Chinese herbs have been used for many centuries in Traditional Chinese Medicine. These ancient medical therapy formulations were passed on by word of mouth for generations. Amazingly, they are comprised of more than 5,700 substances. Plants, animals, and minerals are used in Chinese herbal therapy. They are delivered via teas, granules, patents, and tinctures. They make a substantial difference for many of our Portland patients.
Our practitioners who make use of Chinese herbs are familiar with most of the 1,800 herbs in the Chinese pharmacopeia. All of these herbs are classified according to their energetic qualities, functions and the different organs, meridians and disharmonies for which they address. Individual herbs are combined in order to enhance their actions and affects upon the body. When combined, a unique, synergistic formula is created. This combination increases the benefits of a particular formula, and minimizes any harmful side effects.
In order to create the most effective formula, Chinese herbs are used in different quantities and for different purposes. This allows the practitioner to create a formula aimed at addressing the individual needs.
Within each formula exists a specific hierarchy of Chinese herbs:
This herb has the greatest affect upon the principle problem and is the most important ingredient. It is the energetic and therapeutic focus of the entire formula.
These herbs support the Chief herb in the treatment of the principal problem. Deputy herbs usually address the secondary signs and symptoms.
The role of the Assistant herb is to support and reinforce the affects of the other herbs. They also help moderate or eliminate any harsh properties of herbs within the formula.
Envoy herbs harmonize, guide, and focus the action of the entire formula on certain meridians of the body.
The art and skill of creating a formula lies within choosing the precise and most effective herbs that target an individual patient’s imbalance.
Chinese herbs can be dispensed in three ways:
- The first method is completely raw. The herbs remain unprocessed for this dispensing method.
- The second method that we deliver Chinese herbs is in granular form. Granules of processed herbs are mixed to create a highly effective formula designed to treat a complex symptoms. These formulas are created specifically for a patient.
- The third and final method of dispensing is with pre-packaged formulas, each of which have been crafted to treat particular symptoms.
At RiverWest Acupuncture in Portland, we serve about 60% of our patients with patented formulas that are prescribed to treat a specific symptom or imbalance. When a patented formula doesn’t work as well as expected, then we will create a custom formula. Our acupuncturists—who are also licensed in Chinese Herbs—create the formula to treat the symptom.
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