Chinese Herbal Medicine

Traditional Chinese herbal medicine consists of over 5000 substances derived from plant, animal and mineral sources. Many of them may be familiar to you such as ginseng, ginger, fennel, cinnamon, goji berry, licorice, turmeric, hawthorn berry, cardamom, peppermint and many others that gain mainstream popularity every day.

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The use of these substances can be traced back to 1,000 BC. Since that time, an incredibly rich and powerful system of medicine has been created; classical Chinese herbal formulas have been developed that are effective for most health issues. These herbs are available in the form of teas, liquid extracts, tablets, capsules, granules, lotions, creams, salves, powders and poultices.

When prescribed according to an accurate Traditional Chinese medical diagnosis, herbal medicine takes a leading role in restoring health. Herbal formulas naturally support physiological processes, such as digestion, assimilation, elimination, detoxification, respiration, sleep, circulation, reproduction, immunity, and repair, with minimal or no side-effects. Chinese herbs can also help decrease pain.

Are Chinese herbs safe?

One of the most appealing qualities of Chinese herbal medicine is the low risk of adverse reaction or side effects. Most Chinese herbs have a very low toxicity compared to prescription and over-the-counter Western pharmaceuticals. The most commonly reported adverse reaction is temporary minor gastrointestinal upset, which is due to the fibrous nature of the herbs. If you experience any discomfort while taking your herbs, please inform Dawn Balusik so she can modify your formula or dosage.Chinese_herbs_in_jars

Chinese herbs are whole and natural substances. When prescribed according to an accurate Oriental medical diagnosis, they are an incredibly valuable tool to help strengthen and heal the body. Just like any medicine, however, if the herbs are used wrongly, they can make your condition worse. It takes extensive training to understand how to use herbs safely and effectively. Dawn Balusik is one of the few in the area who is a Nationally Certified Diplomat of Chinese Herbology, having proven the required training and mastery of the discipline.

It is very important that you inform Dawn of all pharmaceutical medications, supplements and other herbs you are taking, so she can be sure to avoid any potential interactions.

What about the quality of Chinese herbs?

With all the recent media attention about the low quality of many products coming out of China, it is important to know that Dawn Balusik only dispenses herbs from the most reputable AMERICAN-based Chinese herbal companies. What makes Chinese herbal medicine "Chinese” is not that it is necessarily imported from China, but that the formulas are designed and used according to Traditional Chinese Medical diagnostic and treatment principles. 

The brands that Dawn carries follow strict cGMP guidelines, are free of any endangered species, undergo 3rd party testing for purity and accuracy, and provide Certificates of Analysis for all of their products. Dawn's on-site herbal pharmacy is also primarily vegetarian.

How does Chinese herbal medicine differ from Western herbal medicine?

Single substances are rarely prescribed in Oriental medicine. Unlike Western herbal medicine, which tends to use just 1 or 2 herbs to treat a specific symptom, a Chinese herbal formula may have as many as 20 different herbs. These sophisticated and balanced combinations are carefully selected to work synergistically to enhance the therapeutic effects, and reduce any potential side-effects that might happen with single herbs. You can think of Chinese herbal formulas like a symphony, where each herb contributes a specific performance that is essential to the effectiveness of the whole.

Chinese_herbal_capsulesWhile Western herbal medicine treats on the basis of symptoms alone, Chinese herbal formulas are tailored to treat the specific Oriental medical diagnosis of the individual person, not just symptoms. This is why, for example, the Chinese herbs that your friend needs for her headache may not be the same ones that you need for your headache. The causes of your two headaches could be completely different. So, the herbal prescription depends upon your individual Chinese medicine diagnosis, not your symptom. This is why it is very important to get your Chinese herbs from a trained Doctor of Oriental Medicine.

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