What is Chinese Herbal Medicine?
Chinese Herbal Medicine is a natural treatment that is used to balance the patient’s body in order to overcome disease and pain. A Chinese Herbalist may offer a herbal mixture after detailed and personalised consultation. Such a mixture can be made up from raw herbs, tablets, granules or syrup. Chinese Herbal Medicine is a tried and tested treatment based on traditional Chinese medicine methods and traditional philosophy.
The Chinese and other Eastern cultures have been using this type of herbal treatment for thousands of years and in fact herbal medicine has also played an important role in Western cultures.
What is the difference between Chinese Herbal Medicine and modern Western Medicine?
Most pharmaceutical drugs often have man-made ingredients that may have some side effects. Chinese Herbal Medicine usually uses multiple natural herbal ingredients, with minimal side effects. The ability to decide the correct mixture of different herbs is a special skill requiring extensive training and education followed by years in practice – in China, it’s necessary first to achieve a Bachelor’s Degree in Medicine before going on to become a herbalist.
What is special about Chinese Herbal Medicine treatment?
A very detailed consultation
Before the Chinese Herbalist gives the patient a herbal prescription, he/she would have a detailed consultation with the patient to assess the underlying causes of the symptoms presented. The consultation would involve:
The Practitioner asking questions about the origin of the illness or discomfort; what symptoms are presented; how long the symptoms have been present; general health condition and life style; medical history [past illness, operation, allergies, and family medical history].
Noting the patient’s physical characteristics by looking at their body, skin colour and texture, eyes, hair, nail and tongue condition.
Noting the patient’s internal condition by checking their pulses on both wrists.
After all the information has been collected, the herbalist needs to analyse the patient’s condition in the many different categories:
Firstly – a Four Dimensional Analysis - Is the illness or discomfort caused by internal elements or caused by external elements [like injury, trauma, weather and biological bodies]? Does the internal element belong to weakness or excessiveness? Is the patient’s metabolism fast or slow? Pathologically, is the patient’s body over reacting or not responding?
Secondly – Which internal organ is affected by the illness most and how does this affect the functioning of the patient’s other organs?
Thirdly – Which meridians have been affected by the illness and in what order?
Detailed action plan – the herbalist will draw up a detailed treatment plan for the patient before they start the treatment: some problems can be solved simply, whereas others may require several stages to get good results.
Finally, the treatment could be a herbal mixture together with advice on diet or life-style changing.
How can Chinese Herbal Medicine help me?
Chinese Herbal Medicine can assist in the restoration of health and prevent further illness.
Are Herbal Medicines safe?
Herbal medicines can be powerful, but are both safe and effective when prescribed by professional practitioners.
What happens at the Treatment?
Patients are asked a wide range of questions about current symptoms, what treatments have been received, medical history, way of life, eating, sleeping and emotional state. In addition to these questions, a physical examination may also be appropriate. This may include abdominal palpation, blood pressure measurement and structural assessment.
The Chinese Herbalist is also likely to feel pulses on both wrists and ask to look at the tongue.
Helpful Advice for Treatment Sessions
It is important to bring along details of any medication being taken [including the dosage]
Please avoid wearing any perfume, aftershave, scented cosmetics or body sprays.
After the Treatment
In the unlikely event of not feeling well after taking any Chinese Herbal Medicine, patients should contact their practitioner as soon as possible and not wait until the next appointment – the herbalist may then adjust the dosage of any prescription, according to the response. There are sometimes allergic reactions to herbal medicine, though these are infrequent, and the herbalist will be able to identify such a reaction and take the necessary measures to alleviate the problem.
How long does it take for the Chinese Herbal Medicine to work?
It depends on each individual patient and the condition being treated. In general, young patients are more likely to respond more quickly. Chronic conditions tend to take longer to show a result.