Chinese Herbal Medicine is a natural therapeutic modality that has evolved over 5000 years of practical application and study. In practice, herbal medicine can be a very powerful modality for treating or enhancing the treatment of almost any condition. Chinese herbs are usually combined together in order to create a formula rather than using one single herb. By combining herbs, the patient's whole constitution can be treated to promote overall health and not just the patient's chief complaint.
Chinese Herbal prescriptions can come in different forms such as raw, granule, powder, pill, or liquid extract. Raw herbs are the most potent and modifiable method of prescription. This method uses the unprocessed form of the herb be cooked into herbal teas or sometimes mixed into meals. ACI Clinic has a full raw herbal apothecary on site. Granules and powders are a more processed form of the herb and are easier to prepare than raw, as they do not need to be cooked. These two forms are not quite as potent as raw herbs, but can still be highly effective. The "easiest" method to take is pill, or "patent" formulas. Patent formulas can be prescribed and utilized, however, they are not modifiable or as potent as either raw, powder or granule form. Patent formulas are very useful in many situations such as common colds, allergies, or injuries. Liquid extract is another method of herbal preparation that can be utilized. Extract preparations are often made with alcohol. These potent formulas can have a pronounced effect on pain and increasing the level of Qi in the body.
When combining Chinese herbs, there is a common method in order to create a balanced formula for the patient. This method divides herbs into a "hierarchy," indicating the amount and purpose for an individual herb's purpose within a formula. The hierarchy divides herbs into "Chief/King", "Deputy", "Assistant", and "Envoy". The chief herb in the formula is the herb in which the formula is based on. Its focus is to treat the main condition of the patient. The deputy herbs in a formula are directed either to aid the chief herb or to help treat secondary conditions in which the patient is being seen for. The assistant herbs in the formula are used to decrease side effects and enhance the function of the chief and deputy herbs. The envoy can almost be seen as a catalyst and is the guide that triggers the rest of the formula to go where it needs to go or how it needs to be assimilated within the body. When this hierarchy of herbs is put into effect, a very harmonious formula is created uniquely, and targeted at each patient's specific needs.
One of the great advantages of Chinese herbal medicine is the power to have each formula completely modified and directed at each patient's specific needs and conditions. Often, several pharmaceutical prescriptions addressing each of a patient's conditions is given, however, in Chinese Medicine, the patient may only be prescribed one Chinese formula that covers all of the conditions at once. This subtle difference is what makes Chinese medicine unique unto itself. By diagnosing each patient into a constitutional pattern rather than separate conditions, a patient can be treated holistically. To learn more about how Chinese medicine may be applied to your current health care needs please contact Acupuncture Chiropractic Integrative Clinic today!
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