Chinese Herbal Medicine (CHM) is backed by a 5,000 year proven history, has been continuously developed since the second 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 there is extensive research to support its historical value.
The effectiveness of Chinese Herbal Medicine lies in the use of carefully designed formulas of precise combinations of herbs that treat the whole pattern of a disease. These herbal formulas have been 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 together with the surface symptoms in order to effectively cure the health problem.
How Does It Work?
Herbal formulae are precisely designed by the practitioner to tailor to the health needs of the individual client. The herbal formulae contain up to 20 herbs and are categorised 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.
How Does It Work?
The theories of the properties of Traditional Chinese Herbal Medicine are mainly summarised as the four natures and five flavours.
The four natures are hot, cold, warm and cool. Cold and cool belong to Yin and are used to clear away heat, purge fire and eliminate toxic materials. Hot and warm belong to Yang and are used to expel cold and restore the balance of Yang.
Yin and Yang herbs are determined by the effect 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: 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, coughs due to lung-heat and unbalance 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.
Chinese Herbal Medicine in a nonintrusive medical alternative to chemically based western medicines.
Although the effect may take more time than western medicines, there are significantly fewer side-effects 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 issues as well as repairing the body after the illness has been dispersed.
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