What is it?

Chinese Herbal Medicine (CHM) is backed by a 5,000 yr proven history and has been continuously developed dating back to the 2nd millennium BCE and continues to deliver a sound alternative health care option. Today, it is the second most used medicine in the world, used in over 200 countries and extensive research supports its historical value.

The effectiveness of Chinese Herbal Medicine lies in the use of carefully designed formulas with prescribed combinations of herbs that treat the whole pattern of a disease. Chinese Medicine provides herbal formulas found to be exceedingly effective with chronic disorders. Using the holistic approach towards illness, and through the consideration of balancing Yin and Yang properties, the sub-surface patterns (underlying conditions) of an illness are considered along with the surface symptoms in order to effectively cure the health problem.

How does it work?

The Chinese herbs most commonly prescribed for conditions ranging from fatigue to infertility are as formulae containing up to 20 herbs which are categorized as follows:

  • 1-2 Emperor herbs (main herbs used to treat presenting symptoms)
  • 1-4 Minister herbs (which assist with associated symptoms
  • 1-3 Adjunct herbs (which direct other herbs to specific areas of the body i.e. to the throat, head, skin or kidneys)

Generally it takes at least three months before the therapeutic effects of the herbs are noticed. Although the dosage is outlined for each formulation mentioned, it is best to consult with a Chinese medicine practitioner or herbalist before starting herbal therapy.

The theories of the properties of Traditional Chinese Herbal Medicine are mainly summarized as the four natures and five flavours. The four natures are hot, cold, warm and cool: cold and cool belong to Yin, and are therefore used to clear away heat, purge fire and eliminate toxic materials. Hot and warm belong to Yang, and are therefore used to expel cold and restore the balance of Yang. Yin and Yang herbs are determined by the affect that they have on the human body after being ingested. For example, after ShiGao is ingested, heat-syndromes such as high fever, dysphoria, thirst and profuse perspiration can be eliminated. This indicates that Shigao is cold in nature.

The five flavours of Chinese medicinal herbs refer to the five different tastes, being pungent, sweet, sour, bitter, and salty. Pungent is a flavour that is believed to disperse and promote circulation of qi in the blood. Sweet nourishes, harmonises and hydrates the body and are usually prescribed for deficiency and pain syndromes, cough due to lung-heat, and uncoordination between the spleen and stomach. Sour is a flavour that absorbs, consolidates, and counteracts severe conditions such as excess perspiration, chronic coughing, chronic diarrhoea, and other chronic illnesses. Bitter works to dry or resolve dampness and purging. Salty is a flavour that softens masses and promotes defecation, therefore used for illnesses such as constipation.

Benefits:

Chinese Herbal Medicine in a non-intrusive medical alternative to chemically based western medicines. Although the effect may take more time than western medicines, there are significantly fewer side-affects and negative impacts felt by the body. This is because the all-natural components of Chinese Herbal Medicines are more readily accepted and absorbed by the body. Also, unlike western medicine Chinese medicine is holistic in that it not only attacks the illness, and treats symptoms, but it also re-balances the underlying causes as well as repairing the body after the illness has been dispersed.

 

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