Traditional Chinese herbs work synergistically with acupuncture and have been used as an integral and safe part of traditional Chinese medicine for over 5000 years. Traditional Chinese herbs substantially aid in the restoration and maintenance of balance in the body. Herbal formulas are made from natural substances such as plants, flowers, minerals and animal products and are the precursors to Western pharmaceuticals.
Traditional Chinese herbs rarely elicit side effects when correctly prescribed by a trained traditional Chinese herbalist and have been proven safe and effective during thousands of years of use. They are highly specific in their actions and traditional Chinese herbal formulas contain a range of herbs that possess different qualities and properties which can target specific areas of disharmony in the patient. These traditional Chinese herbal formulas are specifically customized for the individual needs of each patient.
Traditional Chinese herbs are extremely safe and have no side effects when correctly prescribed by a licensed herbalist. If a side effect such as digestive discomfort should occur, the formula can be modified so that there are no side effects. The most regularly used Chinese herbs have a very low toxicity compared to even common, over-the-counter Western drugs.
Once your individualized diagnosis has been determined, a specific traditional Chinese formula is written for you. This traditional Chinese formula of herbs is commonly based on a classical formula that has been used for hundreds, if not thousands, of years. As with acupuncture, herbs can be very specifically tailored to the individual. For example, a classical Chinese formula that is commonly used for patients with low back pain will be individualized with the addition of specific herbs for the patient’s low energy, ulcers, and sleeping problems.
The most effective method for ingesting a Chinese formula is as a decoction. In a decoction, Chinese herbs are boiled in water to make a tea, then the ingredients are strained and the tea is drunk 2-3 times per day. For those people without the time to cook their herbs, some traditional Chinese herbal formulas come in pill form, and some come in powdered form in which the raw herbs are ground up and mixed with water and drunk. Liquid tinctures are also available for certain formulas.
1. Each packet of raw herbs is equivalent to 2 day’s dosage.
2. Empty 1 packet of raw herbs into 6 cups of boiling water.
3. Simmer with no lid for approximately 45 minutes until only about 3 cups of water are left in the pot.
4. Strain the 3 cups of tea from the herbs.
5. Keep the herbs to be used in the same way the 2nd day.
6. Divide the 3 cups of tea into two 1.5 cup doses.
7. Drink one dose in the morning and one dose in the evening. Refrigerate the evening dose.
• Before drinking, warm any tea that has been refrigerated. Pouring cold liquids into the stomach makes the digestive system sluggish.
• It is better to drink Chinese herbal teas without food, but it is ok to eat with food if that is necessary.
• Please inform your Chinese Medicine practitioner if you experience any digestive discomfort from drinking the tea.
Chinese medicine views food as medicine. This recipe for Chinese congee is a simple one for cooking up some comforting, restorative porridge.