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Five Things I Wish Everyone Knew About Chinese Herbal Medicine


While acupuncture has grown significantly in popularity over the last several years, there is much less awareness and understanding of Chinese herbal medicine. Used in conjunction with acupuncture or on its own, herbs have tremendous healing power and vast uses. Here are five things that I wish everyone knew about Chinese herbal medicine and its benefits:

1. It can be used to treat a wide range of conditions.

Chinese herbal medicine has been used for thousands of years to address serious chronic and acute issues. Some examples of conditions that Chinese herbal medicine can alleviate include insomnia, breathing disorders, digestive issues, headaches, depression, anxiety, allergies, skin rashes, fertility, PMS and menstrual issues, hormonal disturbances, pain and common colds, among others.

2. It can address multiple issues at the same time.

Like acupuncture, Chinese herbal medicine addresses both the manifesting symptoms and the underlying imbalance(s) or root cause(s). As a result, one formula can address what may appear to be a random constellation of physical, emotional and mental symptoms. In addition to hundreds of patented formulas available, formulas can be designed specifically for an individual and his or her unique needs by adding, removing and modifying dosages of the herbs.

3. The sum is greater than its parts           

Chinese herbal medicine predominantly uses formulas instead of single herbs. Formulas combine herbs that are designed to strengthen and balance one another’s effects providing a more holistic outcome.

4. It comes in a variety of forms

Chinese herbal medicine comes in capsules and liquid tinctures as well as granules and in raw form to be simmered and drank as tea so it can fit into any lifestyle. Formulas also can be used topically as a plaster to help heal injuries or a rinse for skin issues.

5. You are already familiar with Chinese herbal medicine

There are many Chinese herbs right in your kitchen or available at your supermarket that you can incorporate as part of your diet to support overall wellbeing. In all cases, select organic and the highest quality possible to reap the most benefit.

Ginger (Sheng Jiang) warms the stomach to support digestion, prevent nausea, alleviate vomiting, expel a cold and alleviate cough with phlegm.

Goji berries (Gou Qi Zi) nourishes yin and blood to address issues such as insomnia, dizziness, dry eyes, dry cough or sore back and legs.

Nutmeg (Rou Dou Kou)­ stops diarrhea, particularly chronic diarrhea that occurs first thing in the morning and supports digestion especially when there is reduced appetite.   

Mint (Bo He) soothes headaches, red eyes and sore throat and can help relieve constraint in the chest.

If you want learn more about the many benefits of Chinese herbal medicine, consult a licensed acupuncturist who prescribes Chinese herbal medicine within the scope of their professional practice to work with you. A good practitioner will want to know about all aspects of your health and life as well as use Chinese tongue and pulse diagnosis and other observable signs to prescribe an appropriate formula for your individual needs.