What is Chinese herbal medicine?

Chinese herbal medicine, like acupuncture, is based on Chinese medicine theories. Many Chinese herbs you may be already using in day to day life include licorice, ginger, cinnamon and star anise but Chinese herbs include an enormous variety of unusual leaves, flowers, fruits, roots, bark, peels and many other substances with different medicinal properties. Like Chinese dietary medicine, Chinese herbal medicines are selected according to their energetic properties, that is for example whether they make your feel warm of cold, dry or moisten, move upwards (eg. make you feel awake) or downwards (eg. laxative properties). Many Chinese herbs are also borrowed by western herbalists such as ginseng, dang gui (dong quai) and paeonia. Chinese herbs also are made up of chemical constituents which can explain some of their actions on the body in a western physiological sense. It was the traditional use of a Chinese herb that helped a researcher develop a Malaria medicine and win a Nobel Prize for Medicine.

Chinese herbs are most often used as part of a formula. Mostly a minimum of four herbs are combined to form a holistic formula to address symptoms and the underlying Chinese medicine diagnosis. Most of these formulas are hundreds if not almost 2000 years old and have been tested repeatedly by many Chinese herbalist for many years.

How do you take Chinese herbal medicine?

Chinese herbal medicines can be taken in varying forms. Raw herbs can be boiled at home into a decoction (or strong herbal soup) to be taken. Some patients find that the herbs are very strong tasting and don’t have time to cook up the raw herbs so at Acupuncture Emporium & Natural Therapy Centre we have two convenient methods for our patients to take their herbs:

  1. Granules – these are granulated herbs which can be mixed with hot water into a tea. You’ll still taste and smell the herbs (which has a therapeutic effect in itself) however you won’t need to cook them up. Our practitioners who are registered Chinese Herbalists can also adapt your granule formulas to be more specific to your individual presentation.
  2. Capsules and pillules – the Chinese herbs have been encapsulated so that they can be easily washed down with water. You won’t notice any strong flavours or smells, they are easy to swallow and you will get the benefit of taking the herbs.

What is a registered Chinese herbalist?

Today in Australia, Chinese herbalists must be registered with the Australian Health Practitioner Regulation Agency (AHPRA). Anyone not registered with AHPRA as a Chinese herbalist, cannot use the title of ‘Chinese herbalist’. To be eligible for registration, your Chinese herbalist must complete an approved Bachelor degree program with hundreds of hours of supervised clinical Chinese herbal practice. This ensures you, as the patient, are in well trained hands.

Call 03 5909 0040 for more information or to make an appointment at clinic.