While some conditions respond very well to acupuncture alone, other symptoms are best treated with herbal therapy. Your practitioner will advise you during your first or second treatment as to whether or not she would recommend herbs.
Chinese herbs are prescribed differently than what you may be used to from your local herb shop or health food store. Chinese herbs are almost never given one herb at a time. Instead, we create “formulas” or recipes of approximately 8-15 herbs together that will address your complaint and your individual physical and emotional constitution. Combining herbs in this way also creates a checks and balances system so that the strong effects of one herb may be mediated or softened by another herb.
We can provide herbs in a way that matches both your diagnosis and your lifestyle, which may include loose herbs that are cooked into a tea, powders that can be dissolved in hot water, or pills.
Are Chinese herbs safe?
Chinese herbs are quite safe when prescribed by a trained herbalist for an individual patient. Even though herbs work at a more subtle and holistic level than Western drugs, they are can be quite powerful and may produce negative reactions if taken by someone other than the patient. If you do elect to take an herbal formula, please know that the herbs you are given were specifically combined for your particular case. They may not be effective for someone else with similar symptoms, and should not be shared with others.
For this same reason, we are careful about combining herbal medicine with any prescription drugs you may be taking. Most of the time, the herbs will not interact with your drugs, but it is very important that you let your practitioner know about any prescriptions, vitamins and supplements you may be taking. Furthermore, we would be happy to provide information about your herbs to your doctor to make sure you are getting the safest and most effective care possible.
Finally, the herbs used in this clinic are purchased from distributors with impeccable reputations for quality control. This assures us that you will receive exactly the herbs you are prescribed and that they will be free from contaminants.
How long will I have to take the herbs?
Each person’s course of treatment will be different. In acute conditions, such as a cold or flu, you may need to take the herbs only a few days. For more chronic concerns like digestive or menstrual problems, you make take the herbs several months. As your symptoms change, your practitioner will change the herbs also. But the goal is to correct the problem so that you can go off the herbs. Chinese herbs are not designed to be taken for a lifetime. Instead, they should treat the imbalance and then let your body take over it’s natural homeostatic inclination.
Learn more about Chinese Herbal Medicine in The Wall Street Journal.