Questions & Answers About Chinese Herbal Medicine
A Patients Primer
Dr. Mudrak is a diplomate
in Chinese Herbology as certified by the National Commission for
the Certification of Acupuncture & Oriental Medicine (NCCAOM).
Herbal medicine is the main modality or treatment method within
Traditional Chinese Medicine or TCM. TCM is the world’s oldest,
continually practiced, professional medicine. Its written history
stretches back not less than 2,500 years and its practice is undoubtedly
much older than that. Although acupuncture was the first Chinese
modality to gain wide acceptance in the West, Chinese herbal medicine
is quickly establishing itself as one of the most popular and effective
alternative therapies in the West.
Q: What’s the difference between Western folk herbalism
and Chinese herbal medicine?
A: Western folk herbalism primarily treats diseases or symptoms,
such as headaches, runny nose, menstrual pain, etc. Chinese herbal
medicine, when practiced as part of TCM, is based on an individualized
pattern diagnosis as well as a disease diagnosis.
This means the TCM patient receives a custom written herbal prescription
designed to treat both the symptom or disease and also their individual
pattern. Such a TCM pattern is made up of a person’s signs
and symptoms as well as their emotional temperament and bodily constitution.
Q: Are there any other differences?
A: Western folk herbalism primarily uses single herbs or groups
of herbs which treat the symptom or disease. TCM formulas include
from 6-18 herbs. They are carefully crafted to include herbs addressing
a person’s main symptoms as well as their entire pattern.