Herbology is a branch of science that deals with the therapeutic qualities of herbs. It is the oldest form of healing known to man and is one of the most important aspects of Traditional Chinese Medicine. Chinese Herbology aims to build and strengthen the body’s immune system’s response to fight disease.
Herbs, derived from plants, produce chemicals that interact with our bodies. Natural herbs are found in plant roots, bark, flowers, seeds, fruits, leaves and branches. They act as nutrients to allow organs and tissues to restore normal functionality. There are over 3000 different types of herbs that can be used in the healing process, though only 300-500 are commonly used. They are usually taken internally in the form of pills, powders, extracts, tablets, capsules and syrups. They can also be externally applied as a liniment, poultice, plaster or ointment.
Herbal therapy can be delivered through patented herbs that are 100% natural and chemical free. They are often dispensed in a premixed formula. Some Herbalists use herbs which will be mixed at the time of treatment. In either case, the herbs are selected to suit the particular patient’s needs. It is best to consult with an Herbalist who can guide you through the beneficial and harmful attributes of specific herbs.
In the United States Oriental Medicine practitioners prescribe herbs that have been imported under the strict supervision of US Customers, US Food and Drug Administration and US Department of Agriculture.
Chinese Herbalist practitioners classify herbs by their different natures such as cold or cooling, hot or warming. Herbs are also classified by flavors which are indicated for the treatment of specific organs: sour, bitter, sweet, spicy, and salty. Each of the flavors produces a specific physiological effect. Sour flavor is cooling and refreshing. It produces contraction of tissues, therefore it could help to control diarrhea. The nature of bitter herbs is cooling, detoxifying, anti-biotic, anti-inflammatory and anti-parasitical. Sweet flavor is warming, soothing, and nourishing. Spicy flavor (or pungent) are warming, drying and stimulating of circulation, digestion, etc. The salty flavor is cooling and moistening due to its nature of maintaining the balance of fluids. Herbs are classified by direction as well. Herbal substances are closely related to the five flavors and the four seasons. Summer relates to floating, fall relates to descending, winter is sinking and spring is ascending. Leaves and flowers, for example, are light weight; therefore they float or ascend, making them good for the treatment of acute and surface diseases, like colds, flu, and inflammation. The heavier herbs like roots, barks, and seeds descend or sink; therefore they are effective to treat deeper and chronic diseases.
Herbal therapy addresses acute and chronic conditions. Herbs are also very effective for general health maintenance, such as improving energy and slowing the aging process. The use of herbs as part of the treatment for illness is safer and gentler than the use of pharmaceuticals. Because herbs are made from natural vegetation, there are rarely any side effects and can even be taken to reduce side effects from chemical treatments, such as chemotherapy.
Chinese Herbology works alongside acupuncture treatment. There are many, many therapeutic uses for herbs. Some therapeutic uses:
- Heart problems
- Kidney Failure
- Gastrointestinal disorders
- Sleep disorders
- Dermatological conditions
- Prostate/Urinary Tract
- Irritable Bowel Syndrome
- Neurological disorders
- Respiratory disorders
- Menstrual/Menopause disorders
- High Cholesterol
- High Blood Pressure
- Eye disorders
- Gall Bladder disease
- Immune System
- Partial Paralysis
*Caution: Occasionally herbal therapy may be contra-indicated with some pharmaceuticals and conditions. Speak with your Acupuncturist and your Medical Physician if you are taking other drugs.