Today, in Western cultures, medical emphasis is usually placed on antibiotics and manufactured health as opposed to the older art of extracting medicinal properties from herbs. When a person gets sick, the fastest, most reliable way to regain health is to visit the doctor and get a prescription. It is a process that does not include being mindful of the body and how the chemicals may affect its ability to perform.
Chinese Herbalism has been around for well over 4,000 years. One of the oldest known herbalism textbooks tells the story of Huang Ti who ruled China sometime around 2697 BC.
The herbal medical system was a means to restore harmony and balance to the soul. According to this Taoist principal, each person has a mind, body and spirit that needed to align in order to remain healthy. It involves keeping the yin and yang in harmony within the soul. Yin involves everything that is cold, wet, heavy, sluggish, faded, and moving inside or in a downward progression. The Yang, on the other hand refers to all that is light, bright, dry, active, moves with rapidity, and thrusts upward and/or outward. They are both necessary for the human spirit, but neither can function without the other. When they interact correctly and within balance, everything comes together for the higher good.
Carrying forward with this principle, the human life cycle corresponds to the changing seasons and all natural phenomena. So, the elements of water, metal, earth, wood and fire all play an important part in how the human body functions.
Benefits of Using Chinese Medicinal Herbs
There are many positive benefits of Chinese Medicinal Herbs. These include:
Chinese Herbs offer a safe, effective, inexpensive solution to many health issues. Although tinctures and/or teas made from medicinal herbs do not work as quickly as antibiotics or other over the counter chemical based medicines, they have a more beneficial long term effect. For example, if you buy a cough syrup for bronchial issues, you may only mask the problem. Perhaps the doctor prescribes an antibiotic, but your body develops an immunity to it because it never works effectively. You try a couple of alternatives, such as a Chrysanthemum based tea with Slippery Elm and honey for the cough. For the infection, you use Angelica root.
The use of Chinese Medicinal herbs helps to stimulate the immune system. Ginseng, Codonopsis Root, and other herbs are often used in teas and/or tinctures to help build the immune system. In comparison, Western medicine often undermines the immune system. When a person takes antibiotics, the medicine kills good and bad bacteria in the body. This is often complicated by overtreatment such as when the person has a virus and the doctor still prescribes an antibiotic even though it most likely will have no effect on the illness.
A Chinese herbalist will make sure that the treatment is created based on the individual, taking into consideration how the Ying and Yang and the Five Elements play into the situation of that person. Each medicine can be modified to treat particular balance patterns. The goal is to not focus everything on the strength of the symptoms present, but also to incorporate every aspect of the patient’s well-being. This will include charting medical history, complaints, dietary habits, sleep patterns, and many other factors that may affect the person’s health.
Chinese herbs may be used with other herbs or by themselves, depending upon the properties they have and what the individual needs. Often, by mixing these herbs, medicinal properties are enhanced.
As individuals determine whether to try Chinese Medicinal Herbs to improve health, they must understand there is an element of responsibility to this choice. Herbal remedies offers a remarkable, healthy way to heal the body. Unlike Pharmaceutical medicine that involves chemicals and the use of pills, herbal medicine uses the entire plant. For example, to make a tincture, an herbalist will soak roots in alcohol or glycerin for approximately 6-8 weeks. The time frame is crucial because if it is cut short, the medicine may not work appropriately. Using Chinese Medicinal Herbs requires a commitment to follow protocol and conduct personal research that may enhance treatment.