iStock_000012535498XSmallLike acupuncture, herbal medicine has been an integral part of Traditional Chinese Medicine for over 3,000 years. Over the centuries, it has developed into a sophisticated, systematic method of classification and prescription.

Active ingredients found in medicinal herbs have been extracted to produce some of our most common pharmaceutical drugs. Aspirin and penicillin are just two of the many drugs that are derived from herbs. Most Western drugs are very effective in treating symptoms, but they often do not treat the underlying cause of disease. For example, antibiotics can fight bacteria, but they do nothing to address the weakened immune system that initially allowed the infection to take hold in the body. The holistic nature of Traditional Chinese Medicine fights not only the infection, but helps to prevent further episodes by strengthening the immune system. Herbs are an essential part of this approach.

In the case of more chronic conditions, herbs have the function of supporting the positive effects of an acupuncture treatment during the days between appointments.

Chinese herbs can be taken in a number of ways. The traditional way is to cook them into a decoction or tea. However, this can be a time consuming process and is not a practical approach for many. Alternately, herbal pills, powders, and tablets are a convenient way to get your daily dose of Chinese herbs. They are convenient, safe, and very effective.

Under the guidance of an acupuncturist, Chinese herbs are very safe and have virtually no side effects. As an acupuncturist trained in herbology, I am aware of any potential interactions with other drugs or supplements that are being taken simultaneously and am able to prescribe herbs accordingly. I am happy to schedule an herbal consultation for those not interested in acupuncture.