Chinese Herbs

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What can be treated with Chinese herbal medicine? 

Chinese herbal preparations may treat both acute disease such as colds, flus, gastritis, and food poisoning; and chronic issues such as allergies, GYN and digestive disorders, thyroid and adrenal issues, and degenerative disease due to aging. Chinese herbal medicine and acupuncture work hand-in-hand to not only treat physical and mental symptoms, but to bring the body, mind and spirit into balance by addressing the root causes of disease.

Can Chinese herbal medicine be taken with prescription medicine?
Yes. Any trained herbalist should know how to research potential interactions and avoid such problems. Side effects are very rare, and most Chinese herbs have a very low toxicity compared to Western drugs. In many cases, patients are able to lower the dosage or be much less dependent on Western medications after taking Chinese herbal medicine for a while.

How are the herbs taken/administered? Do they taste awful?
In China most herbs are taken by decoction – whole dried herbs are cooked and drunk as a tea. This method tends to be more potent and can easily be altered as the patient’s needs or symptoms change. However, this is not the preferred method by most Westerners due to the preparation and strong taste. Powders – derived from freeze-dried whole herbs, which are then pulverized into a very fine powder and mixed with warm water — may also be mixed and matched to fit a patient’s specific needs. The flavor is palatable and some even grow to crave the taste. Patent medicines in the form of tinctures, tea pills, capsules, and tablets are the most commonly used in the West due to their convenience, and are also quite effective.

Do all the herbs and patents come from China? Are they safe?
Approximately 20% of the 500 standard herbal ingredients originated outside of China. This is because the Chinese have adopted herbs from all over into their Material Medica. What makes the herbs “Chinese” is the theory behind their formulations, and the way they are prescribed according to TCM diagnosis and pattern differentiation.

The herbs coming in from China face tough testing for chemicals, harmful additives and agents. Cape Fear Community Acupuncture carries patents and herbs whose suppliers or manufacturers have proven a high safety rating and do not contain any contaminants.

What sources are Chinese herbs derived from? 
The majority of Chinese herbs are derived from plant and vegetable sources such as leaves, flowers, twigs, stems, seeds, berries, barks and roots. Some are also derived from minerals and animal products. Please let your acupuncturist know if you are vegetarian or vegan, or if you have allergies or concerns about certain herbs and their origins.

How do Chinese herbs differ from Western folk medicine?
Western folk herbalism uses single herbs to treat diseases or symptoms such as headaches, menstrual pain, hot flashes, sore throat, etc. Chinese herbal medicine is utilized as part of TCM theory, based on individualized pattern and disease diagnosis. A patient will receive a custom herbal preparation designed to treat not only the symptoms/disease, but also their individual pattern. These patterns are derived from a patient’s signs and symptoms, tongue and pulse diagnosis, as well as their emotional temperament and body constitution. TCM formulas are usually comprised of 4-18 herbs combined in specific ratios to work together synergistically.

Are herbs safe for pregnant women or children?
If prescribed by a licensed acupuncturist who has been trained in Chinese herbalism, they are very safe. Specific herbs are to be avoided during pregnancy. Many formulas and herbs can help ease the symptoms associated with pregnancy. The same is true of taking herbs during lactation. Herbs may be given in reduced dosages to children. They are especially effective at treating colic, earache, diarrhea, cough, fever, and teething pain.

DSC_0654Which herbal products do you carry at Cape Fear Community Acupuncture? 
The main patent lines I prescribe are Herbal Times and Jade Dragon brand tea pills, Evergreen Herbs capsules, and Herbalogic tinctures. I also sell topical agents and liniments, as well as nutritional supplements by Pure Encapsulations, Ecological Formulas, and Apex Energetics  (all are hypo-allergenic, doctor’s only lines) such as digestive enzymes, prenatal vitamins, probiotics, essential fatty acids, curcumin and many more.  We also proudly carry locally made Mama’s Secret Organic Skin Care.

Clearance Sale – Jan 2015:  All of our granular herbal packets by Efong Herbs are 25-50% off!