These days more and more people today are looking for safe and natural ways to be as healthy as possible.
Many choose to try other options before taking prescription medications to lower their blood pressure or alleviate their depression.
And a greater number of people are turning to the world of plants and herbal medicine as a realistic alternative or complement to the advice of their Western practitioner.
Certainly the use of herbal preparations is becoming more popular and easier to implement.
You can walk into your local grocery store and find ginseng to boost your energy, ginger to settle your stomach, and ginko to improve your memory.
Before you decide on using herbal remedies, there are some facts to consider…
Chinese Herbal Remedies
It is interesting that many of the herbal remedies we use today have been in use for thousands of years as a key component of Chinese medicine. While most of us think of acupuncture when we talk about Chinese medicine, herbal therapy is as important and effective a healing tool as acupuncture.
If you’re thinking about taking Chinese herbs, here are a few things you should know about how they work.
Each Chinese herb has a temperature based on its energetic effect on your body.
This means that herbs can warm you up or cool you off. You might want a warm herb if you have arthritis that is worse in the cold weather.
In contrast, you may want cooling herbs if you’re struggling with hot flashes. Some examples are ginger, which is considered a warming herb; and mint, which is considered to be cooling.
Beyond temperature, every herb also has an action.
There are herbs that nourish, move stagnation, clear heat, calm, drain dampness, and astringe or hold things in.
If you were retaining water, you might want an herb with draining properties. However, if you were completely run down and fatigued, you might need an herb that is nourishing.
As consumers, we tend to choose herbs based on what we have heard or read that they can do for us.
For example, if you’re having a few memory lapses, you might reach for some ginko.
However, in Chinese medicine herbs are prescribed only after a thorough consultation.
Chinese herbs are almost always combined in formulas to achieve specific actions. The herbal formula prescribed for you would be based on your unique signs, symptoms, and diagnosis.
Formulas are created because usually no single herb has all the desired actions.
Several herbs are combined in a formula to augment or offset the actions of the other herbs. For example, two herbs might be combined for maximum effect, or if a very warm herb is used in a formula, a smaller amount of a cooler herb might be used to balance out the warming effects of the first.
In many cases, Chinese formulas are not taken long term.
Frequently, a formula might only be taken for a week or so, then reevaluated and modified for maximum effect.
In general, nourishing formulas generally are taken longer than most others, because it takes longer build up a patient who is depleted. Otherwise, formulas tend to be taken for a few weeks until the underlying problem has been resolved.
Chinese herbs can be taken in several forms.
The most popular are raw herbs that are boiled into a tea, powered herbs that dissolve in hot water, and pills or capsules.
Raw herbs boiled into a tea tend to be the most effective way to take a formula, but the taste can be too strong, so many people choose pills or capsules instead.
Chinese Medicinal Herbs… Are They Safe to Use?
Recent events in China may lead you to question the safety and quality of their herbs.
However, there are many reputable herbal companies selling Chinese herbs and herbal formulas in the United States.
Look for GMP (Good Manufacturing Practices) on the label.
In addition, the better herbal companies test their herbs several times for quality, potency, and to make sure there are no contaminants or preservatives. Be sure to ask whoever is dispensing or selling you herbs about the herbal company’s manufacturing practices.