You may be prescribed a Chinese herbal formula, made individually for you, that matches your constitution and is modified for your particular symptoms. You have a choice of what form of herbs you would like to use.
My herbal pharmacy includes “raw” or "bulk" herbs—the actual leaves, roots, and barks of medicinal plants. If you choose this option, you will be given a bag filled with 10-15 different herbs that you will make into a tea at home. The process of cooking the herbs takes about an hour and 45 minutes. You will end up with a jar of tea that you will divide into doses and take twice a day.
Because many people prefer a more convenient way to take herbs, I also have a pharmacy of herbs that come in a powdered extract form. With these powders, I can still make up a formula that is individual to your needs. The powder is dissolved into hot water and taken as a tea twice a day.
For people who for any reason don’t want to drink an herbal tea, my pharmacy also includes pills and tinctures. Although I can’t individualize these formulas, I can often find a good match for you.
Safety of Chinese Herbs
I buy my herbs from reputable manufacturers and distributors who have rigorous testing standards for pesticides, chemicals, and heavy metals.
Many people have concerns about interactions between Western medications and Chinese herbs. Although these are rare, it is important to take the possibility seriously. We don’t have research about the interaction of every herb with every drug, but the amount of research is growing, and practitioners have more and more reference materials available to look up known interactions. We can also get clues about herb safety by knowing what kinds of Western drugs interact with each other and avoiding herbs that may be similar to those drugs, as well as which drugs interact with foods (such as grapefruit), and avoiding herbs that are similar to those foods. I have taken courses in herb drug interactions, and I consult with databases and experts when I have questions.
The great majority of Chinese herbs are not toxic, and are relatively food-like. The classical Chinese formulas have been used for centuries, and so there is a large body of knowledge about how the herbs work or don’t work together. In China, herbal remedies have commonly been used in tandem with Western medications for decades, with very few incidences of safety issues.
Several articles on herb safety and drug interactions are available at www.itmonline.org
White Peony Chinese Medicine/ Laurel Turk, Lic.Ac.
PO Box 43 Sunderland, MA 01375