CHINESE HERBAL MEDICINE
How do Western Medicine and Traditional Chinese Medicine differ?
Because Chinese medicine views the mind and body as ecosystems in miniature, it seeks to improve
our capacity to balance and renew our intrinsic resources. Chinese medicine can minimize the
erosion of our "soil" by enriching it, maximizing the flow of nutrients, by increasing circulation
and helping to prevent bottlenecks that obstruct vital movement.
Often, Western medicine intervenes only after crises arise, whereas Chinese medicine anticipates
problems by sustaining our interior harmony. By correcting depletion and stagnation at earlier stages,
greater problems are avoided in the future.
Sometimes, Western medicine has little to offer for nagging chronic conditions that Chinese
medicine can help. One is not a substitute for the other. They are often complementary.
Whereas Western medicine may heroically rescue us from acute life threatening illness,
Chinese medicine can protect and preserve our day to day health.
In modern China, TCM is taught and practiced alongside Western medicine.
All of the major hospitals have Western and traditional Chinese departments,
Patients are often referred from one department to the other. Thus, Chinese patients
are able to receive the best that each system has to offer, with combined Chinese herbal
and Western drug therapy in serious cases. This has proven to be an extremely successful
approach. Remarkable results have been achieved in such areas as cancer care, recovery from stroke,
arthritis, skin diseases, heart disease, chronic degenerative diseases, post operative care, etc.
At Chi Wellness Longwood Clinic we strive to integrate the most effective TCM therapies with
conventional healthcare, providing you with the best values from both medical systems.
How does Chinese herbal medicine work?
Herbal formulas consist of a combination of herbs . Herbalists prescribe formulas
specifically tailored for the individual patient and the particular medical manifestation
of a condition. Here, Chinese herbal medicine has an advantage over other types of herbal treatments.
Western drugs often control symptoms, but do not alter the disease process
(antibiotics eliminate bacteria but do not improve a person's resistance to
infection; diuretics rid excess fluid without improving kidney function).
Chinese herbs treat the root cause of the underlying condition, as defined by traditional diagnosis,
and rarely cause unwanted side effects.
Herbs assist the Organ Networks in the performance of their tasks. Particular herbs enhance
the capacity of the Heart, to propel the blood and soothe the mind; the Spleen, to manage
digestion and fluid equilibrium; the Lungs, to handle respiration and the body's defenses;
the Liver, to maintain emotional resilience and supple limbs; and the Kidneys, to sustain
sexual and regenerative power. Some herbal formulas address ailments such as colds,
allergies, inflammation or cramps with dramatic and immediate results. Others
fortify the body's reserves over time.
Formulas are available in a variety of forms: raw herbs to be boiled into tea,
bottled liquid extracts, ground herbs packaged in pills and powders. In China,
herbs, more like foods than drugs, can supplement our diet and fortify our constitution as
well as prevent or cure ailments. Sometimes, long-term use of herbs is desirable, whereas
extended use of pharmaceuticals would not be healthy.
What health conditions does Chinese herbal medicine treat?
Among TCM therapies, Chinese herbal medicine is perhaps among the most powerful
methods of healing. In China, herbs are used more widely than acupuncture and massage.
From the vast repertoire of 150,000 formulas, Chinese herbal medicine offers remedies
for most health conditions if not all of them. They have few side effects when
prescribed by qualified practitioners.
How does Chinese herbal medicine differ from other herbal medicine?
Chinese herbs are usually combined in formulas to enhance their properties and actions.
Symptoms and signs are matched with the therapeutic effects of various herbs in the formula,
reflecting the particular symptoms and general health of each patient. For example:
tonic formulas restore eroded body resources; regulating formulas decongest the Chi and Blood,
relieving discomfort; and purging formulas eliminate the impact of adverse climates.
Throughout five thousand years of history, Chinese physicians have discovered how to
reduce the toxicity of raw herbs and enhance their therapeutic effects through processing
and combining multiple herbs in a formula. This makes Chinese herbs much more potent
than other herbs. In contrast, most other herbal medicines use a single herb or only a few herbs.
Generally speaking, Chinese herbs work more slowly than chemical drugs.
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Provider of Acupuncture, Herb, Massage & Tai-Chi in Massachusetts