When most of us think about taking medication, it is generally the kind that is prescribed by a doctor or purchased over the counter at the neighborhood pharmacy. However, there is a whole world of medication that is used in many cultures in place of or alongside conventional, modern medications. These formulas fall under the category of Chinese herbal medicine, and they have been used successfully for centuries to effectively treat and prevent many types of conditions and illnesses.
Today, Chinese herbal medicine is still used, usually under the guidance of a doctor or professional that specializes in this discipline of medicine. Often the herbs are given in a combination, and sometimes the herbal medications are combined with other treatments that are typical for Chinese medicine, like acupuncture or massage. To understand how Chinese herbal medicine is used properly, you must first understand the principles of the human body that this type of medicine subscribes to.
The Components of Chinese Medicine
First, the body must function in a harmonious relationship of mind, body and spirit to achieve optimum wellness. In addition, the body is divided into five organ networks, which are responsible for different parts of the body as well as a variety of functions. When one of these networks is out of balance, the body can suffer in physical, mental or emotional ways. The purpose of Chinese herbal medicine is not to merely treat symptoms, like many of our medications today are designed to do. Instead, Chinese herbal medicine is used to cure the body, bring it back into balance, and give it the environment necessary to heal itself and achieve optimum wellness. This is most often done through a combination of herbs that will address different issues within the body and work in harmony to heal the entire unit.
Because there is generally a combination of herbs in Chinese herbal medicine that are prescribed at one time, professionals in Chinese medicine may use a variety of templates to determine which herbs will work best together. One such template uses the Chinese government, which consists of a monarchial system. This means that there is a King herb that is used to treat the primary issue. The next herb is the minister herb, and this choice will address the top imbalance as well as the secondary imbalance that the body is suffering from. The next herb prescribed is often referred to as the assistant herb, and the purpose of this one might either be to strengthen the potency of the king herb or to reduce toxicity. Finally, the messenger herb will help to focus the effectiveness of the other herbs exactly where they need to go.
Chinese herbal medicine is a complex process of diagnosis and treatment with a delicate balance of the proper herbs. For this reason, it is always best to consult an experienced professional for advice on Chinese herbal medicine instead of trying to administer these substances on your own.