Chinese Herbal Medicine
Throughout the world, there are as many medicinal herbal traditions as there different cultures. Chinese herbs are unique in that there are more than 2500 years of documented clinical uses of these herbs for a myriad of illnesses. The ancient Chinese were meticulous in their investigating and documenting of the effects of herbs and what herbs work best together. Today, we are left with a rich herbal tradition and elegant herbal formulas designed to enhance each herb's medicinal function. At Skamania Acupuncture Clinic, we use and recommend a variety of herbal products, including custom formulas made of granulated herbal powders, tinctures (herbal concentrates in alcohol), pills, and externally applied herbal washes. From research, we know that acupuncture works to decrease inflammation, relieve pain, and promote circulation. The Chinese herbs that you are prescribed continue these functions, internally decreasing inflammation (systemically and at the location of an injury or illness), relieving pain with natural analgesic properties, regulating hormonal activity, regulating the immune system, and promoting the natural healing processes of the body.
What are Chinese Herbs good for
Chinese herbs are effective in the treatment of a wide range of ailments, conditions, and diseases. Acute conditions, like the flu or a common cold, can be shortened by the right herbs, while chronic diseases such as allergies, autoimmune conditions, endocrine conditions, respiratory conditions, cardiovascular conditions, digestive ailments, age-related/ degenerative diseases, and reproductive conditions can be treated with Chinese herbs. Herbs can also be helpful in pain conditions and in healing chronic injuries. Topical herbal products can be effective for treating different skin conditions and underlying muscle and bone injuries. Because of the wide range of pharmacological effects of herbs, they are effective in treating many diseases and promoting the body's natural abilities to heal itself.
How are Herbs Prescribed
It is important to take Chinese herbs as prescribed by a qualified herbalist or acupuncturist. Most Chinese herbs are very safe, but they must be used properly to maximize their benefits and to be safe for patients to take. In East Asian Medicine, herbs are prescribed "holistically," meaning that all factors such as disease/ condition, symptoms, and previous health history are all taken into account when deciding which herbs are appropriate. Further, herbs are combined together into complex formulas- this helps to prevent adverse reactions and side effects, as different active ingredients in the herbs counter-balance each other. At Skamania Acupuncture Clinic, Chinese herbs are prescribed in granular formulas. Traditionally, herbs were cooked together to make a tea. In modern times, to expedite the process, large, industrial batches of herbs are cooked together, then freeze dried into concentrated powders ("granulars"). Using traditional examination and diagnosis, a granular formula is constructed based on each individual patient's needs- CUSTOM HERBAL FORMULAS!
Herbs As food
Many Chinese herbs are food or different parts of familiar culinary substances. Several herbs, spices, and plant parts that we eat on a daily basis area used in concentrated forms as medicinal Chinese herbs. In East Asian Medicine, modifying a patient's diet is an important step in overcoming illness and maintaining health.
- Apricot kernels and asparagus roots are used in the treatment of different kinds of coughs.
- Cinnamon, green onions, and mint are used for some upper respiratory tract infections and "warming" the body.
- Cloves, ginger, licorice, and rice help promote smooth digestion.
- Garlic has been used to treat different parasitic infections. Modern research has shown that garlic has potent antimicrobial properties.
- Gou Qi Zi (or Goji) berries and Peach kernels are used in the treatment of some menstrual conditions.
- Honey and Rhubarb roots are used to help constipation and different bowel disorders.
- Immature raspberries and watermelon rinds are used for treating different urinary symptoms.
- Tangerine peels are used to move "qi" in the body.
- Turmeric has been used for pain, and modern research has shown that the spice is a potent anti-inflammatory.
- Walnuts have been used to promote reproductive health.
Are Chinese herbs safe?
It depends. Chinese herbs from reputable sources are safe. Herbs should only be prescribed by qualified herbalists or acupuncturists. Just because an herb has been linked to a specific health benefit does not mean that anybody can take that herb. At Skamania Acupuncture Clinic, we only prescribe herbs from reputable companies that obtain their herbs from Asian sources that meet organic standards and are free of harmful pesticides and heavy metals. The herbs that you can buy in a store does not necessarily come from a reputable source, and there is no guarantee that the product you are buying contains a therapeutic level of the herbal substance. To take Chinese herbs safely, it is important to obtain your herbs from a qualified herbalist using the best quality ingredients.
How long to see results with chinese herbs
The length of use of herbs depends on your health complaint and health goals. If you are trying to get pregnant, herbs might be used for several months until conception. If you have a cold, you might take them for five days. If you have a chronic, degenerative illness, herbs might be necessary for a long term. The length of treatment with herbs, just like acupuncture, is dependent on your health history and what we are trying to accomplish with treatment. While you may take herbs for a long time, many beneficial effects of the herbal formulas are noticeable in a few days after starting to take them.
Can Children Take Chinese Herbs
Children respond very well with many modalities in Chinese Medicine- including Chinese Herbs. At Skamania Acupuncture Clinic, we use a line of herbal tinctures developed specifically for pediatric health concerns that are safe for children and adolescents. Common pediatric ailments treated with herbs include allergies, ear infections, common colds, bedwetting, eczema, weak immune systems, poor focus/ ADD/ADHD, teething, poor sleep/ bad dreams, and upset tummies.