How are Herbs Used?
Herbal medicine is by itself a powerful method of healing. Western drugs
are usually used to control symptoms but do not alter the disease process.
For example: antibiotics kill bacteria but do not improve a person's
resistance to infection; diuretics drain excess fluid from the body but do
not improve the kidney function. Chinese herbs can also rid the body of
disease but they also nourish and balance the body in very specific ways,
thereby improving organ function and building up a person's constitution
and immune system.
Chinese herbs are traditionally given as a very strong tea. The
acupuncturist gives the patient several bags of herbs. Each bag
contains a formula of a variety of raw herbs that has been prepared
specifically for the patient and his or her condition. The patient then
prepares the herbs at home by boiling them in water. The benefit of this method is that taking the formula as a tea is the most direct and effective way to take the herbs. Often, however, patients opt to take their herbs in pill, powder or tincture form. These versions of the formula are already decocted (boiled) and offer an effective and convenient alternative to raw formulations.