Chinese Herbal Medicine uses a variety of natural medicinal plants to prevent and treat illnesses. It was used in place of drugs before western medicine was introduced to China, still widely accepted and popular in China.
Herbs can be used alone or used in combination, forming a prescription where the individual effects are strengthened and the function complemented.
We normally use a few hundreds of herbs in regular practice. But, more herbs and formulas exist. The uniqueness of this system is the belief that each and every person has a unique constitution, energy balance and psychophysical pattern. Therefore, medicine should be customized and individualized; no one drug fits all.
Herbal medicine and western drugs both have their strengths; each suited for different conditions and circumstances. Patients often say “I don’t like taking medications.” It is true that natural herbs can manage many conditions or non-chemical approaches. Overuse or prolonged use of drugs can create side effects. We should use drugs only when it is really necessary.
For instance, for acute infections or life threatening conditions, drugs can save lives. For severe chronic illnesses, drugs can prolong lives. But in some cases, we can use herbs instead of, or in combination with, drugs, which will still help us reach the ideal result and limit possible side effects. For preventive or maintenance purposes, or for chronic conditions, herbs are definitely the first choice.