TRADITIONAL CHINESE MEDICINE

  • Traditional Chinese medicine (TMC) is a style of traditional medicine built on a foundation of Chinese medical practice that includes various forms of herbal medicine, acupuncture, massage (Tui Na), exercise (Qigong), and dietary therapy. It has formed a unique system to diagnose, prevent, treat and cure illness. It started back in the Qianqin periods of Chinese history (2100 BC to 221 BC), approximately 3000 years ago and has uninterruptedly continued to be a major medicine in China and a few other countries and regions. The TCM approach is fundamentally different from that of Western medicine. In TCM, the understanding of the human body is based on the holistic understanding of the universe as described in Daoism, and the treatment of illness is based primarily on the diagnosis and differentiation of syndromes. 


  • The doctrines of Chinese medicine are rooted in books such as Huang Di Nei Jing (Inner Canon of the Yellow Emperor) and the Treatise on Exogenous Febrile Disease, as well as in cosmological notions such as Yin-yang, Zang-fu Organs, the Five Elements and Channels & Collaterals theories.  These theories apply the phenomena and laws of nature to the study of the physiological activities and pathological changes of the human body and its interrelationships. The typical TCM therapies include acupuncture, herbal medicine, and Qigong exercises. With acupuncture, treatment is accomplished by stimulating certain areas of the external body. Herbal medicine acts on internal organs while Qigong aims to restore the orderly information flow inside the network through the regulation of Qi. These therapies appear very different in approach yet they all share the same underlying sets of assumptions and insights in the nature of the human body and its place in the universe.  TCM's view of the body is mainly concerned with the identification of functional entities (which regulate digestion, breathing, aging etc.). While health is perceived as the harmonious interaction of these entities and the outside world, disease is interpreted as a disharmony in interaction. TCM diagnosis aims to trace symptoms to patterns of an underlying disharmony, by measuring the pulse, inspecting the tongue, skin, and eyes, and looking at the eating and sleeping habits of the person as well as many other things.


  • Today, TMC is becoming increasingly popular and recognized worldwide (where it is primarily used as complementary alternative medicine approach).



Herbal Medicines & Remedies

Herbal Medicines and remedies play an important role in TCM. The main ingredients are from the medicinal herbs. Chinese ancestor started to use wild-growing plants to treat and cure illness and diseases about 5000 years ago.  Throughout the history, there have been over 12,000 kinds of herbs documented. There are approximately 1200 kinds of most common herbs that a professional TCM doctor will have to learn by heart. A herbal medicine or remedy is almost by rule, consisted of a number of herbs by the ratio prescribed by a TMC doctor. It is not common to see one-herb formula in the Chinese herbal medicines. In fact, it is hard to see a single herb to be served as a remedy in Chinese medicine. The reason is a herb often has the medicinal properties with a toxin side. It is essential to incorporate it with other related herb(s) that is aimed to help suppress the toxin side of the main herb. Plus, by combining it with other different herbs, it may become a cure for different illness or disease, or its medicinal properties are strengthened. Anyway, question any single-herb formulas or remedies before you take it. Various properties and flavors of herbal medicines exert different effects. This is an important theory of traditional Chinese pharmacology.


 

By the theory of Chinese Medicine, there are four properties of herbal medicines, i.e., Cold, Heat, Warm and Cool. In general, the herbal medicines with warm and heat properties are prescribed for cold-syndrome (e.g. aversion to cold, cold limbs, pale tongue, slow pulse, etc.) and those with cool and cold characteristics for heat-syndrome (e.g. fever, thirst, deep-colored urine, red tongue, rapid pulse, etc.). Furthermore, the herbal medicines are grouped under five flavors:  Acrid, Sweet, Sour, Bitter and Salty, which exert different effects. Generally speaking, Acrid flavor serves to expel and to activate, Sweet to invigorate, regulate and moderate, Sour to astringe and to preserve,  Bitter to lower, release and dry, and Salty to soften and purge. Every herbal medicine has a specific characteristic and flavor in different levels. It is the combination of both that constitutes the overall action of an individual herbal medicine. The clinical application of herbal medicines are always based on this conventional theory.