For thousands of years, the Chinese possessed the widest and longest knowledge with variety of herbs overlapping any other nations in the world. Traditional Chinese Medicine(TCM) contains the principle of treating the human body and mind as a spiritual whole.
The Principle of TCM
The Chinese believe that the body is a part of Nature. One of the key beliefs is to search for the primary cause of the disease. Strengthening the body is another key idea, as the Chinese believe that one should build up resistance and therefore eliminate pathogenic factors. The Chinese believe that it is imperative for a person to maitain inner harmony and the regulation of Qi energy in order to balance YIN and YANG. Treatment is in accordance with seasonal condition. For example, in Spring and Summer, the usage of detoxify methods is more abundant. For Autumn and Winter more tonic and warm treatments are used for speeding up circulation to maintain health and well-being. The Chinese believe that maintaining the body in a "balance state" can achieve health and prevent disease.
YIN and YANG?
Traditional Chinese Medicine has been established on the basis of the philosophical YIN-YANG balance theory. The core of this theory is that all aspect of the natural world can be seen as having a dual aspect, for example, day and night, brightness and darkness, movement and stillness, upward and downward direction, heat and cold,etc. The terms YIN and YANG are applied to express these dual and opposite qualities. Water and fire are symbols of YIN and YANG, and represent the two primaries opposite aspects of a contradiction. Based on the properties of water and fire, everything in the natural environment may be classified as either YIN(water) or YANG(fire). The normal vital activities of the human body are also baced on the coordination of YIN and YANG in a unity of opposition. YIN and YANG depend on each other. In this way, YIN and YANG within the human body are mutually supportive. The body is delicate balance of YIN and YANG. The two are polar opposites and becauce of this, one must be present to allow the other to exist. The balance of YING and YANG determines the state of the body. When there is an imbalance within the body, external agents can invade the body and cause disease. These external agents are called pathogens. As the natural forces of the body return to a normal balance the disease is then cured.
TCM considers that the occurrence of disease results from the loss of relation balance between YIN and YANG. Although the pathological changes that occur in disease are complicated and subjects to change, they can be generalized and explained by " imbalance of YIN and YANG", either excessive syndromes of YIN/YANG or deficient syndromes of YIN/YANG. Both lead to one relatively high or low to each other. So the treatment should be the boost for deficient syndrome, the reduction for excessive syndrome. The properties of chinese herbs can also be classified as YIN and YANG. TCM treats the problems by using herbs with the properties opposite to YIN and YANG.
How does Chinese herbal medicine work?
Chinese herbal medicine takes a holistis approach to treatment, working on body as a whole rather than the individual symptoms. A patient's symptoms are an indication of an imbalance somewhere else in the body and herbs are recommended to detocify the body, encourge circulation of the blood, improve the immune system, and enhance the function of the internal organs or boost energy levels, according to the particular symptoms. When body functions are restored to normal, the symptoms will subside.
How Chinese herbs are prescribed?
Chinese medicine uses over thousand kinds of herbs, mostly of plant origin ( roots, seeds, flowers, leaves, twigs and barks). These are hardly ever prescribed singly. They are combined into a formula, which usually contains between 8-15 different herbs.The exact combination is made to suit the patient's individual condition, and is likely to be altered as the treatment progresses to take account of changes that have occurred. It is therefore a very flexible system, which can be closely tailor- made to the needs of the individual. The prescribed mixture of herbs is usually prepared by the patient as a decoction (boiled and then simmered in water) and taken twice a day. Consultations will be on average once a week, and you will be given enough herbs to last till next appointment. In addition external treatments (oiltment, washes, soaks) may be prescribed for skin problems.
How to prepare herbal decoction
* For Drinking--one bag of herbal medicine can be used for one day
1. Open the bag of herbs and put the mixed row herbs into a deep stainless steel, non-stick saucepan.
2. Add approximate 1 pint (about 3 mugs) of cold water. Leave to soak for 15-20minutes.
3. Bring to boil for 1 minutes. Lower heat.
4. Simmer for 30 minutes until about 1 cup of liquid is left.
5. Drain the liquid into a cup. It is now ready to drink.
(Do not throw away the herbs yet, the same herbs can be re-boiled again for second drink)
6. To prepare second drink
Add 2 mugs of cold water, bring to boil and simmer for 15 minutes until 1 cup of liquid is left. Drain the liquid into a cup to second drink and then throw the herbs away.
7. Please drink this tea twice a day. morning and evening. It's better to take the tea about 30-60 minutes after meal and drink it warm.
8. Many of our patients find it difficult to drink the herbal tea decoction at the beginning, because it tasted bitter and doesn't smell nice, feel sick. But after two or three days, they will gradually get use to it, and it will become easier. But if they still find it too bitter to drink, you can add some honey in it.
** For External wash--one bag of herbal medicine can be used for two days
1. Put one bag of herbs into a deep pan.
2. Add 3 pints(about 9 cups or more) of cold water. Leave to soak for 20 minutes.
3. Bring to boil for 1 minute. Lower heat.
4. Simmer for 30 minutes and get some herbal decoction.
5. Dain the liquid into a container, wait until it cools down to lukewarm.
6. Use it to wash(or soak) the affected area, twice a day, 15 minutes each time. (The second time, you need to heat the liquid and make it warm and use it)
7. Don't throw the herbs away yet, the same herbs can be boiled again for the second day. Do same job as before.
8. After washing, leave it on to dry up. then apply a very thin layer of the herbal cream or herbal oiltment on the affected area. Use your finger to do gentle rubbing for about 5 minutes.