Chinese Herbal Medicine

The use of Chinese Herbal Medicine (CHM) has been traced back as far as the 3d Century BC. Unlike Western herbalism, in this tradition herbs are not used individually but are always combined in carefully designed formulae. Each CHM prescription contains a mixture of specific herbs chosen not only for their specific effects but also for their combined action within the formula. The balance and interaction of the ingredients is thus more important than the effect of each individual herb. The purpose of CHM is always twofold: To deal with presenting symptoms while working on resolving the imbalances that caused them in the first place. The key to the success of treatment following this approach, is the treatment of each person as an individual.

Chinese herbal prescriptions can be made up either in raw herbs that need to be decocted, or dried powders to be mixed with hot water. Another form in which Chinese herbs are found is as patent medicines. These are standardised traditional herbal formulae containing decocted dried herbs that have been mixed into a powder and formed into pills bound with honey. They are characteristically little round black pills that are easy and convenient to take. These formulae are not designed specifically for the individual but there are patent medicines to fit a wide variety of TCM diagnoses corresponding to the most common health problems seen in our modern world.

Why try Chinese Herbal Medicine?

CHM is the most important treatment modality used in China as part of Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM); and herbal pharmacies are found in every state hospital in that country. In the West however, lack of familiarity with CHM and bad press resulting from lack of appropriate training and misuse, have slowed down its popularization making acupuncture a preferred form of treatment. In reality, although acupuncture is an effective treatment for many health complaints, Chinese Herbal Medicine can be more effective or render quicker results for the more deep-seated/long-term problems and can prove effective where acupuncture has failed.

In many cases, Chinese Herbal Medicine has a great deal to offer where Conventional medicine has had difficulty in resolving certain conditions especially in their chronic form. The results that can be expected and the length of treatment required will depend on the severity of the condition, its duration, and the general health of the patient.

Safety of Chinese Herbal Medicine


Just like any other medicines, Chinese herbs are safe when taken under the supervision of a qualified practitioner who is registered with a professional body to ensure that:
  • The formula you are taking (Chinese herbs are rarely taken as single herbs) is suitable for your symptoms and that you are taking it at an appropriate dose
  • The herbs contained in your formula are sourced from a supplier approved by the Register of Chinese Herbal Medicine which ensures that herbs are free from harmful adulterants.
  • Your formula will not contain any endangered species and that no remedies that are prohibited such as anything of animal or mineral origin are being used.
As a member of the Register of Chinese Herbal Medicine (RCHM), I am committed to following the CITES (Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora) guidelines that also prohibit the use of herbs that have been proven to be toxic. I am also adhering to the use of herbal suppliers form RCHM's Approved Supplier Scheme that ensures safe herbal remedies from reputable sources. As part of the planned Statutory State Regulation, RCHM members are also voluntarily committed to restraining from using remedies of animal or mineral origin until further notice. For more information visit: and
What conditions can be treated with Chinese Herbal Medicine?

Chinese medicine is successfully used for a very wide range of conditions. Amongst the more commonly treated disorders are:

· Skin disease, including eczema, psoriasis, acne, rosacea, urticaria

· Gastro-intestinal disorders, including irritable bowel syndrome, chronic constipation,

ulcerative colitis

· Gynaecological conditions, including pre-menstrual syndrome and dysmenorrhoea,

endometriosis, infertility and menopausal symptoms

· Hepatitis and HIV: some promising results have been obtained for treatment of Hepatitis C,

and supportive treatment may be beneficial in the case of HIV

· Chronic fatigue syndromes, whether with a background of viral infection or in other situations

· Respiratory conditions, including asthma, bronchitis, and chronic coughs, allergic and

perennial rhinitis and sinusitis

· Rheumatological conditions (e.g. osteoarthritis and rheumatoid arthritis)

· Urinary conditions including chronic cystitis

· Psychological problems (e.g. depression, anxiety)

· Children's diseases

Who can have treatment?

Chinese herbal medicine can be
used by people of any age or constitution. A full medical history will be taken, and previous illnesses, family history and medication are taken into account before providing treatment. A qualified practitioner can also adjust herbal combinations and dosages so that they are safe for children and pregnant women.