How are Herbs Used?

Herbal medicine is by itself a powerful method of healing. Western drugs
are usually used to control symptoms but do not alter the disease process.
For example: antibiotics kill bacteria but do not improve a person’s
resistance to infection; diuretics drain excess fluid from the body but do
not improve the kidney function. Chinese herbs can also rid the body of
disease but they also nourish and balance the body in very specific ways,
thereby improving organ function and building up a person’s constitution
and immune system.

Chinese herbs are traditionally given as a very strong tea. The
acupuncturist will give the patient several bags of herbs. Each bag
contains a formula of about 12 or so raw herbs that has been prepared
specifically for the patient and his or her condition. The patient then
prepares the herbs at home by boiling them in water for about a half an
hour. The benefit of this method is that the formula can be customized to
the patient’s particular condition. The acupuncturist may prescribe herbal
pills, powders or tinctures instead because these are more convenient.
However, the raw herbs are usually stronger and always more adaptable.