Herbs as medicine
Many people often wonder why they should take Chinese herbs when they live here, within the United States. Why not use herbs that are native to the area one lives in? It is a common misconception that the herbs and substances used in Chinese herbal therapy are only native to China when in fact they are found all over the world. Chinese herbal therapy is based on Chinese medical theory, which has then been applied to herbal remedies. Chinese medical theory is rooted in observing natural laws and applying them to the human body. It is a complete system of medicine that focuses on the body, mind and spirit connection and how to bring balance and normal functioning back to the individual.
Many Chinese herbs are things you might find in your kitchen or garden such as cinnamon, ginger, orange peel, goji berries, or mint. Most substances used are of plant origin although some animal and mineral products are used as well. Herbal formulas are constructed, using between five and fifteen individual herbs on average, based on the signs and symptoms an individual is presenting with. These formulas can be given in raw form, which the individual will need to cook into a decoction, or in granular form, which gets dissolved into hot water like a tea.
Chinese herbal medicine takes a holistic approach in understanding normal functioning and disease processes and focuses more on the prevention of illness than the treatment of disease. Modifications are made at each step as the signs and symptoms resolve until the person is feeling better, at which time the use of Chinese herbs can be concluded. One thing that is so great about using Chinese herbs as an adjunct therapy to another form of treatment, such as acupuncture, is that herbs are taken on a daily basis and therefore support the body in between other visits. When the body is given regular and consistent reminders of how to function properly, a state of wellness can be achieved quickly and efficiently.