Knowing about TCM

How is a Chinese herbal medicine prescription constructed by a practitioner?

A: Based on the overall symptoms a patient has, which includes the state of illness, the patient’s sex, age, and constitution, occurring season of the disease and circumstances, the physician begins with the guidelines as delineated in classical texts to form a basic prescription and then adjusts the mixture to the patients needs by adding or deleting various herbs, or manipulating the dosages of the compounds to fit the precise disharmony. Such a prescription usually contains 5-15 substances and the dosages average 3-15 grams per herb.

What is it used to treat?

A: Most conditions apart from those requiring immediate western medicine intervention and serious degenerative disease although it can be used to subsidise and complement Western treatment, enhancing the patient’s quality of life. Acupuncture clinics tend to treat chronic ailments for which there is no conventional cure, such as migraine, chronic muscle and joint pain, asthma & allergies, IBS and other digestive system problems, PMS and menopausal issues and other gynecological problems, but the therapy can also be used to treat acute conditions such as flu and colds and other viral or bacterial infections.

How much treatment do I need?

A: This depends on how long you’ve had the problem, how ‘deep’ or serious the problem is, and on age and constitution. A muscle problem such as tennis elbow may only need one or two sessions but if it’s been with you for months it will be harder to tackle because more muscles will probably become involved. An illness such as ME or Rheumatoid Arthritis will require long term treatment because many different aspects of the functioning of the body have become involved – the illness is much more complex.

Who can take Chinese medicine?

A: Chinese Herbs can be taken by all age groups from young babies to the elderly, though you must notify your practitioner if you are also taking other medicines, suffer from allergies, other conditions or are pregnant as this may effect your treatment and prescription.

How long and in what form will I take the herbal medicine?

A: Traditionally, Chinese Herbs are made up into teas or decoctions. This involves boiling the herbs in water for half an hour or more. The patient will receive detailed instructions on the method of preparation. Capsules of raw herbal powder, concentrated extracts and pills are also prescribed. A typical course of treatment would involve taking a herbal formula daily for several months, depending on the nature of the case and the strength of the patient. The patient will be monitored regularly to ensure that the formula is effective and modified as improvements occur.

Should I continue with my prescribed medication while undergoing a course of Chinese medicine or acupuncture treatment?

A: Yes. Many people seek the help of Chinese medicine or acupuncturist because of dissatisfaction with drug treatment, mainly because it does not seem to be working or the side effects are too severe. DO NOT stop taking any medication without professional guidance.

Is Chinese Herbal Medicine (CHM) Experimental?

A: Some people think all Complementary and Alternative Medicines (CAM) are experimental. Therefore, they deem Chinese Herbal Medicine (CHM) to be experimental too. This, however, is a misunderstanding about CHM and has been proved to be very wrong. Let’s look at the following facts.

(1) Time
Clinically, CHM has been practiced directly on the human body for thousands of years, which is much longer than Western Medicine. Compared to CHM, it is the Western Medicine that is primitive and experimental on many diseases.

(2) Scale
Through thousands of years of clinically practice, CHM has successfully treated millions of patients. This number is much larger than any experimental clinical trials required.

(3) Efficacy
CHM efficacy has been proved through thousands of years of spreading of CHM practices from China to Asia, from Asia to Europe, Australia, America, Africa, etc. This growing popularity among patients around the world is the best testimonials for its efficacy.

(4) Safety
Because CHM is a natural medicine, it is much safer than Western Medicine. This has been proved from the thousands years of practices too.

(5) Recognition
Chinese Medicine medical university issuing the CMD degree are the first and probably the only medical university in Complementary and Alternative Medicine (CAM) that are listed in the World Health Organization (WHO) World Directory of Medical university together with the Harvard Medical School, Yale Medical School, etc.