Traditional Chinese Medicine, Part III
Chinese medicinal herbs is the most dominant branch of medicine in China and throughout Asia, while Acupuncture is best know in the West.
In fact, you could try an experiment, as I have, and when you make a new friend from Asia, ask them if they have ever tried acupuncture or Chinese herbs. Most will say no to the first and I bet you almost all will say yes to having used herbal medicine.
Unlike Western pharmaceutical drugs that rely on a single biologically active ingredient to produce a specific physiological effect, Chinese herbal formulas are designed as a sophisticated blend of effects and properties that are individually formulated with a specific patient in mind.
With an eye toward creating homeostasis in the patient, the practitioner of medicinal herbs balances such considerations as relative strength or weakness of the pathogen present, the constitutional strength of the patient, the patients gender, climactic factors (such as sensations of heat or cold), and the quality of the pulse and tongue.
So, while pharmaceutical drugs often treat a symptom without treating the pathological process underlying the health condition (e.g. diuretics rid the body of excess fluid, yet do not improve kidney function), and can aggravate the condition or cause further side effects (e.g. yeast infections often follow the administration of antibiotics), Chinese Herbalism’s goal is to blend the herbs in such a way so as to counteract negative side effects and enhance the intended results.
Chinese medicinal herbs address the underlying cause of the traditional diagnosis and when used properly rarely cause disagreeable consequences.
Within the typical household in China herbs are as fundamental as rice or potatoes in the kitchen–a vital part of everyday life.
Now that you have learned about Chinese Medicinal Herbs, continue on to Introduction to Chinese Medicine, Part IV: Acupressure History
Return to Introduction to Traditional Chinese Medicine, Part II: Acupuncture and History