Chinese Herbs



Chinese herbs are often important and powerful adjuncts to acupuncture treatment. And Chinese herbal medicine on its own is a powerful method of healing. Modern (Western) pharmaceutical drugs are usually used to control symptoms but do not alter the disease process. For example: antibiotics kill bacteria but do not improve a person’s resistance to infection; diuretics drain excess fluid from the body but do not improve the kidney function. Chinese herbs can also rid the body of disease but they also nourish and balance the body in very specific ways, thereby improving organ function and building up a person’s constitution and immune system.



bulk herbs


Chinese herbs are traditionally given as a very strong tea. Traditional Chinese Herbal therapy is based on differential diagnosis and proper formula combination. Formula sizes vary from one herb to twenty or more. They are available either in bulk individually tailored prescritions that are taken home and boiled as tea, or custom prepared as a bulk powder which easily mixed up. Often, for convenience or for travel – herbal pills can be used.

KPC is the best - Taiwan 5:1 concentrate

KPC 5:1 powder concentrates – the best!


Asian Herbalists have long sought out special herbs that can be taken as “tonics” – enhancing energy, increasing resistance to disease, and prolonging life. “Adaptogenic” in nature – they are often used eclectically by naturopaths and others in supplement blends – and tend to be marketed well as they can be shown to have scientifically marked properties. However, studies show that Chinese Herbs are much more effective when used according to traditional diagnosis, rather than being chosen by ‘ideas’ of how they can be used for a super-formula. Time-tested remedies, evolved over centuries, seem to digest better and so be better utilized by the inherent wisdom of the biology of the body.


cordyceps - Kidney/Lung yang tonic

cordyceps – Kidney/Lung yang tonic

Although sometimes a good approach – stronger and more concentrated is not always better and can lead to setbacks. And although their can be great value in blending supplements from different times and cultures- often the costly result is less digestable and the effectiveness unclear. I often work in tandom with either a modern conventional approach, or with an eclectic practitioner (perhaps a naturopath or supplement-oriented MD or DC) . In either case its most helpful to have a clear-minded practitioner who is good at what they do,  has a very good rapport with you. and who is open-minded to other possibilities. Integrating Chinese herbal medicine can often be a less costly approach than taking a scattershot bunch of  ‘natural’ supplements that are aimed at reducing lab values that are askew, and also works well to either reduce the need or prevent the side-effects of modern pharmaceutical medication.

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Weighing bulk herb formulas

Weighing bulk herb formulas

In the case of using a bulk formula, we often give the client 3 bags of herbs to last for a one week period. Each bag contains a formula of about 12 or so raw herbs that has been prepared specifically for the patient and his or her condition. The patient then prepares the herbs at home by boiling them in water for about a half an hour. The benefit of this method is that the formula can be customized to the patient’s particular condition. We also may prescribe However, the raw herbs are usually stronger and always more adaptable.

Chinese Herbs are prescribed based on a detailed understanding and application of TCM theory – and secondarily based on a symptomatic approach. A folk (self-prescribed) use of cold remedies and basic patent (pill) remedies is appropriate when one has some understanding about one’s own condition and needs.


tongue diagnosis

Hospitals in China have Chinese Herbal Medical Doctors working as specialists in each of the various departments, side-to-side with their allopathic colleagues in Gynecology, Dermatology, Pediatrics, Internal Medicine, and so on. The most promising students at a TCM hospital in China are usually chosen to be herbalists – as their scope of practice is much more medical and dependent on clear diagnosis than the acupuncturists.

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