Chinese herbal medicine is a key component of Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM) and has been used for centuries in China. The philosophy is that there is a mind-body connection and the external environment stress can negatively impact health and wellness. There are thousands of herbs, minerals, teas, extracts and tinctures used to support wellness and treat symptoms and disease. A variety of herbal recipes deliver healing, therapeutic ingredients to the body so it can balance and heal.
The focus is primarily on health and prevention of disease rather that just treating symptoms. Most illnesses present with a clear set of symptoms, however, every person’s needs are different and therefore the herbal remedies prescribed will be unique to each individual seeking support. Practitioners are able to prescribe specific herbal remedies for each person and as the presenting conditions change and improve the remedies will be adjusted accordingly. The goal is to find wellness and balance and then the remedies will no longer be needed. It is very important to seek support from a trained practitioner when using herbal remedies.
Symptoms and illnesses that can be treated with Chinese herbal medicine include insomnia, fatigue, chronic pain, digestion issues, colds & flu, headaches, skin disorders, allergies, PMS, impotence & prostrate disorders, anxiety, depression and stress.
Popular herbs include ginseng, ginkgo, mushrooms, wolf-berry, cinnamon, ginger, licorice, peony, and rhubarb....
Examples of herbs and their uses:
Goji Berries (Gou qi zi) is easily accessible are packed with antioxidants. This little berry nourishes the blood and is beneficial for vision. It can be made into a tea, added to oatmeal or anything else you typically add cranberries or raisins to such as salads.
Longan Fruit (Long Yan Rou) can be found online or in Chinese herbal stores, helps with insomnia, heart palpitations, exhaustion, and anxiety as well as nourishes the blood. It can be added to oatmeal, desserts or made into a tea
Chinese Wild Yam (Shan Yao) is good for deficiency on one’s Qi. It helps with digestion, strengthens the kidneys and aids in hormone balance. It is easy to use and delicious in tea, soups and other blends. Chinese Wild Yams can be found in stores or online
American Ginseng (Xi Yang Shen) is milder than Chinese Ginseng. It nourishes both Yin and Yang energies, boosts the immune system, improves Qi, improves sex drive & performance, helps the body deal with stress, boosts the digestive system and improves the absorption of nutrients. It can be made into a tea or added to soups and stews. Avoid American Ginseng late at night
Lotus Seed (Lian Zi) regulates hormones, builds blood, strengthens the digestive system, supports the reproductive system in both men & women, helps with insomnia, anxiety and irritability. It can be added in meals, snacks and baked goods. This should not be used if you suffer with constipation or bloating.
Black Sesame Seeds (Hei Zhi Ma) benefits the liver & kidney, and treats dryness in hair, skin and eyes. It can be added to veggies and cereal.
Chinese Red Dates (Da Zao) nourishes the blood and builds Qi. Eating 1 or 2 each day increases energy and can be found in most Asian markets. It can also be made into a tea with rose, Goji Berries, and Chrysanthemum, as well as used in soups and smoothies.
Traditional Chinese Medicine is one of the most accurate ways to diagnose for health issues and disease. Chinese herbs are a key component to treating patients as well as a beneficial way to maintain overall health and balance by adding certain herbs and foods to our meals, snacks and tea.
Although safe under most conditions, Chinese herbs should be taken under the supervision of a trained practitioner and not used by women who are pregnant or breast feeding. It is important to pay attention to products making sure they are high quality and do not contain dangerous additives, another reason to work with a trained herbalist or practitioner.