Chinese Herbal Medicine
Chinese Herbal Medicine
How are Chinese herbs different than Western herbs?
Over the last several years, there has been an increasing interest especially in industrialized countries to reintroduce the concept of using herbal medicine as part of an ongoing goal to improve health. There is a great deal of information available, especially in regards to what we call "Western herbs". These herbs are most often used singularly, meaning they are not necessarily combined with other herbs into a formula.
The term "Western herbs" applies to the method of using the herbs rather than to the origins of the herb itself. Western herb books often list herbs such as Gotu Kola, Ginger, Dong Quai and Licorice, yet these herbs are Asian in origin. Other herbs such as Capsicum and Devil's Claw come from Africa. Damiana and Pau d'Arco come from South America and Camomile and Myrrh come from Egypt.
In China, herbalists have developed the use of a class of herbs called "tonics", which can be taken daily for increased resistance to disease, to boost energy levels and general health, and to enhance longevity. These herbs are unique to China. Chinese herbal medicine is a major component of traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM) - a wide range of medicine practices sharing common theoretical concepts, which have been developed in China over 5,000 years ago.
Chinese herbs are most often combined into Chinese herbal medicine formulas. The herbalist first determines which underlying conditions or patterns are manifesting in the patient's unique situation. Then, an appropriate Chinese herbal medicine formula is chosen with the understanding that the different herbs work together, each having their own action and balancing out the total effect. It is not uncommon for a Chinese herbal medicine formula to contain more than 10 different herbs.
Traditionally, Chinese herbs were usually taken in a decoction, which involves boiling them into a tea. Today, more scientific methods of preparation are available for Chinese herbal medicine formulas. One of the preferred methods is to make a decoction under specific conditions and then dry it to make a concentrate, which can be used as a powder or pressed into a tablet. Powder or tablet forms are just as effective and much more convenient for the typical patient. Another method is to extract the herbs in alcohol, which is called a tincture. Chinese herbal medicine tinctures are an effective alternative, but a less convenient way to utilize each herb's medicinal ingredients.
If you are interested in purchasing Chinese herbal medicine products, visit our Health Concerns Formulas section. We offer herbal products that are developed by U.S. based companies. The herbs must pass government inspection and are tested by independent laboratories for pesticides, sulfite, bacteria or other contamination and have strict standards for purity and potency. If you have specific questions about any herbal products, please contact us at the phone numbers listed below, or e-mail us.
Acu-Care Health Centers offers Health Concerns® formulas - a unique blend of modern science and traditional herbal remedies that address your specific health needs. Contact Us today for more information and pricing.