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Chinese Herbal Medicine | An Overview

To relieve the suffering of one’s time, there is no greater path than medicine.
Within it, nothing is more effective than the prescription of herbs.
Imperial Patent Formulary to Aid the People (Taiping huimin heji jufang), Chen Shiwen.1107.

 

Herbal Medicine has always been considered pre-eminent amongst the various methods of healing within China (The above quotation is taken from the first government sponsored prescription publication in history). It has been practised for thousands of years, and has developed a systematic approach and clinical effective which has profoundly effected the practice of medicine all over the Far East. Through generations of clinical practice and the acute observations of the patterns in illness, powerful remedies have been developed to restore optimal well being by using the pharmo-dynamic potential of the natural world.

Chinese herbal medicine is available in a number of different forms nowadays. These allow easy of use and therefore greater compliance. To some the taste is a difficult aspect of this modality to others it is not. The main problem is one of bitterness but a little perseverance and effects can be more than worth the effort.

Chinese herbal formulas are chemically complex interactive decoctions which are constructed to deal with the full spectrum of the presenting conditions are both a root and branch level. Clearing the presenting signs and symptoms and strengthening the body to repair some damage where the body systems are able.

 

Dispensary and Practice

I currently stock both bulk (crude) herbs and concentrated powders. The bulk herbs are boiled every 48hours to create the decoction and whilst they are stronger, most people prefer the convenience of powder. Concentrated powders are just mixed with boiling water. I also make and prepared capsules, creams, washes and pessaries etc.

Initially, most prescriptions are for two weeks at a time. This allows opportunity for feedback, modificaton and to monitor any potential though unlikely negative reactions. The course of treatment is dependent upon the presenting condition but treatment rarely exceeded three months (unless explicitly indicated at the time of consultation).