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About Chinese Herbs

Chinese herbal medicine has been used for thousands of years for treating diseases and restoring the normal body functions with proven effectiveness. Over the long history, Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM) has developed into a complete treatment system with several unique features complementing with the modern medicine:

1. Effectiveness: Based on totally different theories and practice, TCM is quite effective in the treatment of many different kinds of diseases. This is especially true in chronic and systematic diseases, to which there are often no effective treatment in modern medicine.

2. Individualization: In TCM, the essential difference of a disease in each individual is fully appreciated with its unique diagnosis and sympton differentiation, in agreement with the emergning concept of indivisualized medicine following genetic revolution in the 21 century.

3. Wide application: The diagnosis and treatment are mainly focused on the body itself instead of the disease, TCM can be used in all kinds of diseases, including modern diseases such as AIDS and auto-immune diseases.

4. Low side-effect: Chinese herbal therapy has low risk of side effects, especially when compared to pharmaceutical drugs.

The Theory and the Practice
The power of traditional Chinese herbal medicine comes from its complete and unique theories based on the ancient philosophy. These theories explain the physiology, pathology and etiology related to human body and diseases, and also guide the diagnosis and treatment of disease. The main concepts include: yin and yang, five element, body organs (zang-fu), Qi and blood, and meridians. The use of Chinese herbal medicine is based on the basic theories of TCM, which also makes theoretical fundation for acupuncture, massage (Tui Na), and dietary therapies.

In the application of TCM and acupuncture, the general principle is to use herbs and/or acupuncture stimulus to regulate the body so that the lost balance in the body systems are recovered. In the clinical practice, the TCM physician first questions the patients about their symptoms and medical history to collect information, and then he will examine patients by carefully observing (especially the tongue), hearing and smelling, palpating body regions including the pulse. The information acquired from this process is then used to make a diagnosis, which is a comprehensive reflection of the nature of the disease. Based on the diagnosis, a treatment principle is developed to guide the use of a specific herbal formula or a prescription of acupuncture points.

Chinese medicinal substances are commonly used in combinations called formulas. There are few circumstances in which single herbs are used. The formulation of herbs brings about stronger curing effects, reduces side effect, and addresses all aspects of the disease so that a new balace inside of the body can be recovered. Although there are hundreds and thousands formulas to choose from, a TCM physician usually needs to modify a formula to fit the specific need of a patient. The common methods of modification of traditional formulas include the addition or subtraction of herbs, change dosages, and combination of two or more formulas. The herbs are traditionally administered in the form of a decoction, but infusion, tincture, powder, pill, plaster, poultice, bolus, draft or capsule are also used based on the different health condition and the patient’s preference.

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