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Chinese Herbal Medicine

What is Chinese Herbal Medicine?

Chinese Herbal Medicines, including herbs, processed herbal materials and patent prescriptions, are medications prescribed by TCM physician under the guidance of TCM theory. Prior to Qing Dynasty, Chinese medicine was referred to as materia medica or raw medicine.

Since the vast majority of Chinese medicines are plant-based, it is also termed Chinese herbal medicine.

What is decoction (brewing herbs)?

In Chinese medicine, decoction is a mean of herb preparation involving first soaking, then boiling in ceramic pot, and lastly straining.

To maximize the efficacy of the herbs when brewing, some are added early, some latter; some are bagged, some need to be melted first. Some others are to be dissolved in water and taken directly without boiling.

What is the difference between decoction and scientific Chinese medicine?

There’s no hierarchy among decoction, pill, syrup and powder. They are various forms of medicine administered to patients according to the conditions.

Currently, manufacturing procedure for scientific Chinese medicine is the same as decoction. It also undergoes boiling process to extract active ingredients from the herbs, which are then concentrated to form scientific Chinese medicine. It is safe, effective, portable and convenient, thus, widely accepted by the general public. In most cases, scientific Chinese medicine alone is sufficient for treatment.



How are Chinese herbs used differently from other herbs?

Often than not, western herbs are ingested singly, such as valerian for insomnia, white willow bark for a headache, etc. The composition of the patient’s body and root causes are not always considered. Comparably, TCM physician evaluates the nature and functions of herbs to balance the patient’s body constitution while alleviating the disorder. Generally, Chinese herbs are used in a mixture to achieve maximum results and efficiency. They are rarely used singly.

What are some of the conditions can be treated by scientific Chinese medicine?

In our TCM clinic, our TCM physicians use scientific Chinese medicine to treat many different medical conditions ranging from common flu to shingles. Scientific Chinese medicine is an very important part of our TCM fertility treatment and TCM treatment for shingles.

Can Chinese herbs replace western drugs or conflict with them?

Chinese herbs are considered as a potent medicine, sometimes out-performing western drugs, and neutralising the possible negative side effects of drugs. It is extremely crucial that you inform our TCM physician of any medications you are taking when you visit our TCM clinic so that the prescribed herbs will not contradict with the western drugs you are taking.

Should I avoid taking Chinese herbs if I am on prescription medication?

You do not have to as TCM can operate well with certain medications. Western doctors may even refer patients to TCM physician in support of their treatments, such as TCM fertility treatment before IVF treatment, etc.

Are Chinese herbs safe if I am pregnant or a nursing mother?

Yes, Chinese herbs are absolutely safe during pregnancy and for lactating mothers and can offer a solution to alleviating conditions when pharmaceutical drugs are contraindicated. However, you have to be aware that certain herbs are still not recommended during pregnancy. Make sure your TCM physician has full knowledge of your condition to ensure the prescription of safe and effective herbs.

Are Chinese herbs appropriate for children?

Usually, TCM is preferred over pharmaceutical drugs as they are much safer and offer excellent results with minimal side effects. While children are prescribed with a reduced dosage, their quick metabolism responds more quickly than adults. There are also anti-viral herbs that effectively treat and prevent the common cold or flu that have no allopathic counterparts.

Are there times when I should not take certain herbs?

It is advisable not to take cold, bitter herbs over extended periods. All in all, the best strategy is to always consult with your TCM physician before starting on a Chinese herb prescription.

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