Chinese Herbal Medicine
Chinese herbal medicine dates back to the 3rd century BC, and is one of the great herbal systems of the world. Throughout its 3000-year-history, it has continually developed and evolved in response to changing clinical conditions. Together with Ayurvedic (Indian) herbal medicine, it forms the longest unbroken clinically researched and applied herbal medical science in the world.
Many people in the West do not realize that Chinese herbal medicine is the true "backbone" of Chinese, or Oriental, medicine, with acupuncture and other therapies traditionally viewed as adjunctive. While most people seek out acupuncture as a primary therapy for pain and illness in the West, quite the opposite is true in the East. Chinese herbs are in fact the "Internal Medicine" of Chinese medicine--herbs are the first line of treatment used for signs of internal imbalance or illness.
Chinese herbal medicine forms a major part of current healthcare systems in China, and is provided in state hospitals alongside Western treatment. Ongoing clinical research into Chinese herbal therapy and its effect on specific disease is conducted through major universities and hospitals in China and around the world. The research applies the same modern placebo-controlled clinical study parameters that are applied to Western drug research, with published results.
Chinese herbal medicine includes a complex diagnostic system, based on evaluation of clear patterns of disease though reporting of symptoms as well as palpation, and tongue and pulse diagnosis. Precise herbal formulas matched to the pattern(s) are then prescribed.
Chinese herbal medicine includes a rich Materia Medica both of individual herbs and complex herbal formulas and include mostly plant matter--including flowers, buds, leaves, twigs and roots--but also a variety of animal parts, insects, minerals, shells, marine animals, and even fungi. Specific traits of each "herb" and "combination of herbs" were identified over centuries of clinical application, including thermal quality, specific organ or tissue targeted, direction it moved within the body (inward, upward, downward), and precise method of cooking to achieve a particular effect.
While traditionally Chinese herbs were consumed as a tea or wine (or mixed in rice cereals), these days we are fortunate to have access to a number of high quality Chinese herbal companies that prepare single and complex formulas into freeze dried powders that can then be easily taken either in capsules or mixed with warm water. Herbal formulas are also available in tincture form--extracted into alcohol or vegetable glycerin--and then taken by the teaspoon.
Some of the most successful conditions treated with Chinese herbal medicine include:
Cold and Flu Symptoms
Respiratory Infection, including Sinus, Ear, Bronchial
Headaches and Migraines
Gastrointestinal disorders, including GERDS, IBS, bacterial infection, Stomach Ulcer
Gynecological disorders, including PMS, Menopausal Syndrome, Endometriosis, Infertility
Bladder and Urinary Tract Infection, Vaginal Infection
Cholecystitis (Gallbladder Inflammation), Gallbladder and Kidney Stones
Circulatory disorders, including High Blood Pressure, Angina
Arthritis and Joint Pain
Impotence and Low Libido
At Denver Community Acupuncture, we stock a wide variety of Chinese herbal formulas in our apothecary, available in capsule, powder, or tincture form. Our acupuncturists are jointly trained as herbalists, and are happy to assist you in finding the right formula for your needs.
Clinical trials continue testing Chinese herbs and their effectiveness for a wide variety of ailments. At Denver Community Acupuncture we post monthly newsletters that include these studies and their results. Sign up here for our newsletter or access our blog page for more information.
NOTE REGARDING SAFETY CONCERNS:
All of the herbs at Denver Community Acupuncture are of the highest quality, sourced from companies that test for contaminants, including heavy metals and pesticides. Herbs are never prescribed to patients on medication which might potentially cause herb-drug interactions. We also do not recommend Chinese herbs during pregnany, and only very specific formulas during breastfeeding. Patient safety is our highest concern.