Chinese medicine or Complimentary medicine is an essential part of health care system these days. Be it reliving certain symptoms, treating health disorders or even treating cancer. Along with other kinds of treatment (acupuncture, cupping, diet, qi gong), herbal therapy is also used in Chinese medicine allowing patients to enjoy a healthy and active life.
Since ancient times, Chinese medicines have been considered one of the most useful methods of treating ailments. These days, people are much more aware of its benefits thanks to the internet. Compared to modern treatment methods, Chinese medicines are a lot different. It is based on concepts of philosophy and ancient beliefs and over 3000 years of observation and testing.
How does it help the body?
Chinese medicine can contribute to maintaining the normal functions of the body. Herbal therapies, massage and acupuncture, are all implemented to provide innumerable benefits for the body. Traditional Chinese medicine would explain that it helps balance yin and yang in addition to Qi or breath. This could be extrapolated as balancing the hypothalamic–pituitary–adrenal axis (HPA axis or HTPA axis) which in turn regulates the endocrine systems and metabolism.
Are Chinese herbs safe?
These are natural medicines which the Chinese have relied upon for thousands of years. After the discovery of effectiveness, their demand has widely increased in the past few years. In a way, it addresses several health concerns where other treatment methods fall short, and it compliments perfectly with modern medicines.
Why are they taken as a formula rather than a single herb?
Rarely are single herbs used in clinics; they are employed in combinations with other herbs. This is because using such combinations ensures that the herbs are more efficient and capable of addressing several ailments at once.
How long do you need to take these herbs?
Just like prescription drugs, the duration will depend on the health issue. Some herbs might treat your ailment after just a few weeks while some might take many months to do so. For quick concerns like cold and flu, these medicines are extremely fast and can treat them within just a few days. For larger or more chronic concerns like elevated glucose, cholesterol or hair growth, it can take several months for the results to come into effect.
Do they have side effects?
There can be some side effects but compared to chemical medicines, the side effects are minimal. Nevertheless, you should consult a qualified Chinese medicine practitioner before consuming any of these medicines.
Most Chinese medicines have a distinct colour and odour. Is it normal?
It’s completely normal as most herbs have a distinctive natural colour and smell.
Are these medicines really natural?
99% of the times, these medicines are free of any pharmaceuticals, sugar, preservatives or artificial colour.
What are some of the most traditional herbal formulas?
The common types of formulas are:-
- Tang (Decoction/soup drink)
- San (fine powder)
- Wan (pills)
- Pian (tablets)
The original forms are Tang and San from which Wan and Pian are derived. Although Tang is by far the most useful kind, the formulation and decoction process make it a bit complicated.
Is it safe to intake several Chinese medicines at once?
As these medicines are the combination of several other herbs, it is not recommended to take more than two types of Chinese medicine simultaneously.
Michael Bending Specialises in Chinese Medicine Northern Beaches, and Remedial Massage Northern Beaches, Sydney