Chinese Herbal Medicine
Chinese herbs have been utilized in Chinese cultures for over 5,000 years. The fundamental idea of living in harmony with nature and the environment forms the basis for the use of Chinese herbs as well as the traditional Chinese approach to health. Knowledge of the healing power of Chinese herbs and herbal remedies has been passed down from generation to generation. In China, there are over 3000 different herbs that can be used for medical purposes. However, about 300 to 500 of these herbs are commonly used. It is important to use herbs grown in China rather than outside of their native environment. One must use the right herb from the right source to get the full benefit.
Traditional Chinese Herbs are very different from the western scientific approach we are accustomed to. Chinese health experts promote a healthful balance of yin and yang – two forces present in all of nature. When yin or yang forces or qi/energy levels are off-balance in the body and spirit, health problems arise. Chinese herbs and herbal remedies are used to help realign an individual’s yin or yang balance in order to improve overall well-being. Chinese herbal formulas include hundreds of popular organic ingredients that work in harmony to produce the desired effects in a person’s body. These ingredients are primarily of plant origin, and may include roots, bark, seeds, flowers and leaves. Each organic ingredient typically has unique characteristics (i.e. yin/yang balancing, qi/energy boosting, etc.) that are reinforced and harmonized in comprehensive ancient Chinese herbal formulas that have been passed down through the years.
Herbal medicines used in TCM are sometimes marketed in the United States as dietary supplements. The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) regulations for dietary supplements are not the same as those for prescription or over-the-counter drugs; in general, the regulations for dietary supplements are less stringent. With this form of medicine there are very few side effects with the herbs; most of the effects that come with herbs for the most part are harmless. Chinese herbs are now experiencing a rapid increase in usage and popularity. Health-conscious consumers are concerned about the concentration of synthetic chemicals in western diets and the general environment. Chinese herbs are being welcomed by progressive western consumers who are seeking natural, healthy and balanced alternative remedies.