription usually contains 5-15 substances and the dosages averages 3-15 grams per herb.
Does the herbal medicine have any side effects?
Generally speaking, Chinese medicine is safe with few side effects. Occasionally, because the body has to readjust, there may be some minor side effects, such as loose stools, or diarrhoea, of which you will be informed beforehand.
It is illegal in the UK to use harmful ingredients in Chinese herbal medicine. To ensure that the herbal medicine prescribed for you is Legal and safe, you should only see a qualified and registered TCM practitioner (more details).