CHINESE HERBAL MEDICINE
Medicine through nature
The oldest form of medicine is to use the gift of nature around us. Herbs have been used for thousands of years, especially in Asia and native cultures. Because they have such a long history, they have been well studied and refined. It is the safest and most used form of medicine in the world and is the basis for many pharmaceutical drugs. Even animals will instinctively know which herbs to munch on!
In Chinese medicine, herbs are used more for internal, long-term or serious diseases and can be combined with acupuncture. There are many thousands in use and I have over 200 traditional and folk herbs at the clinic.
Mau Dan Pey
Peony Tree Bark
(invigorates blood, clears blood infections)
Ho Sau Wu
(strengthens hormones, kidney tonic, slows hair greying)
Gam Ngan Far
(clears bacterial infections, lowers cholesterol)
Dong Kwai Sun
Chinese Angelica Root
(known as woman's gold, blood tonic, helps menstrual disorders)
Each herb (or food!) has a nature property and action on the body. But when combined these actions can change. For example using Gum Juo (Liquorice root) to calm hot/yang herbs, or using Lin Q (Forsythia fruit) to strengthen Gam Ngan Far (Honeysuckle flower).
This is the wonderful science of herbal medicine. Drug companies often look to find the ‘active ingredient’ in a herb so they can use it for their own ends. But they overlook this traditional knowledge that actions change when herbs are combined.
Diet and herbs are interconnected in Chinese medicine. In fact, they are often seen as one and the same. Herbs can be used as food every day, food can be used to heal and cure. (eg a traditional chicken and ginseng soup).
This is the ethos of Chinese medicine that looks to healing and strengthening the body so one does not fall ill. ‘Prevention over cure’ is the philosophy in the east but is surely lacking in Western doctor's advice.
How Herbs Work
The best way of taking herbs is making a decoction - cooking the raw herbs into a tea.
I also use powdered herbs which dissolve easily into warm water and can make herbal capsules if needed.
Chinese herbs can be taken once weekly to once daily for more intense therapy. Herbs should be taken for at least 3 weeks but vary depending on the condition. For strengthening the body and immune system they could be taken every few months or every change of season.
In Western medicine patients often get the same drug based on their symptoms, usually with a risk of many side-effects! Chinese medicine is far superior in this regard. I make up herbal prescriptions according to the individual patient's health constitution, thereby avoiding any side-effects. The dosage and type of herbs can be changed at any time along with a change in health.
You may see some Chinese clinics using small black herbal pills - a fixed formula already prepared. As it is fixed, the dosage, type and quality cannot be changed. This is lazy and inferior Chinese medicine! I do not use this - I only make the prescription from individual herbs after diagnosis.