By consistent observation and experimentation during the last two thousand years an elaborate method of prescribing Chinese herbal medicine has been developed to diagnose and treat illness using intricate formulas made up of individual herbs.
A diagnosis is reached by using traditional methods, the pulse is felt for it’s quality, the tongue is observed to further pinpoint the nature and location of any problem, the complexion, the sparkle in the eyes or lack of it, or simply asking health related questions. These methods lead to the prescribing of specific herbs which act as a food/medicine in the body which help to restore health.
Some of the formulas contain fifteen or sometimes more individual herbs which are skillfully combined according to the needs of each patient. In this way Chinese herbs can be adapted to suit each persons individual requirements resulting in a synergistic herbal remedy which is safe, effective and can be adapted according to the response which can vary, sometimes additional herbs need to be added or others taken out, this makes prescribing Chinese herbal medicine an artistic as well as therapeutic endeavour.
Herbs as medicine have been used in China for over two thousand years, in that time the body of knowledge has been expanded and refined and continues today.
Dedicated individuals such as the famous medical scholar Li Shi Zhen (1368-1644) devoted their lives to the process of discovering and categorizing native flora according to the effect that they would have when ingested by people both as a medicine for those who were unwell and as a natural remedy for improving and maintaining health generally.
Herbal remedies can be given in raw form which need to be cooked, granulated powders(made from the raw herbs) which are added to warm water or in pill form. Although some practitioners feel that the raw form is the best, recent advances in the manufacture of the powdered version of the herbs has improved their efficacy with the advantage that they are very simple to take. I take this form myself and find that they do work for me as long as I take them at the required dose and frequency.
Herbs can cause problems (usually mild) only when they are prescribed incorrectly as any medicine can but on the whole Chinese herbs are very safe, there is a stringent protocol that must be followed in China during the manufacturing process, this is monitored by the TGA (a government body) to ensure high standards.
If you are prescribed herbs at the clinic, it will be explained to you what they are for and how to take them, during the treatment process you will be constantly evaluated to ensure the herbs are having the desired effect.