Chinese Herbal Medicine

Chinese Herbal Medicine

More than three hundred herbs that are commonly used today have a history of use that goes back at least 2,000 years. Over that time, a vast amount of experience has been gained that has gone towards perfecting their clinical applications. According to Chinese clinical studies, these herbs, and others that have been added to the list of useful items over the centuries, can greatly increase the effectiveness of modern drug treatments, reduce their side-effects, and sometimes replace them completely.

The two popular forms to replace the standard Chinese preparations of the raw herbs themselves, are extract powders (or granules) and smooth, easy-to-swallow tablets or capsules. The extracts are made by producing a large batch of tea and then removing the water and producing a powder or tiny pellets; the resulting material is swallowed down with some water or mixed with hot water to make a tea. Tablets and capsules contain either powdered herbs or dried extracts or a combination of the two. Despite the convenience, one must take a substantial quantity of these prepared forms (compared to the amount of drugs one takes). For example, doses of the dried extracts range from 1-2 teaspoons each time, two to three times per day, and the tablets or capsules range from about 3-8 units each time, two to three times per day.

In some cases, a practitioner of Chinese medicine will design a specific formulation for an individual patient, which might be changed frequently over a course of treatment. In other cases, one or more formulas already prepared for ingestion without modification are selected for use. The outcome is monitored, and the determination of whether to continue the current formula, change to another, or discontinue use is made on the basis of actual versus desired outcomes and the obvious or subtle effects of using the herbs.

Dietary and Lifestyle advices are also an integrative part of Chinese Medicine. The very best way to prevent illnesses is though food therapy. We are what we eat (and drink!) and many of us don’t pay enough attention to that. There are many ways of speeding your healing through food therapy. At PB Acupuncture, Andreia has helpful hand outs of foods to eat and to avoid depending on your particular issues.

Certain lifestyle changes, such as incorporating exercising and meditation to your daily routine will greatly enhance your quality of life. Andreia encourages and talks a lot about meditation, Tai chi, Qi gong and yoga. During your acupuncture session, you may choose to listen to guided meditations and visualizations to aid in healing.