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CHINESE HERBAL MEDICINE

West Kelowna Herbal Medicine

CHINESE HERBAL MEDICINE 中草药 

Chinese herbal medicine (zhōng yào xué 中草药) has been used for thousands of years to treat dis-ease and stay healthy throughout the seasons. Chinese herbs are used within a formula consisting of 4 to 12 herbs, each with different properties to create a synergy which potentiates the effects of each herb, while mitigating potential side effects. Classical formulas which are thousands of years old are still used today for their potent yet well-balanced effects. The synergy created in these formulas can be thought of as a symphony orchestra which is composed of wind, string, brass and percussion instruments. Individually played these instruments are beautiful, but when guided by a skillful conductor to play specific melodies and harmonies together, the effect is physically and emotionally transformative. Musical vibrations were utilized as medicine in ancient China, even before plant medicines. The traditional Chinese character for medicine 藥 (yào) is composed of the character for music 樂 (yuè) with the radical for grass or plant 艹 (cǎo) ontop. Like music, plant medicine carries a vibration for the body to co-resonate with to restore physical, mental and emotional harmony.   

 

Chinese herbs are viewed according to their taste, temperature, movements, and how they influence the qì (氣), Blood (xuè 血), Body Fluids (jīn yè 津液), yīn (阴) and yáng (阳) of the body, and any pathological influences afflicting the body. Most commonly these herbs include leaves, twigs, flowers, roots, barks, seeds, and mushrooms. Chinese herbal formulas address the underlying pattern or root cause of disease, therefore two people with the same complaint may be given different formulas, while two people with different complaints may be given the same formula. Chinese herbal medicine may be utilized to address a wide range of concerns such as the common cold, respiratory complaints, digestive complaints, stress, fatigue, gynecological disorders, andrological disorders, dermatological conditions, emotional unease, physical trauma, disorders of the sensory organs, sleep related issues, and more. 

 

Today we know that plant medicines powerfully modify human biochemistry. The modern pharmaceutical industry often extracts active chemical constituents from herbs, such as ephedra used in Ephedrine to treat asthma, which is extracted from the Chinese herb Má Huáng 麻黄. However, this leaves behind the other chemicals within the plant, thereby changing the therapeutic effect of the plant according to traditional medicines. Essentially, the plants natural intelligence has been disrupted. Chinese medicine utilizes the whole plant because, as it is said, the whole is greater than the sum of its parts.

West Kelowna Chinese Medicine

Herbs in my practice

In my practice, herbal medicines are administered by way of herbal granules. Simply scoop the prescribed dosage out of your bag, mix into warm water, and drink as a tea. Sometimes patent pills may be prescribed.

While Chinese herbal medicine is a wonderful accompaniment on a healing journey, it must be recognized that these are gifts from the earth and overharvesting is a serious concern. The rise in popularity of Chinese herbal medicine could lead to overharvesting, soil depletion, and subsequent deterioration of the habitat which is the home to many animals. In my practice, I am committed to ordering herbs from suppliers which recognize the need to preserve the environment, and rigorously test their herbs for heavy metals, pesticides, sulfur dioxide, aflatoxins, and aristolochic acid. I do not prescribe, or seriously limit the prescription of herbs which are on the endangered plant and animal list.

West Kelowna Chinese Herbs

herbs and medication

When prescribed by a trained Chinese herbalist and taken under close supervision, herbs are very safe. However, it is possible to have adverse reactions, or herb-drug interactions. To avoid this, please inform me of any allergies you have or any prescription or over-the-counter medications you are taking. If you are concerned about how you will react to herbal medicine, we will begin with a smaller dose so you can see how your body responds before increasing to a full dosage. 

If you are on several medications, or specific medications, herbs may be contraindicated. New medications frequently arise on the market. If you are on a medication I am unfamiliar with, I will never hesitate to ask for more time to research this medication and its herb-drug interactions before prescribing you herbal medicine. Your safety and wellbeing is my top concern. It is not recommended to take herbs based on the advice of an untrained herbalist.