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Chinese Herbal Medicine

Chinese Herbal Medicine in Vancouver

Chinese herbal medicine is a powerful method for treating and preventing disease and imbalance. It is part of a larger system of healthcare – Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM) – whose origins date back about 5000 years, making it one of the oldest health care systems in our existence.  Think about that for a second.  Back then, it wasn’t Chinese herbal medicine, or even Chinese medicine; it was just referred to as medicine.  There were no laboratories, no “test mice”.  One can imagine that many a doctor (and perhaps their families) suffered in the development of herbal medicine in their quest to find out what works and – sometimes dramatically – what doesn’t.

The modern application of Chinese herbal medicine has evolved, but the basic premise remains the same: it is a natural and holistic system of healthcare, used all over the world to effectively treat a wide range of acute and chronic health concerns.

Holistic Health Care

Chinese herbal medicine takes an holistic approach to your health, and works with the processes of both disease and normal function to restore and maintain balance.  How an illness presents itself often varies, based on the person, the underlying factors within that person and external factors such as environment and climate.  This is all taken into consideration when designing an herbal formula for your condition, and is adjusted as your condition changes and improves.

Most diseases or illnesses present with a core set of recognisable signs and symptoms, but the actual presentation of a particular disease or illness will vary from person to person. For this reason, people with similar health conditions may be provided with quite different Chinese herbal medicine prescriptions.

What’s in an Herbal Formula?

Each chinese medicinal has natural properties such as flavour, temperature, directional nature and a tendency to work on specific organ systems and pathways. All parts of a plant are considered for use: root, rhizome, stem, branch, bark, leaf, and flower; each part can have a different function. Herbs with similar, complementary and sometimes contrary properties are combined to create a formula according to the patterns of disharmony that are presented based on your signs and symptoms.

It is a bit of a misnomer to refer to these all of these substances as herbs, because many of them are not derived from plants, but from insects, sea-life, minerals, and occasionally animal.  There are approximately 500 herbs commonly used today. Chinese medicinals that have fallen on the endangered list – plant or otherwise – are routinely removed from the approved list and replaced with something that has a similar function.

All our herbs come from reputable manufacturers that are certified GMP (Good Manufacturing Processes). We prescribe herbs primarily in granule or tablet formats.  If your situation warrants it, raw herbs may be prescribed. Occasionally, we will prescribe herbs that you can get fresh on your own, such as garlic, ginger, cinnamon or orange peel.

What conditions does Chinese herbal medicine treat?

Chinese herbal medicine can provide effective treatment for a wide range of health imbalances, as well as assisting with general health maintenance. By strengthening and enhancing normal body functions, the immune system is boosted and a general sense of well-being is promoted. In our clinic, Chinese herbal medicine is often used to treat:

  • Anxiety, depression and stress
  • Insomnia and fatigue
  • Fertility and pre-conception care
  • Peri-menopause and menopause
  • Common digestive disorders
  • Irritable bowel syndrome
  • Common cold and influenza
  • Chronic headaches
  • Allergies
  • Menstruation disorders

Chinese herbal medicine is often used in conjunction with acupuncture to facilitate the healing process by promoting circulation of qi and blood, relieving pain, and nourishing the body so it can deal with daily activities.

Book an appointment with Cary Rendek to learn more about how Chinese herbal medicine can work for you.