Chinese Herbal Medicine
Chinese Herbal Medicine is highly sophisticated form of medical therapy that has been proven effective by millennia of observation and through ongoing modern research. Chinese Herbal Medicine seeks to treat both the symptoms and the root cause of disease, unlike many Western drugs that often control symptoms without altering the disease process or reaching the underlying causes.
Subtlety and Quality of Herbs in Medicine
Traditionally, herbs were considered to work not simply through chemical interactions but through more subtle resonance with the person taking them. Herbs, like everything else in the cosmos, are seen as embodying certain qualities often related to where they tend grow and even their physical form. Ginseng (literally “man root” / ren shen) for example, well known for its strong tonic properties, is an herb which grows high in the mountains and is capable of enduring severe inclement weather. The root itself resembles a man’s body and used to strengthen the “whole person”, offering the qualities of endurance, concentration and integrity. Other herbs can be extremely speciﬁc in their effect targeting the back of the head or the lower back and knees.
Herbs in Combination
Most often herbs are administered in combination, strengthening and balancing each other’s effects. This also provides the possibility of addressing the root cause and the manifestations of that root (the “branches”) with a single formula. In this way, an herbal formula can elegantly weave together herbs that treat apparently desperate symptoms into a single formula. One of the great gifts of Chinese herbal medicine, a direct reﬂection of Chinese medical diagnosis, is precisely this ability to integrate all of the variegated symptoms a person is suffering from into a coherent and at times surprisingly simple explanation. It is not uncommon for an herbal formula to simultaneously treat depression and back pain or grief and asthma.