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Herbal Medicine


Herbal medicine has a rich history in China. The Divine Farmer's Classic of Materia Medica is the earliest surviving herbal text in the Chinese tradition. It dates from the Eastern Han Dynasty, around 100-200 CE, and categorizes 365 substances according to their medicinal properties. This foundational text set the stage for the creation of a highly refined system of diagnosis and herbal prescription. Without double blind research studies to guide their practice, ancient doctors drew on the recorded successes and failures of their predecessors. Many of our herbal substances have been rigorously tested by modern research. Ginseng, cinnamon, turmeric, astragalus, and reishi are among the darlings of our era. However, many other potent medical substances are less known to modern science.
If you are new to this practice, here are a few interesting things to know. Chinese herbal medicine is distinct from Western practice. Herbs are always used in combinations, rather than individually. Mahuang (ephedra) is an excellent example. This substance has been banned because it is dangerous when used incorrectly. However, in combination with other herbs, we can create a safe and highly effective medicine for quickly clearing serious respiratory infections. For chronic disease, symptoms will be addressed, but a classical herbalist prescribes formulas to correct systemic imbalances. The symptoms will disappear once the root cause is resolved. Chinese herbs have historically been used to treat everything from epidemics and bone fractures to complex chronic disease and mental illness.

I prescribe herbs in several forms. If you have an acute illness, such as a respiratory infection that seems to be turning toward pneumonia, you may be offered dried herbs for their potency and quick acting effect. These are simmered in water to make a strong tea. For most conditions, I will assemble a custom blend of powdered herbs that are simply stirred into hot water. These are easy to integrate into a busy lifestyle. I also have a small selection of formulas in capsules.

If you're seeking herbal treatment without acupuncture, I offer 30 minute Herbs Only appointments for a reduced fee. Contact me for more information.

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