Chinese medicine is something that dates back many thousands of years and is used by millions of people worldwide. Although traditional Chinese medicine is practiced alongside modern Western medicine in some parts of the world, in the US it is still considered as an alternative medicine.
Chinese medicine is based on the age old theory that every part of the body and all the organs support each other. With this belief, for one to be healthy all the organs and their functions must be in harmony and balance. The herbalist in a Chinese herbal store knows that attaining this balance is done through harmonizing yin and yang. Yin and yang oppose one another but when fully understood they compliment the energies that impact life.
Chinese medicine uses many forms of therapy and because this form of medicine is based on treating the specific individual the healing methods that are employed may differ from one person to another. A few of the methods employed in traditional Chinese medicine are acupuncture, herbs, massage, exercises such as tai chi and a full appreciation of nutrition.
When one visits a Chinese Herbal Store, rather than prescribing a specific herb, the practitioner will combine a number of herbs, the herbs used are all based on the needs of the patient. The herbs are prepared and provided in many different ways. Herbs are often soaked in hot water and taken in the form of a tea, an example is chamomile. Herbal extracts can be used as food flavorings and aromatherapy or dried into caplets.
It is not necessary to visit a Chinese herbal store to find many of the herbs that are common in the practice. Cranberry can help prevent urinary tract infections in women, whereas ginger and peppermint are excellent for providing relief from an upset stomach. As an example of how herbs have moved into the mainstream, Foxglove, an herb which has been used for centuries to improve heart function is one of the ingredients in Digitalis, a well known cardiac drug.
A renewed interest in healthy living including exercise, diet and alternative forms of medicine have driven people into seeking out other ways to use herbs to better their lives, most herbs are perfectly safe to take but many still seek the advice of their doctor before taking them.