What are Chinese herbs?

Chinese Herbs are very useful in restoring and maintaining balance and health. Contrary to popular belief, Chinese Medical Practitioners rarely advise the  use of one herb per illness. When suffering from a headache, it is very common  to take aspirin. However, Chinese Medicine offers many different reasons that  you may have this headache. Once the root of the problem is determined, specific herbs that target that syndrome would be used. Therefore, it is crucial to  see an herbalist to properly diagnose the problem and then pick the appropriate  herbs.

Chinese herbs are rarely used individually.  Instead, the herbs are combined into formulas that are very balanced to avoid unwanted side effects. These formulas have been used for thousands of years and are quite sophisticated.

Pills, powders or teas?

Herbs can be taken in several different ways. The 3 most common forms are  pills, powder, or raw tea. There are pros and cons to each form:

  • Pills: Pills are easy to take and are generally inexpensive. They are very good for chronic, long-term problems as they have a higher rate of  patient compliance and they stay in the body longer as they are digested  more slowly. However, they are not as potent as powder or tea.
  • Powder: Powders are slightly stronger than pills. Powders are easy to transport and only need to be mixed with a bit of warm water. They are somewhat  more expensive and often do not taste good.
  • Tea: Cooking the raw herbs into a tea is the most potent way to take  herbs. The big drawback is that it takes time to cook the tea every other day and they generally taste bad...really bad.  I’m only being honest!

Why take herbs?

  • I find that my patients generally improve more quickly when they take herbs  in conjunction with acupuncture treatments. Think of it this way: acupuncture  is like going to class. You are with the teacher and you are actively learning.  When you go home, you need to do your homework so you don’t forget what  you’ve learned. The herbs are your body’s homework!
  • It is very important to tell your practitioner what other medications you  are taking so that interactions can be avoided.