Herbal and nutritional supplementation
General Uses and Purposes. Therapeutic preparations of herbs from the Chinese Medical Pharmacopeia have been used for thousands of years in East Asia. Extensive research has been conducted in East Asia regarding the pharmacologic properties of many Chinese herbs and formulas. In the United States, traditional Chinese herbal formulas are classified as “dietary supplements” by the Unites States Food and Drug Administration (USFDA). Herbs are recommended as dietary supplements by this clinic based on solely on their indications and properties as known in Traditional Chinese Medical (TCM) herbology.
TCM herbs work synergistically with acupuncture modalities to restore normal physiologic functioning, so that the body’s self-healing capacities are optimized. Patients taking TCM herbal prescriptions as part of a course of treatment thus typically experience improvement in symptoms as part of overall restoration of health and well-being.
Prescriptions and Refills. Traditional Chinese Medicine prescribes herbs on the basis of each patient’s unique patterns of signs and symptoms. Herb formulas are often modified or replaced as signs and symptoms change during a course of treatment. For example, a formula prescribed to a patient who complains of sharp, stabbing low back pain and who exhibits a dark reddish-purple tongue, may not be appropriate for another patient with low back pain but with a different tongue presentation–or even for the same patient if the tongue has become pink with a thin white coat.
Just as with pharmaceuticals, proper prescription of Chinese herbs for patients with medical complaints requires professional training and study. However, many traditional Chinese dietary supplements are now also available “over-the-counter” (OTC) at €œhealth-food€ or supplement stores or over the internet. This has lead to many patients self-prescribing Chinese herbs.
While most OTC Chinese herbs are relatively safe, they are only intended for temporary relief of minor symptoms, or where long-term use of stronger medications is contra-indicated (similar to OTC pharmaceuticals in the West, such as aspirin).
Patients seeking Chinese herbal therapy for medical and psychiatric conditions are advised to contact a professional, qualified acupuncturist or herbalist. Taking dietary supplements without medical supervision may not yield intended benefits, and may have adverse health consequences.
Possible Side-Effects. Within the practice of Traditional Chinese Medicine, the ingredients, indications, safety, cautions, side-effects, and contraindications of herb formulas are well-known and understood. Documented side effects are uncommon with traditional Chinese herbal therapy, and are typically limited to mild and transient indigestion or skin rashes.
Quality Control.Chinese herbal formulas are now available which exceed the U.S. Pharmacopeia’s pharmaceutical-grade “Good Manufacturing Practices” standards. GMP-certified products contain only verified ingredients as labeled and in the amounts described, are screened against contamination from bacteria, chemical pollutants, or heavy metals, and are free from preservatives or adulteration with pharmaceutical drugs. Herbs are verified for species authenticity, potency and purity. This clinic uses only GMP-certified and endangered species-free products.