Traditional Chinese herbal medicine
Herbal medicine is as old as humanity itself. Early human beings were hunter-gatherers whose survival depended on their knowledge of their environment. Direct experience taught them which plants were toxic, which ones imparted strength and sustained life, and which had special healing qualities.
These early discoveries were passed along until thousands of years and millions of human trials brought about the evolution of an incredibly sophisticated system of diagnostic and herbal medicine.
Thousands of medicinal substances are used in China today. Indeed, more than a million tons of herbs are used each year in China. Thirty herbs, mostly tonics, account for more than 50 percent of this figure, with licorice (Gan cao) topping the list at 86,000 tons.
This information may seem astonishing to the minds of Westerners, who see herbal medicine as a new development in healing. From a practical perspective, however, a fairly complete Chinese medicine shop, Ledow health centre stocks about 450 different individual herbs.
From this collection of herbs, Our Chinese Doctor employs more than 250 standard formulas, each of which can be modified to fit a patient’s individual pattern of disharmony. The herbalist or practitioner combines herbs based on the diagnosis, using a traditional herbal formula as a foundation and adding other herbs specific to the individual’s complaint and constitution.
As the person’s health improves, the nature of the imbalance changes, so the herb formula must also change. Some herbs are deleted when they are no longer needed, while others more appropriate to the changing condition are added.
At Ledow health centre, we employ
- Herbal powders, which can be mixed with hot water to make a tea, are more convenient to prepare and use, and are not as pungent as traditional decoctions to convenient our patient in order to achieve the utmost medication effectiveness.