Chinese Herbal Medicine

Herbs & Traditional Chinese Medicine

The most important part in what makes the use of herbal medicine special in Traditional Chinese Medicine is in how the herbs are applied and selected for use. It is the theory of TCM that is the deciding factor on which herbs are selected for a complaint. As an example we discuss headaches. A headache is not just a headache in TCM. There are more than 5 basic syndromes that can be the cause of a headache. Each one of these syndromes will have different herbs put together to create a specific formula to address the complaint of a headache. The process of gathering enough information about a complaint to put together the right pattern is the basis of how to select the right herbs.

Herbal Safety

The biggest hesitation we hear from patients is the concern over the quality of the herbs used in TCM. Not the quality related to potency but more concerns around any unwanted materials such as heavy metals, pesticides or other toxic substances. People are growing more concerned about the sourcing of the products they consume.  We all know the environment is filled with substances that we would rather not have in our bodies and therefore avoiding exposure is a good place to start. All of these concerns can be addressed by understanding the herbal industry.
The first step in the process starts with farming. Most herbs are grown in China while others are grown around the world. Each farmer grows a certain type of herb based on the climate and region they are in. The farming of the herbs is regulated by herb manufacturing facilities. Farmers are not just selected by what they grow but also by what they use in their production of growing. Pesticides and other additives are not used in the growing process by farmers who are looking to produce for herbal manufacturers. The herbal manufacturers have standards that are regulated by GMP and other regulatory bodies.
The first step is to confirm the correct species for authenticity. Once complete, the manufacturer begins processing the herbs into the various forms used by TCM practitioners. At this point herbs are tested for all substances that are unsafe such as heavy metals, pesticides and other substances.