Herbs & Supplements
Chinese Herbal Medicine
The herbal tradition of China is valued both scientifically and for its vast scope of experience and long traditional use, which dates back over 2000 years. In the past four decades scientists have demonstrated that herbal substances contain active chemical components, which explains, from a scientific perspective, how they work. Many modern drugs have been developed from the active ingredients in herbal medicines.
Are Chinese Herbs Safe?
Chinese herbs are effective and safe when prescribed by a well-trained and skilled practitioner. Careful attention to dosage and understanding of drug-herb interactions are covered in accredited schools of Chinese Medicine. In addition, knowledge of which manufacturers of Chinese remedies meet the new FDA regulations for “Good Manufacturing Practices” is important. The new regulations ensure that companies follow strict quality guidelines in preparing, testing, storing, labeling, and packaging of dietary supplements and herbs.
In the past ten years many herbal formulas have become available in the United States in palatable tincture form for children and babies who are unable to swallow pills and tablets. The tinctures have proven safe and effective for children’s earaches, colds, respiratory ailments, and digestive problems. These tinctures have also been prescribed by some alternative pediatricians who understand the long term health problems of giving children too many antibiotics, and who have discovered that Chinese anti-viral herbal tinctures, when administered at the early onset of a viral infection, produce rapid results with minimal risk of short and long term side effects.
Conditions Treated by Chinese Herbs
This ancient system of medicine has always attempted to bring balance and harmony to the whole being. Its scope of treatment is not limited to the physical domain of human activity, but embraces the physical, mental, and emotional dynamics. Therefore, Chinese herbal medicine can effectively address a wide range of acute and chronic conditions.
I have worked with many parents who wanted to find a safe and viable alternative to antibiotics for their child’s earaches, sore throats and colds.
Tinctures are available for such problems as: earaches, sore throat, common cold and flu, cough, bronchitis, and digestive ailments.
Below are some examples of health problems that respond successfully to Chinese herbal medicine, including children’s acute infectious diseases. This is not a comprehensive list, and Chinese herbs can be used to treat many other conditions as well.
I feel that Chinese herbs shine in the treatment of: sore throat, colds, flu, bronchitis, allergies, and sinusitis. Many of my school teacher clients, who are frequently exposed to all the viruses that children spread, will vouch for their rapid and effective action.
Chinese herbal medicine, in conjunction with acupuncture, is highly effective in the treatment of common conditions affecting women. These include premenstrual syndrome, irregular or suppressed periods, excessive bleeding, painful menses, ovarian cysts, and menopausal symptoms. In my experience Chinese herbal medicine and acupuncture are superior to conventional treatments in safety and efficacy.
Stomach and intestinal complaints are common and frequently caused by eating habits, poor quality food, lack of important nutrients and stress. I use Chinese herbal medicine and acupuncture in conjunction with dietary changes to effectively treat a wide range of problems affecting the GI tract: irritable bowel syndrome, acute and chronic diarrhea/constipation, indigestion, gastritis, heartburn, candida overgrowth/dysbiosis, and poor absorption.
Stress Related Conditions:
Most people’s lives are subject to significant amounts of stress. Over time this can contribute to the development of anxiety, depression, insomnia, mood swings and behavioral changes. Chinese medicine strengthens and balances the body’s systems that are affected by stress and that have become out of balance. Calming the system and restoring balance helps people to feel centered and grounded and better able to handle the stressors in their lives.
Other Health Conditions that Effectively Respond to Chinese Herbs:
- Urinary Tract Infections
- Men’s Health including Prostate Disease
- Neurologic Conditions: headaches including migraine, dizziness, shingles
- Rheumatic Conditions: arthritis, fibromyalgia, rheumatism
- Musculoskeletal Conditions: trauma, chronic pain, back and extremity pain, and sports and work related pain using orthopedic acupuncture.
- Fatigue: acute and chronic fatigue including chronic fatigue syndrome, overwork and exhaustion
- Immune System Weakness: frequent colds, influenza, infections, allergies
How Are Chinese Herbs Administered?
In China, the most common method of taking herbs is to prepare a strong decoction by simmering the herbs for one hour, and then drinking the preparation several times per day. For most westerners the decoction is deemed too time consuming, smelly, and bad tasting.
To address this, different methods of preparation have been developed. These include granules, tablets, tinctures, and pellets, which most people find more convenient and palatable. The granular preparations are mixed with hot water and taken as an infusion. Tablets and pellets contain either powdered herbs or the dried extract from a decoction, which produces the best quality. Tinctures are made by extracting the active ingredients of an herb by water, alcohol or glycerin.