Chinese herbal medicine is an essential part of Chinese medicine

Chinese herbal medicines have been used for thousands of years and much knowledge has been recorded about their effects and characteristics. Their use is an essential part of Chinese medicine.

Individual prescriptions can be designed by the practitioner, or a well proven or ‘patent’ formula may be prescribed. The types of herbs used in a prescription depend on the underlying energetic cause of the illness.

The prescribing of herbs is based on the same diagnostic principles as acupuncture. Formulas consist typically of several different herbs, some of which treat the primary underlying cause (the emperor herb), some may assist by treating a secondary cause (the associate herb) and another which opens up an area of the body where the herbs are to take effect (the messenger herb).

Chinese herbs have been classified according to their energetic nature and effect on the body. They are known for their warming or cooling effect, their moving, drying, astringing, softening or neutralising nature, the areas they target such as body parts or meridians, and the directional movement they enhance after ingestion (ascending, descending, floating or sinking).

The application of Chinese herbs is different to that of Western herbs in that Chinese herbs are combined into formulas rather than used for their single action on the body. Rather than treating a single symptom, they are designed to target underlying energetic imbalances.

In a herbal consultation the practitioner will ask you questions about your illness, feel your pulse and inspect the tongue and other body signs to determine the underlying cause of your condition. A herbal formula will then be prescribed, which is taken daily for a period of several weeks or months. At the Chinese Medicine Centre we are able to dispense:

  • raw dried herbs which need to be boiled at home (the traditional way)
  • granulated powder which can be dissolved in hot water and drunk as a tea
  • capsules of granulated powder which can be simply swallowed (the modern way)
  • ointments and rubs to be applied to the skin.

Chinese Herbal Medicine can be used for most health conditions but is especially effective for skin conditions, headaches, menstrual problems, infertility, aches and pains, and digestive issues.