You may have heard the saying “food is medicine,” or “the first line of medicine is food,” and that is the idea behind herbal medicine. In fact, many of the chinese herbs are used in traditional Chinese cuisine, and some are used in western cuisine as well. Some examples are cinnamon bark, turmeric, fresh ginger, dates, walnuts, black sesame seeds and licorice. However, Chinese herbal medicine also includes other herbs that are only used to treat illness and not used for cooking, such as apricot kernel, astragalus tubers, gardenia fruit, and others.
Chinese herbal medicine is a holistic practice in that we take the whole individual into consideration when writing an herbal formula to fit his or her specific needs and goals.
Herbal medicine is recommended for many conditions, and it can complement acupuncture treatments very well. Some examples are common colds, allergic rhinitis, seasonal allergies, menstrual problems, hormonal imbalances, PCOS, cough, diarrhea, constipation, IBS, insomnia and others.
It is often taken internally as a tea 2 to 3 times daily, and often given in concentrated powder, which only needs to be dissolved in hot water before drinking. There are also manufactured pills for common imbalances, topical herbal patches, soaks and liniments.