Herbal therapy, next to dietary therapy, is perhaps the most widely used Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM) treatment modality. TCM relies on herbal therapies to bring the body back to homeostasis or balance. Herbal therapy can be beneficial in breaking patterns of disease within the body and restoring it to a healthy function.
How do TCM practitioners use formulations? TCM practitioners most often use two or more substances in Chinese medicinal formulations to create a balanced, synergistic effect that reflects the holistic nature of the diagnosis. Although there are literally thousands of traditional herbal formulas for just about every condition, a formula is almost always modified by the TCM practitioner to suit the pattern of disease and is very highly specific to the person. Herbal Therapy is very beneficial in conjunction with Acupuncture therapy.
Chinese medicinal formulations are prepared in a number of different ways:
Chinese herbal decoctions. The most traditional method of preparing an herbal formula in China, decoctions can involve lengthy preparation and result in "teas" infamous for their strong taste and aroma. For these reasons decoctions are not as popular or as widely used in the west.
Herbal powders, which can be dissolved in hot water to make a tea, are more convenient to prepare and use, and are not as pungent as traditional decoctions.
Chinese Patent Formulas are pre-made herbal formulations in pill or tablet form and are perhaps the most widely used and convenient form of Chinese herbal medicine outside of China.
Syrups, which are soothing preparations for coughs and sore throat, are also a convenient way to administer herbal formulations to children.
Liniments, salves, compresses and plasters, which are used for external application.