How Does Herbal Therapy Work?
Herbal therapy is a great, natural method for treating all kinds of conditions. We have formulas for pain, stress, digestive issues, women’s health concerns, sleep, and SO many other things. How do they actually work in the body?
From a traditional Chinese medicine perspective
Each herb used in Chinese medicine has a specific set of properties. It has a taste, a temperature, and an action that each correlate with specific meridians in the body. Those properties work to either enhance the functions associated with that meridian or to balance them out if they are acting too strongly and causing issues in other meridians. This helps to balance out the highway system of meridians and ensure proper function throughout the body.
From a Western medicine perspective
Herbs have naturally occurring compounds called “phytochemicals”. These compounds are biologically active molecules that can have antibacterial, antifungal, and antiviral effects. Many of these compounds can also help to reduce pain, promote immune function or influence the balance of different hormones to help with stress, sleep, mood and other health concerns.
Safety of Herbs
Just because something is “natural” does not mean that it is safe. We don’t walk out into the woods and start shoving random berries and mushrooms in our mouths. That’s because we know that, while they might be “natural”, some of them are toxic and can make us very sick. It is so important to use herbal therapy only under the recommendation of a properly trained herbalist. Always ask about their training and credentials! In many states, herbal therapy is not well-regulated, so people can claim to be an “herbalist” without having the proper education.
Some of the active compounds mentioned above can interact with other medications, and a qualified herbalist will review the medications and supplements you are already taking before prescribing herbal therapy. They should also prescribe high quality herbal formulas sourced from companies that can provide information about their quality control measures such confirmation of proper herb identification, purity, and potency.
Buying herbs online just because you saw an article on Facebook about it can be dangerous and a huge waste of money. There are some illegitimate businesses out there that package a bunch of junk into capsules and claim that it is some miracle herbal supplement. Even if it is a legitimate, high quality herbal supplement, taking it without having it properly prescribed for your specific health concerns is likely to not work and it could make your health issues even worse.
At EastWest Acupuncture… we got you!