Chinese Herbal Medicine

Chinese Herbal Medicine

Chinese herbal medicine has developed over at least two thousand years. Accumulated clinical experience has concluded that an herbal formula… (i.e., strategically combining a group of herbs) works far more effective than a single herb for therapeutic outcome. The use of natural herbal formulas is to restore and maintain balance and harmony within the body.

Chinese herbal medicine has very little or no toxicity when even compared to commonly used over-the-counter Western pharmaceuticals. When administered by well-trained and certified practitioners, Chinese herbal medicine is considered very safe with no side effects. Occasionally, mild adverse reactions - such as gastrointestinal problems or skin rash - may occur in people with a highly sensitive constitution or a digestive system. Those reactions often can be minimized or eliminated by modifying the formula to fit the individual's case.

Very often people take the patent form (i.e., pre-made herbal formula(s) in pills, powder, or capsules form) of herbal formula for convenience and for avoidance of the "bad" taste in a tincture (or liquid) form. However, in general, tincture has a faster action than the patent form, especially when applied to an acute condition.

Like in the selection of a set of acupuncture points, appropriate herbal formula(s) will be selected after a careful differentiation of a disorder syndrome. It is quite often that the formula(s) need to be modified according to the change of the stage of a disease condition. The combination of acupuncture and herbal therapy provides the most effective therapeutic results.

Q: How do I know if a practitioner is professionally trained for Chinese herbal medicine?

Practitioners who are board certified by the National Certification Commission for Acupuncture and Oriental Medicine (NCCAOM) for Chinese Herbology are entitled to add the newer Dipl.O.M. (Diplomate of Oriental Medicine) after their name or L.Ac. (Licensed Acupuncturist) title. (It needs noted that the Dipl.O.M. credential supercedes and encompasses the older Dipl.C.H. certification which was issued previously.) However, in some states (such as New Mexico), this competency in Chinese Herbology is assumed in the title of D.O.M. (Doctor of Oriental Medicine) or O.M.D. (Oriental Medicine Doctor).