acupuncture was the first Chinese method of treatment to gain wide
acceptance in the West, Chinese herbal medicine is quickly establishing
itself as one of the most popular and effective alternative therapies
in the West. In fact, the science of herbs is central to Chinese
medicine. During the last two millennia, many more books have been
devoted to herbology than to acupuncture. And while Chinese physicians
tend to practice both medical tecgniques, physicians who practice
only with herbs are more numerous than those who practice only with
acupuncture in China.
folk herbalism usually focuses on one symptom or disease at a time
and use a single herb or groups of herbs for treatment.
herbal medicine may include vegetable, animal, and mineral ingredients,
however, the majority of ingredients are from vegetable sources.
Leaves, flowers, twigs, stems, roots, tubers, rhizomes, and bark
are among the parts of the vegetable used.
herbalist, after distinguishing a particular pattern of disharmony
in a patient, usually chooses a prescription from a repertoire of
some 500 common classical prescriptions that can rebalance various
disharmonies. These prescriptions are learned from the great clinical
manuals that exist alongside the pharmacopoeias. Thus, the physician
is armed with knowledge that has been tested
over the past centuries of Chinese medical history. Herbs are seldom
used singly;they are usually combined in prescriptions containing
five to fifteen substances.
most common method of taking Chinese herbal medicine is drinking
a liquid, prepared by boiling the selected herbs. There are also
herbal pills, tinctures, and powdered extracts for those who do
not have the time or taste for drinking the more traditional liquid