Herbal medicine is the main modality of treatment within Traditional Chinese Medicine. Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM) is the world’s oldest , continually practiced, professional medicine. It’s written history stretches back not less than 2,500 years, and it’s practice is undoubtedly much older than that. Acupuncture was the first Chinese medical modality to gain wide acceptance in the West, and Chinese herbal medicine is quickly establishing itself as one of the most popular and effective medical therapies in the West.
Chinese herbs may be dispensed as raw herbs or in pills, capsules, granules, or tinctures which make them easier to ingest. Most herb formula can treat a wide variety of symptoms while stimulating the body’s natural healing process.
In California, acupuncturists are the only licensed health care professionals who are required to be trained and tested for competency in prescribing herbal medicine, California-approved acupuncture schools offer a minimum of 450 classroom hours of instruction in traditional Oriental herbology in addition to clinical training. Chinese herbal medicine has been practiced safely and effectively for centuries and has the greatest potential for beneficial results when prescribed by a trained professional who recognized the benefits and risks.
In recent years, herbs have become very popular to self-treat many conditions. They are available in health food stores, supermarkets and on the Internet. While herbs are promoted as safe, inexpensive ‘natural” alternatives to pharmaceutical drugs, many health care professionals have concerns about safety, effectiveness and potential misuse of herbal products, especially when self-prescribed. There are also question of purity, strength and standardization of herbs.
The California Acupuncture Board strongly recommends consulting an acupuncturist before beginning and herbal therapy. Also, It is very important to inform both your physician and acupuncturist of all the products you are currently taking (drugs, herbs, other supplements) so they can monitor effectiveness, ensure safety from adverse reactions and watch for possible interactions. If you have an allergic reaction to any herbs, let your acupuncturist know.