Chinese herbal medicine, is based on an individualized pattern diagnosis as well as a disease diagnosis. Your pattern is made up of your signs and symptoms, and the constitution your body ( weak, strong, hot, cold, young, old etc.) Herbal treatment is designed to treat your individual pattern as well as the symptom or disease. Western medicines are prescribed for their effectiveness on a group of people with a disease, such as bronchitis. In Chinese Herbology a condition such as bronchitis can be classified and treated as one of many diseases such as Lung dry heat, Lung Hot Phlegm, Lung Cold Phlegm, Liver attacking Lung etc. and each conformation is treated differently based on the symptoms and the patient's constitution.
What are the advantages of using Chinese herbal medicine?
The most significant advantages of the Chinese Herbal Medicine are:
Thousands of years in usage
Revitalizes the body's natural ability to heal
Treats the root (cause) not the symptom (branch)
Little or no side effects
Like western medications, Chinese herbal medicines can relieve symptoms. However, they also nourish and regulate the Qi, blood, and body fluids thereby aiding the function of internal organs to alleviate the root cause of the disease e.g. support the immune system to heal the bronchitis.
What are the ingredients of the herbs?
Chinese herbal medicine includes plants and mineral ingredients. The majority of ingredients are from natural plants which include roots, stems, twigs, tubers, rhizomes, bark, leaves, flowers. There are no chemical additives involved. Each kind of herbal formula normally contains about 12 herbs, selected for their synergistic qualities. It is the selection and combination process that enables each formula to be individually designed.
Can the herbs have side effects for me?
Chinese herbal medicines are classified as food and they very seldom have unwanted side effects. They are a gentle treatment with gradually increasing results. However, as stated above, Chinese herbal medicines are designed for the patient's individual pattern. Even though herbs are foods the do possess strong medicinal properties, and when used incorrectly they may contribute to unwanted side effects and adverse reactions. So, it is essential to get a consultation from a licensed acupuncturist or a Doctor of Oriental Medicine to make sure you can get an appropriate diagnosis and a formula of high quality that is free of additives.
In addition, Chinese herbal medicines often have unexpected positive effects. For example, a patient who came in for lower back pain and received acupuncture and herbs came back a few weeks later and reported that her chronic asthma had "miraculously" disappeared. The reason for this is that, according to the diagnosis, the cause of the lower back pain was that her kidney Qi (energy) was deficient. This was also the cause of the patient's asthma. When the kidney was strengthened, not only the lower back pain was stopped but also the asthma naturally went away.
How are the herbs taken?
Chinese Herbs have been called the "bitter and sour medicine". The commonly seen forms for internal treatment are decoction (strong teas), syrup and pill. The concentrated pills are most commonly used since they eliminate the need for drinking bitter teas, are small in size and dosage, convenient to use.
Do I have to stop taking other medicines?
Generally, there is no reaction between Chinese herbs and prescription drugs. However, since little information is available on these possible interactions, caution and consulting a trained herbalist is important. Herbs should be taken apart from the prescribed medication if possible to limit any interaction. It is advisable that patients inform their physician that they are seeing a Chinese Herbalist, and that no medication is stopped unless advised to do so. The dosage of a prescription medication may need to be adjusted as the need the the drug decreases.
How can I get herbs?
For the best results herbs should be prescribed by a licensed acupuncturist or Doctor of Oriental medicine. As stated above, Chinese Herbal Medicine is an individualized therapy. It recognizes that even though two people may share the same disease, a person with a strong conformation will fight disease differently than a person with a weak conformation. By using a precise combination of different herbs, a practitioner can resolve the imbalances of the body's functions. There are hundreds of herbs for different kinds of illnesses. With the growing popularity of Chinese Medicine herbs many are now available in retail stores, please remember diagnosis is an art and science requiring training and that the quality of retail herbs are in doubt.
You can become a patient of Dr. Zeng by calling (401) 861-7555 or click here to email.