What is Chinese Herbal Medicine?
In Chinese Herbology, over 360 plants, minerals and animal substances are used. Herbal prescriptions consist of combining several herbs customized to the patient's condition which are then traditionally prepared as a tea or decoction. In addition to a complete raw herbal pharmacy, for the convenience of the patient, I specialize in having herbal prescriptions available in tincture form.
Chinese Herbal Medicine is unique from other types of herbology in that it is based on Chinese Medical theory. Using Chinese Medical theory, a diagnosis is made in order to determine what herbal formula to prescribe.
How are the herbs dispensed?
The Chinese Materia Medica includes thousands of herbs. In my office, I have a complete herbal pharmacy. Traditionally, a Chinese herbal formula is a ‘decoction’ or tea of 10-14 herbs, which is cooked and then drank at the usual dosage of 3 cups/day. This is the most clinically effective way to take herbal medicine. The tea is absorbed and distributed to the body by the digestive system in a more gentle and efficient manner than when an herbal prescription is taken in a pill form. However, in order to make customized herbal formulas easier for my patients to take, I have also created a pharmacy of alcohol-extracted herbs, or tinctures. In this case, a patient will take only a small dosage a day, which is almost as clinically effective as drinking an herbal decoction or tea. And finally, I also carry standard Chinese ‘patent’ medicines which are already-made formulas in a pill form. Some of these formulas are directly from China and have been used for many generations, and some are more modern-day equivalents from Chinese-American companies.
What are the typical costs of herbal prescriptions?
In general, the cost of Chinese herbal prescriptions is very reasonable. This low cost is mainly due to the fact that these herbs are coming directly from Taiwan or China. The raw herbs I carry in my office, from which decoctions or tinctures are made from, are all tested and are free from pesticides and heavy toxic metals.
Herbs prescribed as a decoction or tea are priced at a variable rate, based on the weight of the herbal formula. So if a complex formula is prescribed for a complex condition or disease, the cost will be more than one for a simple case. The cost of customized tinctures are $15 for a month’s dosage. Ready-made pill formulas from China are in the range of less than $10 for 100 pills, whereas American-made ones are about $25.
What about training to prescribe Herbal Medicine?
I am licensed to practice and prescribe in the state of California, after receiving a Master’s Degree in Oriental Medicine. Additionally, I also have National Certification in Chinese Herbology (NCCAOM). This training has encompassed botany, pharmacology, and herb-and-drug interactions. Please feel free to call me with any herbal-related questions you may have!!