Herbs FAQ

FAQs

  1. What does a Chinese herbal treatment consist of?
  2. Can anybody prescribe Chinese Herbs?
  3. What will the prescription be like?
  4. How much will the as cost?
  5. How long will treatment last for?
  6. Where can I get further information about Chinese Herbs from?
  7. Can you get side effects with Chinese Herbs?
  8. Are Chinese herbs safe?
  9. I have heard of "patent" herbal formulae. Do you have to be a fully qualified herbalist to prescribe these?

1. What does a Chinese Herbal treatment consist of?

As with acupuncture, a full case history is taken along with a detailed analysis of the pulse and tongue. Altogether this usually takes about 1 1/2 hours.

A formula will be devised which will aim to treat the your concern. An important part of treatment with Chinese medicine is the emphasis on addressing the underlying imbalances as well as the noticable symptoms.

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2. Can anybody prescribe Chinese Herbs?

At the moment yes, although Chinese Herbalists are working with the government to become regulated. It is safe to be treated by a properly qualified practitioner who will be accredited with the Register for Chinese Herbal Medicine (RCHM). You can check whether a practitioner is registered by navigating to the RCHM website.

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3. What will the prescription be like?

Chinese Herbs can usually come in one of three forms. They can be a combination of "real herbs" - dried plant material - twigs, leaves, flowers etc which you have to boil up and drink the liquid. Patients sometimes complain that they taste unpleasant and that they stink the house out when making them and so their family and friends can also complain. They are especially effective but take a degree of discipline to manage. I don't usually use these, but prefer to prescribe powders / granules or pre-prepared formulae (pills).

The powders / granules are similar to instant coffee and therefore can be easily transported and made wherever you are with little inconvenience. Some prescriptions can still taste unpleasant but your family won't mind so much.

Prepared formulae which usually come as pills are also sometimes used if the condition is not acute of higher doses are not required.

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4. How much will the herbs cost?

On top of consultations, the herbs will usually cost about £12.00 a week. As progress is made the amount of herbs can usually be reduced and therefore the cost. Pre-prepared formulae are usually less.

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5. How long will treatment last for?

Herbs are a powerful way of treating conditions. Because treatment is often aimed at dealing with the underlying condition rather than just the symptoms, treatment can be for 3 months or longer, although progress should be noticed well before this time. As with all Chinese medicine the aim is to change the way the the body is functioning rather than to just remove the apparent problem. In particular, problems associated with periods or fertility can take several months to treat as "symptoms" may only be noticeable at particular phases in the cycle. Often there will be different formulae for different phases of the cycle.

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6. Where can I get further information about Chinese Herbs from?

Further information can be obtained from the RCHM website.

 

7. Can you get side effects with Chinese Herbs?

Taking herbs can occasionally result in an exacerbation of the condition or other undesirable symtoms. Usually these are temporary and mild such as some digestive discomfort. If there are undesired affects, the individual should stop taking the herbs and the situation discussed with the practitioner.

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8. Are Chinese Herbs safe?

If the herbs are prescribed by a trained practitioner who is accredited by the Register for Chinese Herbal Medicine (RCHM), then you know that you are in safe hands. Members of the RCHM have to have fulfilled exacting training on courses accredited by the European Herbal and Traditional Medicine Practitioners Association (EHTPA). They also have to comply with the RCHM's stringent Health and Safety code of practice and the RCHM code of Ethics.

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9. I have heard of "patent" herbal formulae. Do you have to be a fully qualified herbalist to prescribe these?

Some acupuncturists have done a short training to be qualified to prescribe a limited number of "Patent" herbal formulae but they should not be confused with fully qualified herbalists who belong to the Register of Chinese Herbal Medicine (RCHM). If you are in doubt consult the RCHM website to identify fully qualified practitioners in your area.

"Patents" or "pre-prepared herbal formulae (PPFs) are "off the shelf" formulae, prepared by herb companies. A fully qualified herbalist might use these sometimes but is able to choose from a large range of permitted herbs to construct a formula specifically suited to each individual patient; these prescriptions can then be precisely modified as a condition progresses. They are usually stronger and more effective than "Patents". A benefit of "Patents" is that they can be very convenient and do not require any preparation.

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