A major component in Traditional Chinese Medicine is the use of herbal medications to treat patients symptoms. Unlike the Western application of herbal remedies, TCM usually uses a combination of herbs instead of individuals ones. As with all TCM treatments, herbs are used to restore the flow of energy in the body, which is thought of as the key to a healthy functioning body. In this medical approach disease is thought to be caused by disturbances to the flow of energy and natural balance within the body.
Another major difference between the two approaches is that TCM calls for the individualized prescription of remedies as opposed to one particular treatment for a disease. Though two people may have the same condition, examinations may determine different causes thus call for different treatments. Examinations include the careful and sensitive taking of the pulse, observing and palpating various parts of the body, and asking a long series of questions. From the examination, your practitioner will determine a diagnosis and cause for your symptoms. A combination of herbs will be prescribed based on the personalized diagnosis. Usually one main herb is used to directly combat the ailment and others are used to complement and enhance its effectiveness. The complementary herbs may boost the potency, direct the herbs to a particular organ, or address minor symptoms and ailments you may be suffering from as well.
To receive the most traditional form of herbal medication, you must visit an herbalist shop. Here a experienced herb preparer will chop, grind, fry, and slice dried herbs according to your prescription. You will also receive instructions on how to properly prepare the herbs, usually boiling them in a ceramic pot with varying processes and time depending on the particular herbs. There are also a variety of produced herbal products available including Kampo formulas. These are available in powder, capsule, or tablet form, licensed in Japan and manufactured there by large reputable manufacturers. Also found can be Chinese Patent Remedies, which are widely available and inexpensive. However, due to scandal concerning the use of dangerous ingredients not included in labeling they are not recommended by most professionals. To ensure safety when using herbal remedies it is best to do so only under the supervision of a physician and find an experienced herbalist to supply the best available products.