What is Chinese Herbology?
Chinese Herbology is the art and science of combining medicinal substances to nourish and balance the processes and irregularities of our internal environment. It is the Internal Medicine component of Chinese Medicine.
What are Medicinal Substances?
The list of medicinal ingredients includes such items as whole plants, leaves, stems, bark, flowers, fruits and seeds or roots, as well as ingredients derived from animals or minerals. Herbology is traditionally one of the more important modalities utilized in contemporary Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM).
How are they used?
A medicinal herb prescription is a formula or recipe, i.e., a decoction of many herbs cooked in water and tailored to an individual. A practitioner usually designs each remedy using one or two main ingredients that target the individual's chief complaint. Other ingredients are added to adjust the formula for particular conditions. Ingredients may also be included as catalysts or to cancel out unnecessary effects. Herbal formulas are adjusted and modified regularly and ingredients may be eliminated and/or added as a person's condition changes. These latter steps require experience, skill and knowledge and separate a good Chinese herbal practitioner from an amateur.
How do I take them?
The time-honored method of preparing one's own herbal elixir is to make a decoction of raw medicinal substances by cooking them in water. This produces a concentrated and sometimes bitter drink that is generally consumed twice daily. Modern technology has developed a method of preparing raw substances into a powdered or granulated form. Instead of having to decoct a bag full of raw herbs, a person today has the option of merely dissolving a number of measures of their granulated formula in water to make a daily dosage. Formulas can also be prepared as tablets and capsules in some cases.
Are Chinese Herbs safe?
Contrary to modern western medicines, unnecessary or toxic side effects of Chinese Herbs have been studied and documented for thousands of years. In my practice I use only substances that are certified chemical free in preparation. It is important to know the training of anyone who is preparing medicinal formulas for your personal use. Chinese Medicinal Herb formulas have been proven quite safe over centuries of use and are exceptionally effective when correctly prescribed and prepared.