Herbal therapy is a very important part of Chinese Medicine. We recommend herbal therapy to most of our patients because this allows us to treat a wide variety of conditions with consistently excellent results. Chinese herbs can be used as a standalone therapy or prescribed to enhance the effectiveness of a treatment plan that includes acupuncture or other therapies. Herbal treatments are a very cost effective treatment option for most people, especially those who want to avoid or get off of prescription medications.

The herbs that we sell have been double laboratory tested for safety and potency. Our suppliers perform rigorous testing to assure efficacy, potency, and shelf life, including microsectile observation, spectrophotometry, and chromatography of their herbs The herbal ingredients themselves range from familiar things such as ginger, mint, and turmeric to relatively exotic roots, berries, flowers, seeds, and bark. We work with companies that do Direct Sourcing, meaning that each herb comes from its ideal growing region, in order to achieve the highest level of pharmacologically active constituents. This allows us to offer our patients a higher quality of herbs than is generally available in the West.

We exclusively use products which have proven themselves historically and scientifically. Most of our herbal products are available in pill form, but we also prescribe tea bags, or powdered concentrated extracts. In addition to internal herbs, we frequently use and recommend a variety of topical herbals such as herbal liniments, balms, and soaks. All of our herbal products are customized to fit our patient’s specific needs and deliver the best results for their health.

What makes Chinese Herbal medicine so effective is that we use combinations of herbs, usually 6-12, together as a formula. Chinese herbal formulas have synergistic combinations of active ingredients to produce powerful treatment effects. Herbal formula ingredients are classified by their role in the formula. The most important, or “king”, herb(s) have the biggest impact while other herbs in the formula guide the active ingredients to the exact tissue or part of the body that we are working on. Because these formulas are carefully constructed and balanced, there are little to no side effects. A good herbal formula will treat several symptoms at once because it is designed for each person and their specific condition.

Brief History of Chinese Herbal Medicine

Shen Nong, whose name means “the divine farmer,” lived around 6,000 years ago. He is said to have started the practice of agriculture in China. He taught people how to grow grains as food and tested hundreds of herbs to carefully catalog their therapeutic properties. The written collection of his works, called The Divine Farmer’s Materia Medica, or Shen Nong Ben Cao, was completed around 200 B.C., and contained 365 herbs. In this work, herbs are categorized into three groups. The first group is called food herbs which are eaten as part of one’s diet for health maintenance, longevity and the prevention of illness. The other two groups are medicinal herbs, and are used in prescribed combinations, or formulas based on a person’s unique physiology, environment, and health condition.

Over the past 2,000 years, many more herbs were added to the Chinese Materia Medica, and by the 1700’s these works included over 2,000 herbs and more than 10,000 formulas. Over the years Chinese physicians have made new discoveries, theories, and classifications, often writing books that have become classics of Chinese medicine, and are still used today. These books describe in detail many illnesses and conditions that are common in modern times. It is this knowledge that allows Chinese herbal medicine to continue to be so effective.


Modern students of Traditional Chinese medicine learn Chinese herbal therapy from a textbook that is 2.5 inches thick and weighs 8 pounds. Because of a 5,000-year history, your acupuncturist can make an herbal prescription that addresses almost any symptom and help to improve your health. An herbal formula will contain plant elements—leaf, stem, flower, root or seed—and perhaps minerals or other natural ingredients. Chinese herbal medicine provides specific, vital nutrients to support the healthy function of mind and body.

How Does Chinese Herbal Medicine Work?

Each herb has been meticulously studied and recorded for its taste, therapeutic properties, and the tissues in the body that it activates. These attributes together describe an herb’s therapeutic actions. Each herb is then categorized according to its primary function. These functions include: promoting sweat, anti-inflammatory, diuretics, digestives, herbs that increase circulation, and other categories. Individual herbs are then combined into formulas that are precisely balanced for an individual patient and their specific disease pattern. Because Chinese herbs are prescribed based on the patient, different formulas may be used to treat the same condition.

Are There Any Side Effects?

One of the great advantages of Chinese medicine is the absence of serious side effects. On the rare occasion where there may be some mild digestive upset or difficulty with the taste of the herbs we advise patients to take their herbs after meals, at a reduced dosage, or modifying the herbal combination. Herbs are available in pill formats for those who have difficulty with the taste of herb tea. Most conditions do very well with the use of regular herbal prescriptions, and taking them regularly is important for speedier recovery.

Can I take Herbs if I am on Prescription Medications?

Yes! There are very few known interactions between prescription medications and Chinese Herbs. We are trained in identifying and avoiding these, but be sure that we have a complete list of all OTC and prescription medications that you are taking before you start care. Most prescription medications actually are derived from herbs. This is both good and bad. The good part is that because the extracts are very concentrated, prescription medications can treat some diseases faster and than traditional herbal methods. The negative of this, however, is that these synthetic medications are so focused and powerful that the side effects are sometimes worse than the benefits. Because of these side effects, at least 100,000 deaths annually are attributed to properly prescribed prescription medications

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