Chinese Herbs

1) Synergy

Recently natural herbal remedies have become very popular, but in China, herbal formulas have been used as medicine for a very long time.  While Western herbalists use a variety of herbs to treat symptoms that individuals may encounter, they are generally singular herbs with a one to one ratio from herb to symptom.  For example, cinnamon, garlic, ginger, and turmeric are all individual herbs used for their anti-inflammatory properties.  In Chinese herbalism, the herbs are used in conjunction together, in a specific herbal formulaic balance where the herbs work together as a team, both accentuating and modifying each other’s properties.  It is like the difference between having the help of a single athlete vs. an entire athletic team all striving for the same goal.

2) Individualism

Another big difference in Eastern herbalism as opposed to Western is that Chinese herbal remedies are designed to treat the specific needs of the individual.  What might cause an ulcer or a headache or inflammation in one individual may be quite different in another.  For a complete explanation of how one Western diagnosis might be caused by a variety of different energetic patterns described by Eastern medicine as well as an easy-to-understand breakdown of the differences between Eastern and Western medicine, see the book The Web That Has No Weaver: Understanding Chinese Medicine by Ted Kaptchuk.

3) The Epitome of Holistic

The term holistic these days is often used synonymously with natural medicine but holistic medicine is not exactly the same thing as natural medicine.  Chinese medicine truly treats the whole individual.  The analogy for this style of treatment is root and branch method.  Once the energetic flow pattern of the individual is differentially diagnosed and their pattern is properly addressed and treated, all of the related symptoms will resolve.  There is no need to do separate treatments for separate symptoms as is often done in both natural and allopathic medicine of the Western world.  For example, in the West, an individual might treat inflammation naturally by one of the herbs mentioned above like garlic or may take an anti-inflammatory prescription medication such as an NSAID.  While taking garlic is an all-natural remedy, it is not holistic, as it is only treating the branch symptom of inflammation.  By using the Eastern system, truly the whole individual is treated and not only is the inflammation addressed, but the root cause of the inflammation as well.


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