About Chinese Herbal Medicine
How do TCM practitioners use formulations?
TCM practitioners most often use two or more substances in Chinese medicinal formulations. Because of this, it creates a balanced, synergistic effect that reflects the holistic nature of the diagnosis.
There are literally thousands of traditional herbal formulas for just about every condition imaginable. Though, a formula is almost always modified by the TCM practitioner to suit the subtle nuances of the condition and constitution of the patient. This makes each formulation highly individualised.
Chinese medicinal formulations are prepared in a number of different ways:
- Chinese herbal decoctions – The most traditional method of preparing an herbal formula in China. Decoctions can involve lengthy preparation and result in “teas”. They are infamous for their strong taste and aroma. Because of this, decoctions are not as popular or as widely used in the west.
- Herbal powders – Can be mixed with hot water to make a tea. Are more convenient to prepare and use, and are not as pungent as traditional decoctions.
- Chinese Patent Formulas – Pre-made herbal formulations in pill or tablet form and because of this, are perhaps the most widely used form of Chinese herbal medicine outside of China.
- Syrups – Soothing preparations for coughs and sore throat, are also a convenient way to administer herbal formulations to children.
- Liniments, salves, compresses and plasters – Used for external application. Herbal therapy, next to dietary therapy, is perhaps the most widely used TCM treatment modality. TCM relies on herbal therapies both for the treatment of illness and in the optimisation of health and prevention of disease.