What is Chinese Herbalism?
"Acupuncture was the first traditional Chinese medicine (TCM) modality introduced into the Western world; therefore, most Chinese medicine practitioners in the West are considered acupuncturists. The mainstay of Chinese medicine, however, has always been herbology [or herbalism], and most of TCM literature pertains to the study and application of herbs in treating diseases and maintaining health. Acupuncture is generally used as a supportive therapy, whereas herbs are used to treat difficult illnesses.
"Herbology, the hallmark of the Chinese medicine, uses single herb remedies as well as herbal formulas, which are a combination of herbs. Some 1800 years ago, the Chinese medical sage Zhang Zhongjin established principles for the composition of herbal formulas. Typically, they consist of eight to 12 herbs. Each herb has a role - emperor, minister, assistant, or servant. The first two are the herbs that are responsible for the treatment of the disease. Assistants are used to mitigate the possible side effects of the main herbs, and servants enhance the effects of the main herbs, allowing them to target specific organs or organ systems. Chinese herbal formulas, when used properly, have little to no toxicity.
"At more than 5000 years old, TCM is a well-documented health and healing system. It is one of the predominant forms of medicine in China and the second-largest medical system in the world, with more than 25% of all earth's inhabitants as it's patients. TCM has documented more than 12000 plant species as herbal remedies and treats almost every disease defined by Western medicine.
"Based on a balance between yin and yang forces, TCM sees disease as a deviation from this balance, which TCM treatment seeks to restore. TCM's diagnosis entails inspection, auscultation and olfaction, inquiring, and palpation to collect symptoms, which are then summarized by eight principles (external or internal, hot or cold, excess or deficient, and yang or yin). It's major treatment methods are herbology, acupuncture, tui-na, and qigong."