Chinese herbal medicine is truly a treasure of human cultural and medical science. Countless generations of the best minds in China worked out the system we have today, testing individual herbs and formulas on billions of people over thousands of years. This system is still alive and vital, turning out new remedies and approaches for modern problems, such as HIV, SARS, flu viruses and the hyper stresses of modern life.
There are two main approaches in herbal medicine. The first is the gold standard of treating each patient with a classical formula that has been modified for their unique situation, noting that everyone is different and reacts to diseases and pathogens in specific ways. The second method is the "silver standard" of prescribing classic formulas that best fit the patients specific symptoms and diagnoses. The classic formulas are available either in their raw state, needing to be cooked at home before use, or they are available pre-made and can be taken as pills, powders or tinctures.
The pre-made formulas fall into two categories, professional and "patent remedies." Professional quality formulas are made from certified herbs chosen by skilled technicians and sold by licensed acupuncturist doctors. The "patent remedies" are usually sold over the counter at stores, and some are strictly symptomatic. Their quality level is less than the professional or raw herbs, but they have a long history of use and benefits. [All the different grade formulas are the same, it is just the quality of the herbs, the adherence to time tested formulation guidelines and specificity of action that is different.]
In my office I use high quality pre-made formulas from a number of different American companies. Some of the formulas have been in use for over a thousand years. There are a number of formulas that are so beneficial that I stock them for patients to pick up "over the counter" without a prescription. These formulas are very mild and pose no risk, and the are very effective for common problems (see the list below). All of them have a long history of use and are available at most Asian markets that stock herbal remedies.
The herbs used in Chinese medicine span a wide range of vegetable, mineral and animal parts. Roots, stems, bark, seeds, tubers, fruits, mineral deposits, bones, organs and other substances all have healing qualities. Some of these herbs are used in Ayurvedic (Indian) and Tibetan medicine, and some of their herbs are likewise found in our formulas. There has been a lot of trade over the centuries between these countries. A sub-part of herbal medicine is dietary therapy, whereby common foods are utilized for their herbal healing qualities and special diets are set up for certain diseases and imbalances. An herb is a food with much more potent constituents that can heal the body faster.
The main difference between Chinese Herbal medicine and Western Herbal Medicine is in how the herbs are classified. Here in the West (The Americas and Europe), herbs are classified according to what the physically do to the body. A particular herb is good for the stomach because of what is in the herb, which is it's pharmacology. The Chinese approach is based on the energetics (Qi) of the herb. A particular herb can be good for kidney function because it's Qi affects the kidneys, and yet it's pharmacology may not show much chemical action in the kidney.
Another big difference is that 99% of Chinese formulas are multi herb, not single herb. This helps to create a balance in the body, so that the stronger herbs don't unbalance the body in the process of healing it. All formulas are put together in a way that the herbs work with each other, synergistically making the whole greater than the sum of it's parts.
Below is a list of herbs that are always stocked in the office for over the counter purchase.
Self Treatment Herbal Pharmacy
Chinese Medicinal herbs have a long history of healing all types of symptoms and diseases. We stock a variety of time tested formulas for the main types of common complaints. These are considered "over the counter" in Asia and elsewhere. Many of these formulas are hundreds of years old and time tested on billions of people.
The following list is for those symptoms that can be self treated. If you or someone else is suffering from one of the following symptoms, come to the office and pick up the appropriate remedy. If time permits, we may be able to consult with you for a moment to make sure the herbal formula you've chosen is the most suitable one.
Cold and Flu: Indications:
1. Gan Mao Ling Beginning col and flu
2. Yin Chiao Beginning cold or sore throat
3. Initial Defense Beginning cold, flu or sore throat
4. Zhong Gan Ling Severe cold, flu, sore throat
5. Pinellia Phlegm Dispersing Bronchial infections
6. Phlogisticlean Swollen glands, ears; chronic
7. Isatis Gold Infections: Upper respiratory
Sinusitis or Allergies: Indications:
1. Bi Yan Pian Sinus allergy or headache
1. Digestion Solution Poor digestion, travel diarrhea
2. Curing Formula Simple stomach/GI problems
3. Six Gentlemen Chronic weak digestion
1. Celestial Emperors Blend Light sleep, brain awake
2. Zizyphus Sleep Formula Agitated, frustrated
1. American Ginseng (do not exceed label) Fatigue, lack of energy
2. Gather Vitality (consult is a good idea) Chronic fatigue
Tension: (Also Stop Smoking) Indications:
1. Tension Solution Generalized tension, stress or nerves
Muscle Spasms/Injuries: Indications:
1. Invigorate Collaterals Muscle strain, acute aches & injuries
2. Meridian Passage Deeper spasms or chronic ache
3. Traumeel Cream Arnica for injuries, sprains, traumas
4. Amber Massage Salve Chronic muscle & joint pain
Immune Boosting: Indications:
1. Jade Windscreen Improve immunity, get colds & flu’s easily
2. Mushroom Formulas For travel protection, and
3. Initial Defense exposure to sick people
General Tonic: Indications:
1. Ten Treasures Overall tonic
2. Clear Mind Fuzzy headed, overwhelmed
3. Womens Precious Weak blood, simple anemia
Mannatech Glyco-nutrients Want super health
Rehabilitation, serious disease, severe weakness, multiple illnesses:
1. Mannatech Glyco-nutrients (consult is a good idea)
Prices depend on each item and if it is in extract, pill or powder form. Some individual herbs are very expensive. Each formula is a combination of herbs that work together to treat a set of symptoms and/or heal a fundamental imbalance.
General guidelines for choosing the correct dose:
Feel free to ask or call in for advice on dosage. The dosage should reflect body weight. So the smallest dose listed would be for people about 100 pounds or those who are very sensitive. All bottles have dosage guidelines on them, for more intense conditions the maximum listed amount can be enlarged or doubled. The listed amount for Ginseng should never be exceeded.
A standard dose of pills for 150-180# adult is 3-5 pills, 3-5 times per day on an empty stomach. For minor symptoms or prevention, 3 pills 3 times per day is good. For serious symptoms, 5 pills up to 5 times per day is adequate. It is always a good idea if a person is sensitive to food and medicines to do a starting dose of 1-2 pills 2 times per day for up to 2 days. Then if there is no reaction a larger dose can be taken.
For extracts a standard dose for a 150-180# person is 24-40 drops, 3-5 times per day. For minor symptoms or prevention, 24 drops 3 times per day is good. For serious symptoms, 40 drops up to 5 times per day is adequate. It is always a good idea if a person is sensitive to take a small starting dose of 8-20 drops. If the alcohol in the extract is a problem, put the drops in a cup of very hot water and wait for 5 minutes, all the alcohol will have evaporated.
For children ages 5-12, the correct dose would be half of the adult dose 1-3 times per day. Children younger than 5 need different herbal formulas specifically made for their tender bodies, which are available with a short consultation.
If you have some adverse reaction or side effect, stop the herbs and call the office. This is extremely rare if you take the correct dosage.
For more serious conditions, a full diagnostic work up is required to determine the correct herbal prescription. Existing patients don't usually need to go through a full work up, as a diagnosis has already been made for them.
CONTACT: EMAIL TEL: 352-375-7557
©2009 STEPHEN B. SCHACHTER