The United Kingdom
Chinese Herbal Medicine
Chinese herbal medicine is an integral part of TCM. The herbs are specially formulated and include flowers, leaves, stalks, seeds and roots. Each herb has its own healing properties which are used for specific purposes and perform particular functions of treating diseases, rectifying hyper- or hypo-activity of Yin and Yang, and helping restore body’s health.
Chinese herbal therapy must be given by qualified TCM practitioners. The practitioner conducts a diagnostic interview, which includes asking questions relating to your health problems, taking your pulse and examining your tongue, before making a herbal prescription.
The herbal prescription usually consists of up to 15 different herbs carefully selected from a total of 300 or so. The combination is specially suited to treat you and your condition. Each prescription is therefore tailor-made to the individual. The herbs are cooked and drunk as a decoction (“tea”) or taken in tablet form, to get to the root of the problem.
You start by taking the herbal medicine every day. As treatment continues, the practitioner will closely monitor your progress through regular consultation, altering the prescription accordingly. Since all patients and conditions are different, treatment can vary from a few weeks to several months. After a period of treatment your practitioner will be able to advise you when you are able to stop taking the medicine.
Herbs come in three different forms:
Herbal decoctions – loose herbs to be boiled up by patients themselves to extract the pharmacological ingredients. Most traditional form of herbal medicine and usually more effective as higher doses are used and very tailor-made to mostly suit individuals.
Herbal powders - dried powers industrially prepared from single herbs or herbal formulae. More convenient for patients to take. Powers of single herbs can be prompteapo mixed to suit individuals
Herbal tablets/pills - most convenient to patients. Usually less powerful as lower doses are used. More suitable for minor conditions or for health maintaining purpose. A large range of Chinese patent herb products are available over the counter.