What is Chinese Herbal Medicine?
Herbal Medicine is an important part of Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM), also called Traditional East Asian Medicine (TEAM), and can be used alone or in combination with acupuncture. The herbs in Naperville that we prescribe include plant, mineral, and animal materials. Most of our most commonly used 360 herbs are plant matter.
How is Chinese Herbal Medicine taken?
Typically herbs are prescribed in combinations called formulas. They come in several forms including tinctures, tablets, capsules, granules or powders mixed with hot water, and raw form that are cooked into a tea. Because we customize each formula to each patient, the majority of formulas we prescribe are granules similar in concept to instant coffee. These are mixed with hot water and then consumed as a tea. They are easy to use and are stronger in efficacy than pills, or capsules. Formulas can be custom-made to be vegetarian. We remind our patients that the herbs are medicine, and not a beverage, although many patients report liking the taste, there can be strong flavors.
Where do you get your herbs?
Here in the West, we have many sources for quality herbs that are governed by Good Manufacturing Practices. At Energy Flow Acupuncture & Wellness Center in Naperville, we prescribe herbal medicines that undergo rigorous quality, safety and authenticity testing. I only use suppliers that attest to these standards.
Is Chinese Medicine safe?
Herbal Medicine is safe when prescribed by a healthcare practitioner who has received specific training in Chinese or East Asian Herbs and Herbal Medicine. Not all acupuncturists are trained in herbs. Look for a Chinese Herbal Doctor who is Board Certified in Chinese Herbology by the National Certification Commission for Acupuncture and Oriental Medicine (NCCAOM). As a Board Certified Chinese Herbalist in Naperville, Amy studied for nearly 4 years with Medical Doctors from China who had intimate knowledge of Chinese herbs that they passed on while at the Midwest Oriental Medicine College here. After passing her Board Exams, in order to keep her Board Certification, Amy recertifies every four years by continuing her education in the subjects of Acupuncture and Chinese Herbal Medicine. While some medications may interfere with the efficacy of herbs, or herbs may interfere with the efficacy of some medications, for the majority of medications they are safe to take concurrently. Your herbalist may recommend a different time to take them or may advise against herbs based on your medications. Also, through our training, we fit a prescription to the person’s overall health picture. This medicine is not one size fits all! Having a pharmacy of individual herbs allows us to adjust ingredients and dosages suitable to each patient.
How long do I need to take my herbs?
This truly depends on what your goals are and your overall health picture. Some formulas are taken for as little as 2 days, while some may require taking some amount over many months. Furthermore, Chinese herbs work in stages, that is, they address your health in layers. First, the most recent or acute symptoms are treated, and then the underlying chronic long-term imbalances are addressed through stages of herbal therapy.
What can you treat with Chinese Herbal Medicine?
We treat everything from the common cold and flu and other viruses, to fatigue, digestive problems, menstrual disorders, menopausal syndrome, fertility challenges, issues during pregnancy and postpartum, anxiety, etc. The list goes on. This is because we are treating the person, and each person has unique imbalances that arise in symptoms or sometimes just in signs that the practitioner is trained to observe and diagnose. This system of medicine is wonderful for maintaining overall wellness and preventing illness as well because of the herbalist’s ability to diagnose the patient’s internal health status.
How do Chinese Herbs work?
Herbs each possess specific expertise, but formulas possess the miraculous employ of a team.
– Xu Lingtai 徐靈胎, Qing dynasty.
Chinese herbs work by their unique properties that include taste, energetic temperature, affinities in the body, and more. Herbalists study the properties of hundreds of herbs as well as formulas that have been used for hundreds or thousands of years. Classical Herbal medicine is the style practiced by Amy Rieselman, the board-certified herbalist at Energy Flow Acupuncture, and this entails the use of formulas written around the year 200 AD that have been used by doctors ever since! Herbal medicine principles are based on the laws of nature and how those laws apply to and operate within the human organism. This makes this system always relevant and never outdated when properly interpreted and applied.
The way our herbalist, Amy, determines an appropriate herbal treatment, is by asking questions pertaining to all of your bodily functions and your symptoms, and then she analyzes your pulses. Together, this information allows her to formulate your herbs based on time-tested formulas, and customized and modified as needed.
Over the millennia, herbal doctors were close to the land and relied on the land around them to provide medicine for their communities. They learned from their teachers and passed on their knowledge to each new generation. While it takes years to study how to use and prescribe herbs, one can easily understand that each plant, and each part of a plant, has chemical compounds. Each herb, which may be a root, leaves, stems, fruits, or minerals (very rarely insects or arthropods), has affinities for different systems in the body, and characteristics that when in combination with other herbs, can create a healing synergy. An herb may make the blood flow more easily, expel or transform phlegm, or encourage a certain movement in the body to release blocks or to nourish deficiencies. It is a complex and beautiful aspect of how our natural world supports us with all we need. We just need to continue to preserve this knowledge for future generations.
Curious if Chinese Herbal Medicine can help you? We’d love to talk – just give us a call or text at 630-335-1069, or email [email protected].