The scope of Chinese Herbal therapy is incredibly vast. As each individual is a microcosm working in harmony, often times a combination of modalities is required to truly return ones to health. Chinese herbs offer another route to healing, unlike western herbology, Chinese herbs are rarely prescribed alone. In fact, a distinguishing characteristic of Chinese Herbal Medicine is that the herbs are prescribed in formulas meant to moderate the harsh effects of some herbs and to collectively generate better outcomes than could be provided by any herb alone. Classically, most herbs were prescribed as raw formulas which would be soaked and decocted; modernization has allowed for these agents to be turned into granule formulas which offer similar efficacy while shortening the preparation time for the patient. At Newtown Acupuncture and Wellness we offer custom herbal formulas for your individualized needs.
Chinese Herbal Medicines according to the Cleveland Clinic, “Chinese herbal medicine is a major part of Traditional Chinese Medicine … it has been used for centuries in China, where herbs are considered fundamental therapy for many acute and chronic conditions.” (4) Chinese herbal therapy has its roots in a traditional medicinal text called “Materia Medica.” Thousands of different herbs, minerals, teas, tinctures and other extracts are listed in this text and utilized by trained herbalists depending on a patient’s specific symptoms.
Who can benefit most from Chinese herbal medicines?
Chinese herbs focus on correcting dysfunction of certain organs and unhealthy body patterns. The goal of herbal therapy is to bring the body back into a state of homeostasis (balance) and restore proper energy (also called Qi).
Patients with many different symptoms can be treated with herbs, including those with frequent colds or the flu, fatigue, trouble breathing, infertility, allergies, chronic pain, anxiety or depression, trouble sleeping, menopausal symptoms and even people recovering from cancer or chemotherapy.
Some scenarios that make a patient a good candidate for herbal therapy include having more than one unexplained symptom, feeling fatigued on top of having other symptoms, not responding well to medications or experiencing side effects, feeling anxious or depressed, in addition to having other symptoms.
Common Chinese herbal medicines include astragalus root, reishi mushroom, goji berry, ginkgo biloba, ginseng and many others.
Here’s what you can expect during a Traditional Chinese Medicine herbal session: Customized, various herbs (almost always more than one) are prescribed following an exam with the herbalist. Sometimes herbs are used as a complement to another treatment, such as acupuncture. Chinese herbal therapy is usually not covered by insurance, but in some cases a referral from a physician can help lower the cost. Oftentimes a herbalist works closely with a physician to manage a patient’s treatment, especially if the herbal therapy can interact with the patient’s prescription medications.