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Traditional Chinese Medicine Herbal Therapy


  • Published: 2009-01-15 (Revised/Updated 2012-09-19) : Author: Roberto Guerrero
  • Synopsis: Traditional Chinese Medicine is a complete herbal health care system that has been around for well over 3000 years.

Most people when asked what is Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM), will answer, acupuncture. And yet acupuncture is only a small part of TCM. A larger part of TCM is herbal medicine. I have patients whom I have never used a needle on, because their condition is better treated with some herbal supplement.

Chinese Herbal Medicine What is It

A big part of Traditional Chinese Medicine is herbal medicine. Chinese Medicine is a complete health care system that has been around for well over 3000 years. In the west we are more familiar with one of its components, acupuncture.

Traditional Chinese Medicine has a holistic view of the human body. In Chinese Medicine the human body is viewed as an interrelated whole (mind, body, spirit) possessing a life force or vital energy called qi or chi (pronounced "chee"). When qi flows freely the body is healthy. When qi is weak or stagnate, symptoms appear; if they are left untreated, disease will develop.

What are Chinese herbs

Chinese herbs are on its great majority botanicals, mineral and organics substances that have their origin on Mainland China. I define as a Chinese herb any substance that is used to treat disease in accordance with Traditional Chinese Medicine theory.

Are Herbs safe

You have to remember that over 50% of the exiting drugs are derived from botanicals. Herbs are safe when they are taken under the supervision of a qualified herbalist, in this case a practitioner of TCM. Self diagnosis as well as self prescription is a dangerous practice regardless of the gentleness of the herb.

How are they Administered

In TCM herbs are usually administered as infusions (Teas), but in general here on the west hemisphere we use capsules, tea pills, tinctures and granules.

In my practice I use about 80 % tea pills and capsules, and 20% tinctures. In very rare occasions I prescribe raw herbs to be decocted as a tea.

What is a Consultation Like

For an herbal consultation the practitioner is going to gather a complete and very detailed health history. He/she will feel your pulse and look at your tongue. The practitioner then will take the information gathered, and form this diagnosis according to Traditional Chinese principles and come up with a treatment plan.

What does a Treatment Plan consist of

An herbal treatment plan usually consists of two or three herbal formula. If the condition is complicated then the practitioner may chose to tailor a formula to the patients needs.

During the treatment plans the practitioner may change the formulas that the patient is taking according to how he/she is responding to the treatment.

The ultimate goal of the treatment is not to replace drugs for herbs but rather assist the body in the healing process.

Do I need to have acupuncture to use Chinese Herbs

As a form of therapy Chinese herbal medicine stands alone, and it is not necessary to have acupuncture to treat a condition that is treated with herbal formulas.

Many times the acupuncturist will use herbal remedies to extend or enhance the effects of the acupuncture treatments.

Acupuncture and herbs used in together complement each other, but is not necessary to have both. There are conditions that are better treated with herbs and others with acupuncture.

What Conditions are Treated with Chinese Herbs

Chinese Herbal Medicine excels in treating conditions that Western medicine has difficulty in treating, as well as conditions that do not have a Western medical diagnosis. Chinese herbal medicine can effectively address a wide variety of conditions. Chinese Herbal Medicine has been used for thousands of years in the treatment of acute and chronic conditions. Chinese herbals are safe and effective for the general public and even infants, elderly patients.

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