What is Chinese herbal medicine?
Chinese herbal medicine, along with acupuncture is the major therapy of Chinese Medicine which has been registered under the national registration and accreditation scheme with the Chinese Medicine Board of Australia since 1 July 2012.
Chinese herbal medicine is the longest existing continuous healthcare system originated in ancient China and has developed over thousands of years. This unique system holds a holistic view on the body, person and environment; and emphases on disease prevention and healthcare.
Since the Sixties, more and more scientific research on Chinese herbal medicine has been undertaking in China and other countries. Although many works need to be done before we can clearly understand the mechanisms of Chinese herbal medicine, there is a growing body of evidence suggesting that Chinese herbal medicine is safe and effective for healthcare and management of many illnesses.
What substances are used in Chinese herbal medicine?
There are over 10 thousand Chinese herbal medicines, but commonly-used one are about 400 substances. Most of them are plants, although some mineral and animal substances may also be used. You may find some in your kitchen such as ginger, garlic and cinnamon; while some others such as dandelion, chrysanthemum and peony flowers are more likely to be found in your garden.
In our Cancare Clinic, Chinese herbal medicine is usually provided as raw herbs, granules, powders, capsules or pills for oral use. We also provide with external use with herbal oils, creams or herbs for bath. Our practitioner will discuss with you these different herbal forms and will consider your condition in determining the best options according to your needs.
How is Chinese herbal medicine prescribed?
On the basis of holistic view and individualized management of Chinese medicine, Chinese herbal medicine is often prescribed as a formulation which is combined with some individual herbs, and the prescription may be modified after consultation. Chinese herbal medicine formulation is also designed to enhance and broad the Chinese herbal medicine therapeutic actions.
A well-designed prescription basically contains primary herbs which target the cause of illness and chief symptoms, while the secondary herbs are to strengthen the actions of the primary herbs, manage other symptoms or minimize the potential adverse effects of an individual herb.
What conditions are commonly treated by Chinese herbal medicine?
We have primary experience on managing the following conditions:
Supportive care of cancers including breast cancer, prostate cancer, bowel cancer, lung cancer, melanoma etc.
Immune disorders: asthma, ulcerative colitis, Crohn's disease, rheumatoid arthritis, multiple sclerosis etc.
Mental and neurological disorders: such as attention deficit/hyperactivity disorder (ADHD), depression, anxiety, insomnia, tension headache, migraine, chronic fatigue syndrome etc.
Skin conditions: eczema, chronic urticaria (hives), psoriasis, neurodermatitis etc.
Women health: premenstrual syndrome, period pain, menopause, chronic urinary tract infection, urinary incontinence etc.
Others: overweight and obesity
What’s the health risk probably associated with Chinese herbal medicine?
Occasionally Chinese herbal medicine may cause some mild adverse effects, such as stomach upset, bowel changes or skin rashes. These largely depend on the different individuals, and can be eliminated after some ingredients of the prescription are modified. We have not used any toxic or poisoning herbs in the prescriptions according to “Standard for the Uniform Scheduling of Drugs and Poisons” (Chinese Medicine Board of Australia, 2012).
The taste and smell of Chinese herbal medicine from decoction and granule-made tea may be unpleasant as they keep original nature. If you are intolerant of such taste and smell, we can make your herbs into capsules or change to pills for you.
We only use Chinese herbal medicine from suppliers who regularly batch test and monitor heavy metal and pesticide residues for quality control. No endangered animal or herbal products are ever used in any prescriptions from our clinic.
It is important that you let us know if you are taking any medications including pharmaceutical drugs, other herbal substances or supplements. This is to avoid any potential adverse interaction or repeating with the herbal ingredients in our prescription. If it is really necessary, we can provide a written report with the details of the herbs used and the key scientific evidence (laboratory and/or clinical research) to explain why to use these herbs and how it can work on your condition.
Note: This information is NOT intended to replace medical advice. Any questions regarding a medical diagnosis or treatment should be directed to a medical or health care practitioner.