I am often asked what is the difference between taking Chinese versus Western medicine.
Many of the drugs we take are actually based on plants. Plants have many different compounds and what pharmaceutical companies do is isolate the active compound (the chemical of the plant that has a particular action in the body) and then produce that compound synthetically. Because the compound is isolated from the rest of the plant (and possibly because it is manufactured), this is the reason why most drugs have side effects.
Western medicine focuses on symptom relief, not fixing the root of the problem. Whilst in most cases you will get some form of relief from symptoms, it also means that as soon as you come off the medication all of the symptoms will likely come back. The net effect is that you may need to take the medication for life.
All drugs must pass clinical trials to gain approval for sale. This is an important safety step. However, as soon as you add a second medication to your daily routine, the chemical make up of the second drugs completely changes things in the body. Some people are on over 10 medication, which creates a chemical cocktail in the body that nobody really understands or can predict what the short and the long-term effects will be.
Many drugs have only been available for a short time so is it not known what the long-term effect of those drugs will be. We will just have to wait and see.
Chinese medicines are naturally produced from whole plants. Nature intended for the whole plant and ALL of the compounds within it to be consumed at the same time (not just one compound from the plant). This is the reason why there are few side effects from Chinese herbs.
Chinese herbs are in fact, drugs – just naturally produced ones. Most Chinese herbal formulas consist of many individual herbs acting synergistically with each other. Whilst it is not possible to know exactly what chemical reactions occur in the body, there is over 2000 years of clinical use and experience behind Chinese herbal formulas to know what the formulas do.
Chinese herbs mainly work on the root cause of health problems. If the root cause is successfully treated then the symptoms will substantially reduce or go away entirely. This also means that you don’t have to take the herbs forever.
Chinese herbs work very well with acupuncture.