Along with the development of acupuncture, the Chinese also developed a complex system of herbal medicine designed to treat almost any complaint. Again, this system has been practiced and honed for thousands of years in the East. In the course of your treatment, Chinese herbal remedies may be prescribed. They may be dispensed as loose herbs or in pills, granules, capsules, or tinctures (liquid preparations).
Herbal Chinese medicines work in a similar fashion to western herbs (like Echinacea or Gingko). They have specific properties and act like drugs in the body. They can calm anxiety, boost the immune system, or reduce PMS. They are prescribed, however, in a fashion that addresses the underlying cause of illness, and not to “cover up” symptoms. Also, they tend to have less side effects than drugs, because the multiple constituents in plants are naturally balanced to create more benefit and less imbalance in our bodies.
In recent years, herbal medicines have become widespread and are available in health food stores, drug stores, and on the Internet. While herbs are promoted as safe, they do have risks involved and potential negative interactions if combined with drugs. This is why it is so important to use herbal medicines under the care of a qualified professional.
Many patients come in with the attitude that they’ve already tried herbs and “they don’t work.” Due to the FDA’s absence from their regulation, it is true that many over the counter herbal formulas do not contain the right dose or form of an herb to be effective. At ALETRIS Center, we go to great lengths to research and choose only products from respectable companies whose formulas stand up to our own guidelines.
Like drugs, however, herbs can come with adverse or allergic reactions. Please alert your practitioner if you are experiencing any new symptoms after starting an herbal formula.