PART 1 | INTRODUCTION
What do you think when you hear Traditional Chinese medicine? Most people think of acupuncture, but there is more to the story. The truth is there are actually three primary modalities that make up the complete healing system, also known as TCM – acupuncture, herbology, and Asian bodywork.
Today, Chinese herbal medicine is gaining popularity in the western world. People are becoming more interested in natural approaches to their health and wellbeing. According to the National Center for Complementary and Integrative Health (NIH), a national survey showed that about one in five Americans use herbs.
While some people may be skeptical of the efficacy of Chinese herbs, much scientific evidence supports their use. The National Certification Commission for Acupuncture and Oriental Medicine (NCCAOM) lists numerous studies that show Chinese herbs can effectively treat various health conditions.
It is also safe, economical, and a beautiful art form. Therefore, I am dedicating a three-part blog series to understanding the power of this plant medicine.
Part 1: Introduction to Chinese herbal medicine and Herbal Forms
Part 2: Benefits, Effectiveness, Cost, Side effects and the Credentials of a Qualified Practitioner
Part 3: Your Home Herbal Medicine Cabinet
Let’s start with an introduction. What are Chinese herbs? They are substances such as plants, leaves, flowers, fruit, seeds, stems, bark, roots, rhizomes, minerals, and other plant parts indigenous to Asia. In China, they often use insects and animal parts. However, in the United States, you will be happy to know we primarily use plants, with a few exceptions. These herbs are used as a single herb or formula to treat pathological conditions and states of imbalance.
Herbal formulas are combinations of single herbs specifically designed for the individual patient. You see. There is an art to creating herbal preparations because each is skillfully composed to achieve balance and treat disease. The slightest modification in dosage or herb composition can change the entire focus of the formula and, therefore, the results.
There are many forms of herbal medicine. The most common are:
- Raw herbs – Herbal formulas combine unprocessed natural herbs decocted in boiling water and consumed for therapeutic benefit.
- Patent herbs – Herbal formulas modernized into a ready-to-use form such as tablets or oral solutions.
- Tinctures – Herbal concentrated liquid form of one or more herbs.
- Topical liquids and creams – herbal products absorbed through the skin for therapeutic benefits
That wraps it up for this article, short and sweet. Now you are familiar with Chinese herbs and the most common forms. The following newsletter will discuss the benefits, effectiveness, cost, and possible side effects, as well as the credentials of a qualified practitioner. I hope you enjoy this series. If you have any questions, please don’t hesitate to reach out.
“The only way to optimal health is to take of yourself everyday – mentally, emotionally and physically.”
Sheri Davidson, licensed acupuncturist (Academy of Oriental Medicine at Austin) and Duke Integrative Medicine trained wellness coach, specializes in preventative medicine. She loves sharing her passion for wellness living and Eastern medicine through her blog, The Wellness Inspired Podcast, and practice, Element 5, Acupuncture + Wellness in Rice Village District of Houston, TX. Also, Sheri currently serves on the Texas Medical Board of Acupuncture Examiners
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L.Ac. + Wellness Coach