The benefits of Chinese Herbal Medicine have been used for centuries. Starting in China, this traditional therapy started where herbs are considered a fundamental therapy for a variety of conditions, both acute and chronic. 

Along with acupuncture, chinese herbs work to uncover the body’s unhealthy patterns that may be causing an array of underlying problems. The benefits of Chinese herbal therapy are used to help one balance their body and strengthen its resistance to diseases.

At Augusta Acupuncture Clinic, we’ve included Chinese Herbal Medicine as an important tier in our medical practice. Let us further explain why!

What Does Chinese Herbal Medicine Treat?

Firstly, Traditional Chinese Medicine treatments aim to correct imbalances in the body and primarily work in three major ways:

  • Addressing a patient’s external factors and environment
  • Helping patients relate to their internal emotions in a healthier way, including managing stress
  • Improving someone’s lifestyle factors, including diet and exercise routine

Alongside all of these benefits of Chinese herbal medicine, it may also show value after receiving cancer treatment. Aiding in recovery of the body that has received side effects from chemotherapy, or radiation.

 Chinese herbs:

  • Decrease cold/flu symptoms 
  • Increase your energy 
  • Improve your breathing 
  • Support healthy digestion 
  • Healthier sleeping patterns
  • Decrease pain 
  • Improve menopausal symptoms 
  • Help regulate menstrual cycles (if infertility is an issue) 

Also, Chinese herbs are useful during rehabilitation from chronic diseases. When you’re suffering from multiple symptoms that are difficult to get to the bottom of. Maybe even run out of options traditional medical treatments provide: still nothing seems to help. Chinese herbs may do the trick.

Lastly, Chinese herbal medicine is known to be helpful when you need support while coming off prescription medications. This process can usually cause harsh side effects. As well as being a beneficial asset of preventive medicine.

Acupuncture Treatment

Being a part of a much larger healing system, Chinese Herbal Medicine also includes other practices. Such as: acupuncture, massage, dietary advice and even exercise. 

This traditional medicine practice has become more popular over the years. With almost 3 million patients seeking out care from these Herbal Medicine Practitioners each year.

Chinese herbs are prescribed to normalise imbalanced energy, or Qi (pronounced ‘chee’), that runs through invisible meridians in the body. Whether or not the philosophy is believed, studies have shown Chinese herbal medicines to be successful in treating a range of disorders. Particularly gynaecological and gastrointestinal disorders (Winchester).

Who can benefit most from Chinese herbal medicines?

Chinese herbs focus on helping correct dysfunction of certain organs and unhealthy body patterns. The goal of herbal therapy is to bring the body back into a state of homeostasis (balance) and restore proper energy (also called Qi).

Herbs treat patients with many different symptoms. These include:

  • frequent colds or the flu
  • fatigue
  • chronic respiratory issues
  • infertility
  • allergies
  • chronic pain
  • anxiety or depression
  • trouble sleeping
  • menopausal symptoms
  • and even people recovering from cancer or chemotherapy

Some scenarios make a patient a good candidate for herbal therapy. These include: having more than one unexplained symptom, feeling fatigued on top of having other symptoms, not responding well to medications or experiencing side effects, feeling anxious or depressed, in addition to having other symptoms.

Principles of Chinese Herbal Medicine

When it comes to the study of Chinese herbal medicine, the spectrum of information and practices are almost too vast to consume in one article. The medical system is large, so following is only a basic introduction.

The principles of Chinese herbal medicine follow what could be described as: health existing when the body is balanced and it’s energy freely flowing.

By energy, we’re referring to the Qi. Which can be described as the life energy that is known to move the body. When we say balance, we’re referring to the only relative factors of yin and yang; the classic Taoist opposing forces of the universe. 

Yin and yang can find their expression in multiple sources, such as: 

  • Cold vs. Heat
  • Dampness vs. Dryness
  • Descending vs. Ascending
  • At Rest vs. Active
  • Full vs. Empty

Perfect balance found in all parts of the body is the ideal state of yin and yang. When in their different forms, is . However, any external or internal factors may disrupt the balance. That is what leads to disease, or illness. 

Treatment with Chinese Herbs

The diagnosis and treatment of Chinese herbal medicine begins with identifying unbalanced factors. Then bringing them back into a balanced state.

The diagnosis can be carried out by what is called “listening” to the body’s pulse. Which could be described as taking it with extreme sensitive care. Also while observing any other parts of the body and fully answering all questions about the patient’s body.

When it comes to the diagnosis in Chinese herbal medicine, it’s important to know they are far from the common western diagnosis. 

Herbal formulas commonly practiced in this herbal medicine, consist of four separate herb categories, including:

  • Ministerial
  • Deputy
  • Assistant
  • Envoy

Ministerial herbs address the principal/pattern of the disease. Deputy herbs then assist the ministerial herb, or address any coexisting conditions. Assistant herbs are designed to reduce any side effects of the first two classes of herbs and send herbs direct the therapy to a particular part of the body.

What Are the Chinese Herbal Medicine Benefits?

1. Lowers Inflammation and Might Offer Increased Cancer Protection

Firstly, the Journal of Traditional & Complementary Medicine reported this. That Traditional Chinese Medicine practices, including herbal treatments can have positive “antioxidant, anti-inflammatory, anti-apoptotic and autophagic regulatory functions.” 

This translates to lowered levels of oxidative stress and inflammation, thereby protecting cells, tissues and organs from long-term disease development. Inflammation is at the root of most diseases and tied to the majority of common health problems. That’s including cancer, heart disease, autoimmune disorders, cognitive impairment and diabetes.

TCM treatments, including acupuncture, acupressure and herbal treatments, can also help patients overcome a variety of harmful lifestyle habits. All related to inflammation, such as cigarette smoking, overeating, resisting chronic pain, chronic stress and alcohol-induced liver damage. 

Therefore, certain treatments are capable of lowering the body’s “fight-or-flight” stress response. Which helps patients manage the effects of chronic stress — which can include poor sleep and hormonal imbalances.

Several herbal remedies that have been found to help lower oxidative stress include: Medicinal mushrooms, including reishi and cordyceps: promote stronger immunity, help fight fatigue, have anticancer properties, help balance hormones and control the body’s stress response.

2. Reduces Chronic Pain and Headaches

Two of the most popular TCM treatments for managing pain are acupuncture and acupressure. 

Acupuncture is a practice that is more than 3,500 years old. Patients who are looking to alleviate certain things most often embrace this. Like chronic headaches, pain due to arthritis, neck or back pain. Plus many other symptoms related to injuries or stress too.

Studies have found that acupuncture, especially when combined with other Traditional Chinese Medicine methods like tai chi and a healthy diet, can be valuable. Non-pharmacological tools for patients suffering from frequent chronic tension headaches. 

3. Balances Hormones and Improves Fertility

To explain, research suggests that certain “adaptogen” Chinese herbal medicines contain antioxidants and anti-inflammatory compounds that can change the way that nerves transmit messages to the brain, improving various functions within the endocrine and central nervous systems. 

This helps naturally improve the body’s healing abilities and helps balance hormones — including cortisol, insulin, testosterone and estrogen.

4. Improves Liver Health

Herbal medicine and nutrition are important aspects of TCM. Since a poor diet can directly contribute to liver damage — and the liver is one of the focal organs in Eastern medicine. 

The Traditional Chinese Medicine World Foundation explains: TCM views the liver as “the organ responsible for the smooth flow of emotions as well as Qi and blood. It is the organ that is most affected by excess stress or emotions.” 

TCM therefore draws a link between liver damage and illnesses. Like obesity, fatigue, indigestion, emotional stress, trouble sleeping and much more.

A diet and herbal treatment plan that follows Traditional Chinese Medicine guidelines is one that’s very similar to eating an alkaline diet. Helping to restore the body’s proper pH and preventing deficiencies of key minerals. 

5. Other Factors

Lastly, stress reduction, exercise, sleeping proper amounts and many herbal medicines are used to treat patient’s liver problems. By doing this, acupressure massage can also be used to stimulate the liver, improve blood flow and relieve tension caused by stress.

In return, foods that can help improve liver health, fight liver disease and improve detoxification include raw and fresh vegetables (especially dark leafy greens), herbs and spices like garlic and ginger, healthy fats, and sweet potatoes. 

Alcohol, processed carbohydrates, sugary snacks or drinks, synthetic ingredients, fried foods, and refined oils or fats are all damaging to the liver and therefore usually reduced or eliminated when working with a TCM practitioner (DrAxe).

Dr. Sherrell’s Training in Herbal Medicine

Finally, formally trained in Acupuncture and Chinese Medicine, Dr. Sherrell earned a four year, 3000 hour Masters of Science in Oriental Medicine degree from Southwest Acupuncture College in Boulder, CO. 

He then obtained his Transitional-Doctorate in Acupuncture and Chinese Medicine. From Pacific College of Oriental Medicine and has been practicing for over 10 years. Dr. Sherrell’s speciality medical training includes a variety of Acupuncture and Chinese Medicine, including herbal medicine practice. 

Now, ready to find the benefits of Chinese herbal medicine yourself? Contact Dr. Sherrell and the team at Augusta Acupuncture Clinic today!