Chinese Herbal Medicine
Chinese herbs are an integral part of Traditional Chinese Medicine, which is evidenced by the fact that some herbs are actually foods and spices that many people use on a daily basis. Ginger is a good example as it is used in many common herbal prescriptions. The preparation of ginger is key to achieve the desired therapeutic effect. Fresh ginger (sheng jiang) is used in prescriptions to help with cold conditions, common cold, cough, vomiting. It also is added to formulas to decrease the toxicity of other herbs. Dried ginger (gan jiang) is also used for cold conditions but for more interior conditions where the body’s qi (energy) is weakened. It can also be used to stop bleeding or clear up phlegm that is thin and watery.
At Meridian Flow Acupuncture in Vancouver herbal formulas are used to prevent, as well as to treat illness. Chinese herbal prescriptions may be used on their own or in combination with acupuncture. The advantage of using herbal formulas with acupuncture is the therapeutic benefit of the acupuncture treatment continues for longer. In addition for those needing ongoing treatments herbs can reduce the need for frequent clinic visits. Thereby making treatment more affordable and easier to maintain.
Currently herbal formulas at Meridian Flow Acupuncture come in two forms, tinctures and granules. Tinctures from Shanti Solutions, are made using organically sourced herbs whenever possible. Advantages of tinctures are smaller dosages due to their concentrated nature and easy administration. Granular herbs are from KPC and are also easy to take as only warm water needs to be added to make a “tea”.
All formulas, whether they are tinctures or granules are created or modified to suit the individual’s needs and may be altered as symptoms improve or conditions change. Common general herbal tonics are also available in tea form. Ling Zhi, also known as Reishi is available in tea form while American Ginseng is available as a tea, wine tonic or infused in honey. These two well known herbs are commonly taken to improve immune function and mental focus.
- Each herb in Chinese Medicine has a unique flavour, energy and action on the body
- Flavours include sweet, bitter, pungent and sour and their energy may be cold, cool, neutral, warm or hot
- Properties of herbs determine which organ systems are affected and the subsequent effect on the body
- Most herbs are used in combination to provide the greatest therapeutic benefit, as well as decrease side effects.
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