Holistic Health Center


Chinese Herbal Medicine
Chinese Herbal Medicine is one of the earliest known forms of holistic medicine and is still widely used today. Herbs are used to fight disease, relieve pain, and help restore the body's normal functions. In this way, Chinese Herbal Medicine is not only used to restore and maintain good health, but also for the prevention of disease and pain.

Q: What are Chinese herbs?
A: Chinese herbs are plant, animal or mineral substances used in specific combinations and dosages to treat disorders in Traditional Chinese Medicine. Each herb has its own medicinal qualities which are enhanced or reduced when used with other herbs.

Q: How can Chinese herbs help me?
A: Chinese herbs can help by replacing bodily substances that are deficient or by removing substances that are in excess. They also help by moving stagnant energy or blood away from an injury site or to an area where these are lacking.

Q: Do I have to brew the sticks and leaves?
A: Not anymore! Chinese herbs are now available in raw or prepared form.The raw form (sticks and leaves) which is what people are used to seeing or hearing about, need to be brewed before drinking. Herbs in prepared form have already been cooked and concentrated and are ready for consumption. They are available in pill, tablet, capsule or powder.

Q: How do the herbs taste?
A: Herbs have a wide variety of tastes depending on where they are from, how they are prepared and how they are combined with other herbs. Some common herb tastes are bitter, sour, sweet, salty or woody and in many cases, the same herb may taste different to different people or even to the same person as their condition changes. The taste of the herbs is part of its medicinal quality.

Q: Do herbs really work?
A: Yes, herbs work. Most of the medications available today have plant origins so it is not as weird as you think. Herbal medicine has been around for thousands of years and many cultures still use them today. Remember, not everyone has a drugstore around the corner, but they still have health concerns to address!

Q: Can Chinese Herbal Medicine help my nausea from chemotherapy?
A: Yes, herbs can help the nausea. They can also keep the immune system strong during the course of chemotherapy. Herbs are frequently used to reduce the toxicity of any medications being used and to reduce the dosage as well.

Q: Are the concentrated herbs as good as the raw herbs?
A: It is my opinion that concentrated herbs are as good, if not better, than raw herbs in certain instances. By eliminating incorrect preparation, concentrated herbs can sometimes be stronger and easier to ingest. The basic difference is a matter of convenience. Raw herbs need to be cooked while the concentrated form does not.

Q: Why are Chinese herbs always mixed in formulas to use?
A: Herbs are mixed in formulas to address a patient's needs more specifically. As a result, they can work more efficiently and deal with several symptoms simultaneously. Some herbs reinforce or reduce the actions of other herbs, while others help guide herbs to different parts of the body.

Q: How often are the herbs taken?
A: Depending on their application, herbs may be taken several times a day or as a one time dose. Usually, herbs are taken for a length of time to allow for changes in the condition being treated. As the symptoms change, the herbs are changed too.

Q: I don't like the way my prescribed herbs taste, do I have to drink it?
A: Not if you don't want to get better! Herbs are an important part of our therapy and are a way for you to actively participate in the management of your health. Think of it as your homework, something for you to do when you are not in our clinic.

Acupuncture makes up the energetic part of Traditional Chinese Medicine and the herbs provide the concrete portion of it. In many cases, to get the best results, we strongly feel that you need both parts. You do not actually need to drink herbs, they can be taken in one of the other forms listed above.

-- By Eric S. Wu, L.Ac