Chinese Herbal Medicine

If you walk into a Chinese herb shop usually there is a Chinese Herbalist available. They usually don’t charge you a fee if you purchase your herbs there for your illness. Herbs are very important in the Asian community.  Chinese people use herbs to strengthen and balance their body’s Qi. They believe Qi is a person’s life force. When a person’s Qi is weak,  they will get sick. But you don’t have to be ill to use herbs.
A Chinese Herbalist believes when you treat the body, you need to treat the body as a whole. If your lungs are weak, you need to find out what is causing the lungs to be weak. You need to get to the root of the problem instead of just the surface of the problem.

In order to understand Chinese Herbal Medicine, you must understand the Ying and Yang theory. The body attempts to maintain a natural balance between yin and yang. Eating which is necessary for subsistence, is considered yin while the actions of the body itself,  which expends energy, is considered yang. Under normal conditions, when one is without illness, the body is said to be in yin and yang balance.

This is what you should expect when you go visit a Herbalist: He will take your pulse first because the pulse will tell him which of your organs are strong and which ones are weak. He will also analyze your tongue for clues to your sickness. One thing you may not notice your herbalist doing is observing you carefully throughout the visit. Near the end of the first visit, the herbalist will put all the information together and come up with a diagnosis. He will decide the right herbs for you and also how you should take them. It’s up to you to decide how many bags of herbs to purchase. Most people purchase enough bags for one week’s use. Sometimes people buy a clay pot to heat the herbs. Metal pots can make the herbs less effective.

Usually after 1 or 2 weeks of treatment you could feel the difference. But if you don’t feel any improvement after 1 month, it may be time to change to different herbs or even a different herbalist.

 Humans have been using herbs to cure their ills since ancient times. For example, traces of Ma Huang (ephedra)- a Chinese herb used in asthma treatments and the source of our modern drug ephedrine-have been found in Iraqui tombs dating back 60,000 years. Chinese tradition dates the use of herbal remedies back to around 3000 BC. The Divine Farmer, Shen Nong, is credited with both tasting hundreds of herbs to identify their therapeutic properties and teaching the early Chinese the basics of agriculture and husbandry. His great herbal text, the Shen Nong Ben Cao Jiang, lists 365 medicinal products including herbs, minerals, and animals products. Today these same remedies still form the basis of many Chinese prescriptions that have continued in an almost unbroken tradition for at least 5,000 years.
Here are some of the many books the Seattle Public Library has to offer about Chinese herbs: ~ Chuck K.

Secrets of Chinese Herbal Medicine



A Manual of Chinese Herbal Medicine: Principle and Practice for Easy Reference



How to Treat Yourself with Chinese Herbs




Chinese Herbal Formulas for Women Only


An Illustrated Dictionary of Chinese Medicinal Herbs

Natural Remedies from the Chinese Cupboard: Healing Foods and Herbs

Thorsons principles of Chinese Herbal Medicine

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