What is Chinese Herbal Medicine?

Chinese Herbal Medicine (CHM) is one of the oldest and unbroken herbal medicine traditions in the world dating back to the 3rd century BC.  It has maintained it’s vibrancy and freshness through it’s response to clinical conditions and with the development of modern medical diagnostic techniques and knowledge.  Throughout the centuries, its systematic and clinical effectiveness has influenced the theory and practice of medicine in the East and is today still a major part of health care in China along side Western Medicine.

There are over 5,700 different medical substances (only plant-based herbs are used in the UK) that may be prescribed to correct imbalances, support organ deficiencies, clear excess pathogens (i.e. heat, phlegm, dampness, etc.), calm the mind and alleviate stress.   The practitioner diagnosis the condition or pattern to be treated based on TCM theory and prescribes accordingly.  A ‘herbal formula’ can come in the form of raw herbs to be decocted (i.e. boiled, strained and drunk as a tea); herbal powders which can be drunk as a tea or prepared in capsule form to be taken at specific times of the day.

What can CHM treat? 

CHM is not used to replace conventional (Western) medicine and patients should seek the advice of their General Practitioner (GP) before embarking on any form of complementary medicine.  However, there are many conditions that have traditional used CHM to great effect and can play a beneficial role, such as:

  • Skin conditions:  eczema, psoriasis, acne, rosacea, urticarial
  • Gastro-intestinal disorders:  IBS, chronic constipation, ulcerated colitis, diarrhoea, bloating
  • Chronic fatigue syndromes:  due to stress or post-viral infections
  • Respiratory disorders:  asthma, bronchitis, colds, coughs, allergic rhinitis, sinusitis
  • Musculoskeletal disorders: rheumatoid arthritis, osteoarthritis
  • Urinary disorders: urinary tract infections, chronic cystitis
  • Mental-emotional issues:  stress, anxiety, depression

For more information, please visit the RCHM – Register of Chinese Herbal Medicine, UK website

Who can use CHM?

Generally, CHM can be used by most people and dosage would be adjusted to suit the person’s age, constitution and health condition.  Caution is used when treating children, those on medication and pregnant women.

Is CHM safe?

When prescribed by a trained professional and sourced from a reputable supplier, CHM is safe.  However, adverse reactions can occur as can happen in any form of medicine.  Any adverse reactions should be reported to your practitioner regardless of the treatment type. 

How much does it cost? 

The cost of CHM formulas may vary and usually start at £15 per week depending on the person's need and severity of the health condition.  CHM formulas are usually taken for short and/or as the symptoms change, CHM formulas are adjusted accordingly.  The CHM cost is not included in the consultation fee?