About Chinese herbal medicine
Chinese Herbal Medicine has always been considered pre-eminent amongst the various methods of healing within traditional Chinese medicine (TCM). It is practiced extensively throughout clinics and hospitals in China alongside Western medicine, yet at the same time the use of herbal ingredients is interwoven in the everyday life of China’s population through their food tradition. The age-old systematic approach and clinical effectiveness of Chinese herbal tradition has had the most profound influence on the practice of medicine all over the Far East. Countless generations of doctors over thousands of years have carefully observed patterns of illness and have used powerful natural remedies to alleviate these conditions and restore and maintain good health.
Herbal Medicine and Modern Pharmacology
There is a growing body of research, which indicates that traditional uses of plant remedies and the known pharmacological activity of plant constituents often coincide. However, herbal medicine is distinct from medicine based on pharmaceutical drugs. Firstly, because of the complexity of plant materials it is far more balanced than medicine based on isolated active ingredients and is far less likely to cause side-effects. Secondly, because herbs are typically prescribed in combination, the different components of a formulae balance each other, and they undergo a mutual synergy, which increases efficacy and enhances safety. Thirdly, herbal medicine seeks primarily to correct internal imbalances rather than to treat symptoms alone, and therapeutic intervention is designed to encourage this self-healing process.
Are herbs safe?
Chinese herbs are very safe when prescribed correctly by a properly trained practitioner. Over the centuries doctors have compiled detailed information about the pharmacopoeia and placed great emphasis on the protection of the patient. Adverse reactions can occur with any form of medicine. In the case of Chinese herbal medicine these are rare.