Chinese herbal medicine has been used by millions of people for over 5,000 years.
What is Chinese Herbal Medicine?
Chinese herbal medicine originated in China over 5000 years ago and is one of the oldest continuously used health care systems in the world. Over time its use has spread widely and Chinese herbal medicine is now used by millions of people in many countries around the globe to help with a large range of conditions.
A trained and experienced Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM) practitioner will use the philosophy and principles of traditional Chinese medicine (TCM) to determine where and how your body is out of balance, causing illness, weakness or pain. Chinese herbs are then selected and combined to address the underlying patterns of imbalance as well as the symptoms, helping your body to improve and normalize proper function. In more recent times modern research has begun exploring some of the active ingredients in Chinese herbal medicines and providing some scientific evidence of the mechanisms by which some of them work.
How Chinese herbal medicine works
An experienced registered Chinese herbalist will use the principles of Traditional Chinese medicine to assess the symptoms of a condition and to find the unique underlying patterns of imbalance in each individual. Traditional Chinese medicine views the body using principles such as Yin, Yang, Qi and Blood, excess and deficiency, Heat and Cold, Damp and Dryness, Internal and External pathogenic factors. Within this framework, this means that several people with the same illness as diagnosed by Western medicine could each have a different diagnosis according to TCM. As such, each person may need a different approach with customised herb combinations to help their condition. Chinese herbal formulas are carefully constructed and individualised at each appointment to enhance and balance the effects of their active ingredients and maximise therapeutic actions. The herbal formulation will usually be adjusted as the condition improves.
What is Chinese herbal medicine used for?
Chinese herbal medicine is used for a wide range of chronic and acute conditions.
Safety and Ethics
All herbal ingredients used at the Wholistic Medical Centre are approved by the Therapeutic Goods Administration (TGA) in consultation with the Endangered Species Certification Scheme.
No endangered animal or herbal products are ever used in any prescription from this clinic and we only use herbs from suppliers who regularly batch test herbs and monitor heavy metal and pesticide residues for quality control.
It is important to let your traditional Chinese medicine practitioner know if you are taking any medications (pharmaceutical as well as other supplements). Our experienced TCM practitioners will then be able to modify your herbal formula if necessary, to provide better results with fewer risks or complications.
Always let your TCM practitioner know if you are pregnant or think you could be pregnant. The TCM practitioners at Wholistic Medical Centre are fully trained and experienced in knowing which herbs should be avoided during pregnancy.
Chinese herbal medicine is generally considered to be safe but occasionally (as with all health treatments) may be associated with possible adverse reactions in individual cases.
All the Traditional Chinese Medicine practitioners at Wholistic Medical Centre are fully qualified, experienced and registered with AHPRA.
What to expect at your first appointment
Your Traditional Chinese Medicine practitioner will thoroughly assess your condition and make a diagnosis according to TCM principles. They will ask you about your medical history, family medical history, lifestyle, diet and any medications or supplements you are taking, as these are all important parts of assessing your overall health.
Your practitioner will examine your tongue and take a series of pulses. They will then make a diagnosis according to TCM principles, prescribe and prepare a combination of herbs for your condition. Mostly these are available as concentrated granules, but they may also be provided as pills. In some cases you may be given a prescription for raw herbs that will need to be prepared by cooking at home. The granule herbs can be dissolved in water or put into capsules and swallowed. You may also be given dietary and/or lifestyle advice.
How long does it take to work?
The length of time and amount of herbs you will need depends on your condition and how long you have had it. Your TCM practitioner will usually be able to give you an idea how long you will need to take the herbs after a few consultations, once they have seen how your body is responding. As your condition improves, your herbal formula will be adjusted to reflect your progress as your body heals.
Generally, acute conditions are resolved faster than chronic conditions which are often more complex. In some cases acupuncture may be combined with Chinese herbal medicine for better or faster results.
TCM looks at both the symptoms of your illness and the underlying imbalances causing it. This means that your lifestyle factors will also play a big part in how long it will take to change and improve your condition. Best results are obtained when treatment is continued until the underlying pattern of imbalance is resolved, and when your diet and lifestyle factors are supportive of this.
Our Chinese Herbal Medicine Practitioners
Tanya Newton – Acupuncture, Chinese Herbal Medicine - M.TCM, Cert.TCM (China)
Tanya uses the holistic philosophy of traditional Chinese medicine to support and restore health, balance and vitality.
Rebecca Bau – Acupuncture, Chinese Herbal Medicine, Lohan Qigong - BHSc.TCM (Aust), C.TJM (Japan), M.LQ (Aust/China)
Rebecca integrates the foundations of eastern medicine across a broad scope of western medicine treating people of all ages to transform health to well-being.