Chinese Herbal Prescriptions
The Chinese culture, both ancient and modern, has been developing the art and science of herbal formulas, or prescriptions, for more than 3,000 years. The Chinese medicine practitioners at Live Well have received extensive training in classical herbology and include herbal prescriptions in many, if not most, of their treatment plans.
At Live Well, we prepare your personalized, individual herbal prescription from our own herbal dispensary. Using the whole herbs, dried or fresh, our licensed acupuncturists create individual herbal formulas or recipes for their patients’ treatment and care. We also carry easy-to-use herbal granules as well as several ready-made herbal pills.
Every one of our herbal medicine products is of the very highest quality, organic when possible, and in all cases tested for impurities.
There are three main uses of Chinese herbal formulas:
Treat acute conditions such as viruses, bacterial infections, pain and trauma.
Chronic conditions and long-term disease. This is normally accomplished by treating a core deficiency or blockage.
Health maintenance and preventive medicine.
Chinese herbal medicine is based on the tenets of classical Chinese medical theory. It is a science with ancient roots in concepts such as yin and yang, as well as the five phases of creation and control. For a deeper discussion on Chinese Medicine Theory and the history of Chinese medicine in general, please click here. [*link to discussion of CM tenets and history]
Many of the herbs in Chinese medicine are considered foods, such as ginger, mung beans, shitake mushrooms, rice and cinnamon, while others such as ginseng, astragalus and angelica are more specifically medical in their use. Some minerals, such as oyster shell and gypsum, are used, as well as a number of animal based products such as deer antler and gelatin. All products prescribed at Live Well are sourced for quality, purity and ethical harvest. By no means will you find any endangered or chemically tainted products in our dispensary.
The advantages of Chinese herbal medicine are many:
Specificity - the particular combination of herbs in a personalized prescription means that the herbs are designed for you and only you. This way, we can get very specific with our treatment plan as it pertains to your needs.
Side Effect Reduction - there are few side effects of herbal medicine, if applied properly. Occasionally prescriptions will need to be adjusted if a patient experiences any unlikely adverse effects, or if there is possibility of any herb-drug interactions.
Chronic Disease Management - given that the herbs are NOT drugs in the processed, concentrated sense, they can be taken over longer periods without damage to the internal organs. Because most herbs are not damaging to the liver and kidneys, they may be taken long-term without fear of weakening the bodily systems. They tend to be much more cost-effective than expensive pharmaceuticals as well.
*pregnancy is a special situation. Many herbs are restricted in their use during this time, but herbal prescriptions can be very beneficial support for the expectant mother.
How are herbs taken?
Whole Herb Decoction - At Live Well we encourage the use of bulk, whole herbs from our dispensary, for their strength and lower cost. We provide detailed instructions on how to simmer your herbs into a tea for drinking, along with dosages and schedules. There is medicinal benefit in preparing your medicine at home, and if you have time for it, home decoction is the best way to take your prescription. We encourage active engagement in your treatment.
Herbal Granules – For folks without good kitchen access such as travelers, or for whom the time to decoct bulk herbs is simply unavailable, convenient herbal granules are prescribed which can be dissolved in hot water as necessary.
Patent pills – Often we will prescribe a formula that we have in ready-made pill form.
Medicinal Tinctures – Live Well carries and continues to develop several kinds of herbal medicines in liquid form. Keep an eye out in the near future for our “Yin and Tonic” brand of handmade herbal elixirs!
It is very important that instructions are followed regarding dosages and the timing of those doses. Herbal medicine is powerful and effective, and must be treated with respect and diligence, just like any other medicine.
*Any pharmaceutical drugs being taken MUST also be disclosed to your acupuncturist as there will be some cases where certain Chinese herbs should be avoided to prevent herb-drug interactions.