In TCM (traditional Chinese medicine), all natural-based medicines are referred to as herbs, even when they don’t come from a plant source. There are some 10,000 herbs in the Chinese medical pharmacopeia which include everything from flowers to bugs and rocks, or which are categorized by their properties and disharmonies that they are helpful with. When used correctly, Chinese herbs have little to no side effects. There may be only one specific component in a herb that creates the therapeutic effect, but when compounding a herbal formula the entire part of the herb is used. Other components found in the herb help to balance the power effects, decreasing the chance of any potential negative side effects.
Herbal formulas can be taken in several different ways
Raw herbal decoction—where the dried herbs are boiled for an extended period of time into a strong decoction or tea. Some herbs will need to be boiled for longer times, and some herbs will be added later for later. This decoction is then strained and separated into separate therapeutic dosages which are then drank 2-4 times per day for up to several days, depending on the condition.
Granular form—This is the most common form of preparation found in Chinese modern medicine. These pre-formulated granules are made when an herbal decoction is dehydrated into a powder. Teaspoon dosages of this powder are added to water to form either a tea or a small shot of the formula.
Tincture—A tincture is an alcohol herbal extraction where the herbs are chopped up and placed in the alcohol for an extended period of time.
Syrup—This perpetration is the most delicious and is best when giving herbal formulas to children and is made by cooking the raw herbs with honey or sugar water.
Tablets—tablets are made when the granular form of an herb is a compressed into small tablets. Although more costly, this form of preparation is most convenient.
Gastrointestinal, respiratory, reproductive, neural, cardiovascular, urogenital dermatological issues—these are just a few examples of where herbal medicine is used. Herbal formulas prescribed are customized to fit the constitutions of the patient; every symptom is carefully reviewed to ensure that the correct herbs are chosen to be combined together in a decoction. Customized formulas can be assembled so that the individual symptoms can be treated while at the same time treating the source, or the root of the imbalance.