The main reason that more Westerners are turning to Chinese herbs is because of the vast scope of experience in using the Chinese materials.
In every province of China, there are large schools of traditional Chinese medicine, research institutes, and teaching hospitals, where thousands of practitioners each year gain training in the use of herbs. The written heritage of Chinese medicine is quite rich. Ancient books are retained, with increasing numbers of commentaries. New books are written by practitioners who have had several decades of personal experience or by compilers who scan the vast diverse modern literature and arrange the results of clinical trials into neat categories.
Chinese Herbal Medicine, along with the other components of Chinese medicine, is based on the concepts of Yin and Yang. It aims to understand and treat the many ways in which the fundamental balance and harmony between the two may be undermined and the ways in which a person’s Qi or vitality may be depleted or blocked.
Chinese herbal medicine has a role to play in the treatment of the following conditions:
- Skin disease, including eczema, psoriasis, acne, rosacea, urticaria
- Gastrointestinal disorders, including irritable bowel syndrome, chronic constipation, ulcerative colitis
- Gynaecological conditions, including premenstrual syndrome and dysmenorrhoea, endometriosis, infertility
- 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).
Many of these conditions, especially in their chronic forms, create great difficulty for conventional medicine, whilst Chinese Herbal Medicine has a great deal to offer. The results that can be expected and how long a patient will have to take the herbs will depend on the severity of the condition, its duration, and the general health of the patient.