Chinese Herbs is one of the more important modalities used in Traditional Chinese Medicine practice. Each patient prescription is a customized/individualized cocktail of many herbs tailored to a patient’s needs. The practitioner usually draws from a bank of established herbal formulas then adds other herbs to adjust the formula to the patient’s yin/yang conditions. Sometimes, herbs are added to balance certain effects of the main ingredients. Some herbs require the use of other ingredients as catalyst or else the brew is considered to be ineffective. The latter steps require great experience and knowledge, and make the difference between what is accepted as a good Chinese herbal doctor and an amateur. Unlike western medications, the balance and interaction of all the ingredients are considered more important than the effect of individual ingredients. A key to success in TCM is the treatment of each patient as an individual.
Chinese herbs are prepared in a number of ways. Raw herbs can be boiled and taken as a tea or decoction. Prepared Chinese herbs are sold as pills, tablets and capsules. In one type of preparation herbs are applied via a plaster, usually for pain.
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