Chinese herbal medicine is another treatment modality of Traditional Chinese Medicine. Dr. Dawn Potter prescribes natural herbs from her on-site and her online herbal pharmacies. Herbs can be used alone or combined with acupuncture for enhanced healing.
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, ginko, licorice, turmeric, hawthorn berry, cardamom, peppermint and others that gain mainstream popularity every day.
The use of these substances can be traced back to 1,000 BC. Over the millennia, a 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/soups, 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, absorption, elimination, detoxification, respiration, sleep, circulation, reproduction, immunity, and repair, with minimal or no side-effects, as long as they are prescribed correctly. Chinese herbs can also help decrease pain and inflammation, and encourage faster healing of injured tissues.
Are Chinese herbs safe?
One of the most appealing qualities of Chinese herbal medicine is the low risk of adverse reactions 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 usually due to the fibrous nature of the herbs. If you experience any discomfort while taking your herbs, please inform Dr. Dawn Potter, so she can modify your formula or dosage.
When prescribed according to an accurate Chinese medical diagnosis, they are valuable tools to help strengthen and heal the body. Just like any medicine, however, if the herbs are used incorrectly, they can make your condition worse. It takes extensive training to understand how to use herbs safely and effectively.
Also, it is important that you inform Dr. Dawn of all pharmaceutical medications, supplements and other herbs you are taking, to avoid any potential interactions.
What about the quality of Chinese herbs?
Due to concern about the quality of many products coming out of China, Dawn Potter 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 Dr. 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 do Chinese herbs differ from Western herbs?
Single substances are rarely prescribed in Traditional Chinese 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 combinations are carefully selected to work synergistically to enhance the therapeutic effects, and to reduce any potential side-effects that may happen with single herbs. You can think of a Chinese herbal formula like a symphony, where each herb contributes a specific performance that is essential to the effectiveness of the whole.
Also, Western herbal medicine usually treats on the basis of symptoms alone. In contrast, Chinese herbal formulas are tailored to treat the specific Chinese medical diagnosis of the individual, 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 yours. The causes of the two headaches could be completely different, requiring different herbal approaches. This is why it is important to get your Chinese herbs from a trained Chinese herbalist or Doctor of Oriental Medicine (aka. Traditional Chinese Medicine.)