What is herbal medicine?
Any plant that has useful medicinal qualities. These range from being superfoods like ginseng, to plants that strengthen and stimulate organs of the systems like milk thistle or echinacea, to plants that detoxify or treat infections.
Chinese herbal medicine, like acupuncture, is thousands of years old. Each originated long before their respective scholarly texts 2000 years ago. Chinese herbal medicine and acupuncture present the two major medical systems of Chinese medicine. Compared to the Western herbal tradition, chinese medicine has the advantage of a much more extensive use of herbs in school. We also develop skills to diagnose disease and modify the traditional formulas to adapt to individual needs.
At the same time Western herbs are just as potent and effective as Chinese plants grown in Asia and both systems are supported by modern scientific knowledge. We often utilize Western herbs with Chinese herbs using principles of formula-modification to best serve the patient.
Is herbal medicine safe?
Herbal medicine is very safe when administered by a trained professional with extensive clinical experience. While simple issues can be addressed by the lay person, even such cases and certainly any situation that is chronic or serious is best dealt with by a professional. Herbs do not have the kind of side effects such as those caused by pharmaceuticals. A well constructed formula might affect digestion, for instance, but a simple adjustment will resolve that situation. Most of the herbs used in our practice are of the "superior" category, meaning they are safe for pregnant and nursing women. A trained professional is mindful that being natural does not guarantee safety: We have been trained to administer herbs safely.