Chinese Herbal Medicine

Herbal Medicine

Herbal Medicine is the healing application of herbs (plant, animal & mineral) to therapeutically treat the body. Commonly used to relieve pain, increase circulation and energy. This discipline was developed through clinical practice, using natural substances to treat disease and is now researched and used in our modern world with great success.

Science and Herbal Medicine

Plants contain phytochemicals which are compounds displaying therapeutic actions on the human body. Phytochemicals are categorised as carbohydrate, lipids, phenolic, terpenoids and alkaloids. Their therapeutic actions include aticarcinogen, antimutagen, anti-inflammatory and antioxidant.

Natural products provide limitless opportunities for new drug discoveries. The production of pharmaceuticals focuses on identifying and extracting single specific compounds. For example, Asprin was derived from salicylic acid from in plants like Willow.

Herbal medicine employs the whole of a herb and its interactions with other herbs for a more holistic treatment for the body and with fewer side effects. Modern research of Chinese Herbs focuses on the following:

  • Scientific identification of Chinese medicinal herbs, including isolation of the active constituents and structure determination.
  • Investigating the effects and mechanisms of action of single and formulated herbs.
  • Determination of pharmacological profile on active substances.
  • Development of methods for quality evaluation and quality control of Chinese medicines.

The term Chinese Herb describes a natural product which can have originated in any country. It is grouped as a Chinese Herb when it is described and understood using the theoretical foundations of Chinese Medicine (TCM). The classifications includes flavour, temperature, action and which body system they effect. Foods are also classified in this way but don’t act as strongly as herbs. Chinese herbs you are probably aware of include ginseng, ginger, cinnamon, goji berries, chrysanthemum, peppermint and dandelion. So many herbs and spices have made there way around the world during early times of trade. But also many of the herbs are only found in the region of China. 

The term “Superfood” is used a lot nowadays.  Herbs are the original “Superfood”. Used correctly they have a massive positive influence on your health and wellbeing.

Herbal Medicine in Action

Herbs have been shown to have actions which include:

immune stimulant: improves the immune system
vasodilator: dilates blood vessels, which decreases blood pressure
antianemic: increases the number of red blood cells
cardiotonic: improves heart action
antilipemic: lowers lipids(fats) amounts
hepatoprotective: protects against liver damage

Because of these actions, herbs are used to treat conditions such as:

high/low blood pressure, menopause and menstrual conditions, anxiety, digestive disorders, fertility, insomnia, back pain.

One famous Chinese herb is Ginseng (Ren Shen). It is reported to have a wide range of pharmacological and therapeutic actions. Ginsenosides are the major active ingredient which are most likely responsible for Ginseng’s properties of vaso-relaxation, antioxidation, anti-inflammation, anticancer, regulation of glucose metabolism, immuno enhancing and its effect on the endocrine system. This herb is mostly found in formulae which aim to reinforce immunity and increase energy.

 

Herbal Formulae

Chinese herbs are usually mixed together in a specific formula. Some of these formulae were written two thousand years ago and are still used and discussed today. Administering herbs in a formula has several benefits. Combining herbs allows the medicine to act on several specific symptoms (pattern) and ensures that the harsh action of some herbs are moderated by other herbs.  This allows the body to be treated and supported at the same time. 

Heat Clearing Herbs

This group of herbs helps to clear heat from inside the body. Heat in TCM does not only refer to illness that may cause a fever but also any condition that gives heat signs with normal body temperature. Heat signs might include dry mouth and throat, red face/eyes, dry stool, or even just a sensation of heat.

In general these herbs have the following pharmacological actions:

  • antibacterial and antiviral
  • antitoxin and antipyretic
  • anti inflammatory
  • regulatory effects on the immune system
  • anticancer
  • scavenging free radicals

Formulae in the category may be used for conditions such as lupus, rheumatoid arthritis, acne, gynaecological and menopausal disorders, recurring infections, tinnitus, night sweating.

Herbs for Activating Blood Circulation

This group of herbs is used to promote blood circulation and disperse blood stasis and are shown to have effects including:

  • increase in coronary blood flow
  • increase vasodilation thus a decrease in total peripheral resistance
  • anticoagulation
  • antiplatelet
  • regulate prostoglandins metabolism.

These formulae may be used in the treatment of chronic or acute pain, migraine, hypertension, menstrual disorders and physical impact trauma.

Herbs to Tonify

These herbs are used to strengthen the body and boost immunity. They are used for chronic and degenerative diseases. Tonifying herbs have pharmacological effect on:

  • immune system – increase white blood cell production
  • nervous system – stimulates CNS and increases cerebral blood flow
  • endocrine system – effects thyroid, ovaries, testes and adrenal cortex/medulla
  • cardiovascular system – vasodilation and increase muscle strength
  • improving red blood cell production
  • metabolic effects – promotes DNA and protein synthesis, glucose regulation

Common conditions include chronic fatigue, post surgery, anxiety, menstrual disorders, postpartum weakness, hypotension, dizziness.

Herbal Medicine consultations can be carried out online/phone.

Please call Sonia on 0406 713 723 to arrange an appointment.

Herbal Medicine can be used to regulate any pattern of disharmony (illness) and are prescribed per individual need. I formulate herbs to your specific presentation. Herbs may come as granules (to be mixed and taken in hot water) or capsule form for convenience. Herbs available at Blue Balance do not contain animal products. Herbal products are sourced from Sunherbal, Metagenics, Obay and KPC.

Herbal Medicine treatment is often paired with Acupuncture but can be used on its own. The cost of Herbal product depends on the severity of the condition (amount prescribed) and the form of herb (granule, capsule, pill) and will range from $10-25 per week.

Please reach out to me if you’d like to know if herbs can help you.