|The origins of Chinese herbal medicine
in China can be traced back at least five thousand
years, making it one of the oldest and most long-standing
health care systems in the world.
In the intervening millennia, the practice of Chinese
herbal medicine and TCM has developed and matured
to become what it is today - a natural and wholistic
system of primary health care that is being used
by people from a wide range of cultural and social
backgrounds to effectively treat a wide range of
chronic and acute health problems.
Chinese herbal medicine takes an wholistic approach
to understanding normal function and disease processes
and focuses as much on the prevention of illness
as on the treatment.
Most diseases or illnesses present with a core
set of recognisable signs and symptoms, but the
actual presentation of a particular disease or
illness will vary from person to person. For this
reason, people with similar health conditions
may be provided with quite different Chinese herbal
A qualified practitioner is able to prescribe
a Chinese herbal formula that specifically matches
and treats your individual health problem. As
your condition changes and improves with treatment,
the Chinese herbal treatment is also adjusted
and modified until the desired health outcome
Today, there are over 450 substances commonly
used in Chinese herbal medicine - most are of
plant origin though some animal and mineral substances
may also be used. You may find some in your kitchen,
such as ginger, garlic and cinnamon, while others
such as chrysanthemum and peony flowers, are more
likely to be found in your garden! Many of the
substances used will be unfamiliar to you and
have names like chai hu (bupleurum), di huang
(rehmannia), and huang qi (astragalus). Some substances
that were used traditionally are no longer part
of modern professional Chinese herbal medicine
practice. For example, traditional remedies that
are derived from endangered species have been
replaced by other substances with similar actions.
Chinese herbal medicines are prescribed either
singly or made into formulae which take into account
the individual therapeutic action of each herb
and well as the effects when combined together.
A well constructed formula maximises the effectiveness
for treating a particular condition, while counteracting
and minimising the unwanted effects of an individual
In addition to providing effective treatment
for a wide range of health disorders, Chinese
herbal medicine may also be used to assist with
general health maintenance and disease prevention.
By strengthening and enhancing normal body functions,
the immune system is boosted and a general sense
of well-being promoted.