Chinese Herbal Medicine

Note: if you're new to Chinese medicine, keep in mind that the Chinese medicine philosophy and understanding of the the body is very different than that of Western (also referred to as conventional or allopathic) medicine.  Try to begin with a clean mental slate, and look at the human body as if you had no prior knowledge of how things work. It's a bit like learning a new language, because you'll discover completely new ways to describe things with which you were already familiar.    

Zhouzhuang, China. ©2005 Deborah C

 The short summary:   

     I prescribe herbal formulas in the form of pills, dissolvable powder or granules, or sometimes herbs in their dried original form (leaves, bark, roots, flowers, fruits, etc).  Dosage will vary from person to person and herb to herb.  I may advise you to minimize or eliminate certain foods and beverages while you're taking herbs, in order to maximize safety and effect.  We will always talk about other prescription medications you may be taking. It is vitally important that you be open and honest with me about this information so that I can determine proper formulas and dosages for you.



The details:

     If you're not familiar with meridians, you can read a little about them in the "details" section of the Acupuncture page.

     When herbal medicines are taken internally, I see them as a way to access and regulate the meridians from within the body. Each herb has its own "character", so herbal combinations have to be carefully planned and matched to each patient. Sometimes herbs are also applied topically or used externally as a paste, balm or wash, in which case they are absorbed into the bloodstream from the outside in. These are good and effective options for patients who prefer not to ingest herbs.      

     Herbs can be used to treat anything from an acute cold or flu to chronic structural and internal disorders. For an average case of cold or flu, taking herbs for a few days is generally enough to relieve symptoms and restore balance, especially if you catch it early. Herbal treatment cycles for chronic conditions are generally longer and can vary from weeks to months, depending on the situation.  

     My aim with both acupuncture and herbal medicine is to help your body correct imbalances, so that it can function properly on its own.  To correct these imbalances may take time.  Especially with chronic conditions, the body has been gradually adjusting its equilibrium to tolerate the imbalance over a long period of time.  Your body has the ability to heal itself, and my job is to help it remember how!