Chinese herbal therapy includes five major clinical applications:
- Nutritional education is stressed to assist patients in choosing foods for the body’s nurishment and optimum health, as well as for treatment of disease. Foods have many similar properites to herbs.
- Teas and Soups are water-based herbal formulas traditionally prepared from raw or processed herbal ingredients. These are traditionally ingested for the treatment of internal and external disorders of both acute and chronic natures.
- Tinctures and Wines are both alcohol-based herbal formulas prepared from raw herbs that are used similarly to teas and soups. Wines are traditionally applied externally to alleviate pain, or ingested as a tonic, depending on the specific formula and the disease being treated.
- Oils, Balms, and Liniments are oil-based herbal formulas usually applied externally for the treatment of muscle, tendon, and ligament trauma, to alleviate pain, disperse Excess Qi, or to draw Qi into specific areas for tonification.
- Compresses, Powders, and Pills consist of herbs that have been pulverized into a paste, powder, or poultice and are then applied externally for the treatment of acute or chronic injuries. They can also be ingested for internal organ tonification and the rebalancing of the body’s energy system. Pills are herbs specially prepared from traditional formulas, rolled into little balls, and orally ingested for the treatment of Internal disorders.
Chinese herbology and the acupuncture are mutually exclusive. Someone can receive acupuncture without taking the herbs and vice versa. However, administering both at the same time potentiates the effect of both. Our practitioner is willing to do them separately or together. An initial appointment is needed for either tract.
There is a lot of concern about the safety of Chinese herbs due to some bad press by the media. If sourced correctly, herbs are very safe. As with anything, if you get it from a questionable dealer the quality will be questionable. We get our herbs from Taiwan. We have several suppliers that operate ISO 9001:2000 inspected facilities and are GMP plants. Part of the concern with Chinese herbs is species identification. These plants have a four part system of species identification: appearance, microscopic identification, chemical identification including color chromatography and spectrometric analysis, and chemical fingerprinting, which identically matches a batch of herbs to a laboratory standard. In addition to correct identification these plants test for pesticide residue, heavy metal, sulfur dioxide residue, and aflatoxin. All herbs are certified to be free of these compounds. If you want company specific information you may want to visit the companys’ websites or you can come in to view the materials we have on their facilities and procedures. When available we try to acquire wildcrafted, organic, or sustainably harvested herbs.
Brands we purchase:
- Kasier Pharmaceutical (KPC)– We purchase their brand of herbal granules for our pharmacy. We are able to encapsulate these herbs as well. These herbs are pharmaceutical and practitioner grade.
- Herbal Times from Nuherbs Company – We purchase their brand of tea pills, the small round black pills that are compacted herbal balls. These are pharmaceutical and practitioner grade.
- Golden Flower Chinese Herbs – We carry select varieties of their formulaic herbs in capsules. These are pharmaceutical and practitioner grade.
- Spring Wind and Dr. Kang’s Herbs – Our raw herbs are sourced from these two suppliers, depending on which herbs are available when. Spring Wind carries many organics and wildcrafts. Both companies sell most of their herbs only to practitioners.
- Dragon Herbs – These are retail grade herbs from Ron Teeguarden, a master herbalist.
- Asian patents – We have a small selection of Asian patent formulas which are cold and flu remedies and topical applications.
Western herbalism primarily treats single or separate symptoms such as headache, insomnia, constipation, etc. Western herbalism would lead you to take echinacea for colds, ginkgo for memory, or St. John’s Wort for mild depression. One herb or a small group of herbs is used for each symptom, somewhat like Western drugs.
Chinese herbalism bases itself on diagnosing you as a whole picture: formulas are unique based partly on your symptoms, but also on emotional temperament, cause, duration of disease, and your overall body constitution. So, three people with a headache may be diagnosed three different ways and take three very different formulas. About 25% of Western herbs are found in the Chinese pharmacoepia, they are just used differently.
Tonic herbs are safe to consume regularly over long periods of time. The Chinese refer to these type of herbs as superior herbs since they are prized and promote longevity, beauty, and vitality. It is preferred to prevent disease rather than try to fix it in the Chinese cosmology. There are roughly 120 herbs in this category.
Medicinal herbs are used for shorter periods of time and should only be administered under a physicians care. They are used for specific reasons and not general health promotion. While some tonic herbs are used in medicinal formulas as well, they are used differently medicinally.
There are 530 common herbs in the Chinese Materia Medica, with many more that are more rarely used or no longer available. In our pharmacy we carry 230 of the individual herbs and 64 of the pre-mixed formulas.