Chinese Medicine Lakewood

Chinese Herbal Medicine

History of Chinese herbal medicine

The rich history of Chinese Herbal Medicine (CHM) dates back over 6,000 years to when the first authoritative documentation of CHM was produced by Shen Nong. Recognized world wide as the Father of Medicine, Shen Nong meticulously ate, sat with, and recorded the various tastes, temperatures, toxicities, dosages, and medical actions of 365 various herbs. These records were used to produce the Shen Nong Ben Cao (the Divine Farmer’s Material Medica).  This book is considered to be one of three foundational books of Chinese medicine, and it laid the ground work for all the future knowledge in Chinese herbalism.

Today, the understandings produced by Shen Nong have since been added to, expanded upon, and deeper researched to produce a text called the Chinese Materia Medica. Utilizing an array of naturally occurring products (such as flowers, barks, minerals, etc…) the Materia Medica today is composed of over 1,800 distinct herbs and more than 10,000 formulas. It is required reading for all Chinese herbalists to become proficient at Western medical perspectives, and to understand the sources, production, and quality control of Chinese herbal medicine.

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Do all acupuncturists use Chinese herbal medicine?

Most acupuncture schools offer two different degrees: a 3-year Acupuncture degree and a 4-year Acupuncture and Chinese Herbal Medicine degree. All of the acupuncturists in our clinic have completed the full 4-year herbal program and are proficient at prescribing Chinese herbal medicine to our patient base. While acupuncture alone is amazing at helping to balance our patients, Chinese herbal medicine is often essential for creating profound effects. When appropriate, we will always recommend custom herbal formulas to our patients to enhance the effect of the treatment and/or help support the patient between regular acupuncture maintenance treatments.

Chinese Herbal Medicine

Chinese herbal medicine can be used both internally or externally, depending on what is most appropriate  for each patient. Often, topicals are recommended to accommodate pain management presentations, whereas herbal formulas taken internally are particularly useful in adjusting bodily functions. The overwhelming majority of herbal formulas are only used on a short-term or on an as-needed (PRN) basis. The goal with any herbal formula is to help balance out any symptomatic issues while also addressing the root cause of the issue. Think of Chinese herbal formulas less like vitamin supplements that usually are taken long-term, and more like short-term mechanisms that help your body find its balance until it can sustain that homeostasis on its own.

We have found that in the fast-paced world we live in today, easy to digest capsules or tea pills are typically the preferred form by our patients when taking internal formulas. Having the convenience of having a pill form mitigates or lessens the “earthy taste” of the formulas and adds a level of convenience over raw teas or granular formulas. For adolescents and for patients that do not take pills well, we usually carry tinctures that are usually mixed with glycerine to provide a simple and easy to use form that is easier to ingest. All of our formulas are from United States based companies that use certified Good Manufacturing Practice (GMP) factories, and laboratory test each herbal formula for microbiological contaminants, heavy metals, and pesticides.

Unlike that of Western medicine, Chinese herbal medicine doesn’t treat disease – it treats the patterns and the patients as a whole. When a person comes in, we do a thorough intake to understand the person holistically, determine and differentiate the root pattern of their ailment, and treat the imbalances from there. Five different patients may come into our clinic with a cold, and yet all five may need a different formula based on the unique symptoms and constitution of the patient themselves. This is where the beauty of Chinese herbal medicine truly shines. We are able to customize a formula that not only addresses the symptoms, but also addresses the root cause of the symptoms and the human body as a whole. This will oftentimes result in patients reporting improvement in other areas of their overall health.

Prior to starting a formula, the practitioner will discuss with you the actions, dosage, and time frame to take the formula. As mentioned before,  unlike that of Western prescriptions, the formulas prescribed are frequently for short term use and modified specifically for each individual. This prescription model not only adds an additional level of safety, it allows us to adjust formulas as frequently as needed if the condition or symptoms begin to change.

Negative side effects are very rare when taking Chinese herbal formulas. The most common side effect that we will encounter is some mild stomach discomfort when taking particular formulas. We usually encourage patients to take the majority of herbal formulas on an empty stomach because we want your body to absorb as much of the formula as possible. However, if we know that a particular formula will be easier on the stomach with food, we will instruct you of that at the time of your treatment. Toxicity in Chinese herbal formulas is VERY rare and is usually only found when unusually large doses of herbs are taken long-term. Rest assured that these toxic levels will not be attained as long as you take the formulas under the dosing guidelines that we provide you.

We stock herbal formulas from various companies, but these are the formulas that are most popular amongst our patient base (in no particular order):

  • Spirit Pearls by Clinical Pearls – this is our favorite sleep formula. Patients who take this report the best sleep that they have ever had in their lives – they fall asleep quickly and wake up in the morning feeling well rested to start their day.
  • Adaptocrine by Apex Energetics – This formulated is comprised of adaptogenic herbs that counter the metabolic effect of stress and support the body through hypothalamic-pituitary-adrenal adaptation. In short, it helps your body deal with daily stress and helps balance your energy levels.
  • Cold Nip by Six Persimmons– This is our top selling cold formula. Developed by an herbal pharmacy in Boulder (CO), this formula combines three of Chinese medicine’s top cold formulas, along with an array of amazing anti-viral herbs. This formula helps you get over colds FAST!
  • Lion Trauma Liniment by Shuhari Herbs – this is our top external topical formula developed by an herbalist here in Colorado. It is a combination of two of Chinese medicine’s top herbal formulas: one is a martial artist formula that helps heal ailments in the muscles/tendons and the other a formula that gets deeper into the bone and cartilage level to help patients recover after more serious injuries.
  • Xiao Yao San – nicknamed the “Chill the F’ Out” formula in our clinic, this formula helps ease daily stress, supports your digestive system, and can also help to balance the menstrual cycle for women.
  • Cold Snap by The OHCO Company – this formula is made here in Lafayette (CO). You will often recognize it from the shelves of any natural food grocery store. It is comprised of twenty herbs that help strengthen your immune system during cold and flu season (instead of stimulating your body to induce a response). This is a must-have for parents with children in school or for those who travel frequently on planes.
  • OHCO Motion – made by the OHCO company, this formula helps with blood flow, circulation, and healing in the lower half of the body (lower back, hips, knees, and feet) after injury or can be taken regularly with general aches/pains with overuse.
  • OHCO Flow – similar to the OHCO Motion formula listed above, this formula instead caters to ailments in the upper body (neck, jaw, shoulders, elbows, wrists, and hands).