In Ancient China
Chinese Pharmacy, according to legend, stems from Shen
Nung (about 2000 B.C.), emperor who sought out and investigated
the medicinal value of several hundred herbs. He is reputed to
have tested many of them on himself, and to have written the
first Pen T-Sao, or native herbal, recording 365 drugs.
Still worshiped by native Chinese drug guilds as their
patron god, Shen Nung conceivably examined many herbs, barks,
and roots brought in from the fields, swamps, and woods that are
still recognized in Pharmacy today.
In the background is the "Pa Kua," a mathematical design
symbolizing creation and life. Medicinal plants include
podophyllum, rhubarb, ginseng, stramonium, cinnamon bark, and,
in the boy's hand, ma huang, or Ephedra.
Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM) is a highly evolved
system of healing that was developed in China several thousand
years ago. It is based on the concept that laws of nature can be
used to understand the inner workings of the body. Like the
universe, our health is subject to opposite forces such as heat
and cold, masculine and feminine, joy and sadness.
Imbalances in our bodies manifest themselves as diseases.
They block the flow of energy (chi) traveling through our
bodies. Acupuncture, acupressure, and herbs can help unblock the
chi and bring the body into harmony and wellness.
Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM) is a system of primary
health care that includes acupuncture, Chinese herbal medicine,
remedial massage (anmo tuina), exercise and breathing therapy
(such as qigong), and diet and lifestyle advice.
Traditional Chinese Medicine has an uninterrupted history
of development in China and other parts of East Asia dating back
thousands of years. The primary feature of modern TCM is the
premise that good health relies on the restoration and
maintenance of harmony, balance and order to the individual.
TCM takes a wholistic approach to understanding normal
function and disease processes and focuses as much on the
prevention of illness as it does on the treatment.
|When healthy, an abundant
supply of qi (pronounced chee) or "life energy" flows through
the body's meridians (a network of invisible channels through
the body). If the flow of qi in the meridians becomes blocked or
there is an inadequate supply of qi, then the body fails to
maintain harmony, balance and order, and disease or illness
follows. This can result from stress, overwork, poor diet,
disease pathogens, weather and environmental conditions, and
other lifestyle factors and becomes evident to TCM practitioners
through identifiable signs of body dysfunction. TCM
practitioners look carefully for these signs of health and
dysfunction, paying particular attention to not only the
presenting condition, but also the medical history, general
constitution, and the pulse and tongue.
Clinical assessment, diagnosis, and treatment principles
are based on the theoretical frameworks of TCM which seeks to
identify underlying symptom patterns that indicate how the body
is or has become dysfunctional. Treatment is focussed on the
underlying condition as well as treating the presenting
symptoms. Clinical decision-making and patient management
strategies are also influenced by contemporary Western
approaches to health care, including infection control practices
and known interactions of herbal medicines with pharmaceuticals
and other therapuitic substances.
TCM treatments work on the basis of individualised
formulae for each patient.
||Chinese Herbal Medicine
Chinese herbal medicine is part of an integrated system of
primary health care, known as Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM)
that has an uninterrupted history of development dating back
thousands of years in China and other parts of East Asia.
The origins of Chinese herbal medicine in China can be
traced back at least five thousand years, making it one of the
oldest and most long-standing health care systems in the world.
In the intervening millennia, the practice of Chinese
herbal medicine and TCM has developed and matured to become what
it is today - a natural and wholistic system of primary health
care that is being used by people from a wide range of cultural
and social backgrounds to effectively treat a wide range of
chronic and acute health problems.
Chinese herbal medicine takes an wholistic approach to
understanding normal function and disease processes and focuses
as much on the prevention of illness as on the treatment.
Most diseases or illnesses present with a core set of
recognisable signs and symptoms, but the actual presentation of
a particular disease or illness will vary from person to person.
For this reason, people with similar health conditions may be
provided with quite different Chinese herbal medicine
A qualified practitioner is able to prescribe a Chinese
herbal formula that specifically matches and treats your
individual health problem. As your condition changes and
improves with treatment, the Chinese herbal treatment is also
adjusted and modified until the desired health outcome is
Today, there are over 450 substances commonly used in
Chinese herbal medicine - most are of plant origin though some
animal and mineral substances may also be used. You may find
some in your kitchen, such as ginger, garlic and cinnamon, while
others such as chrysanthemum and peony flowers, are more likely
to be found in your garden! Many of the substances used will be
unfamiliar to you and have names like chai hu (bupleurum), di
huang (rehmannia), and huang qi (astragalus). Some substances
that were used traditionally are no longer part of modern
professional Chinese herbal medicine practice. For example,
traditional remedies that are derived from endangered species
have been replaced by other substances with similar actions.
Chinese herbal medicines are prescribed either singly or
made into formulae which take into account the individual
therapeutic action of each herb and well as the effects when
combined together. A well constructed formula maximises the
effectiveness for treating a particular condition, while
counteracting and minimising the unwanted effects of an
In addition to providing effective treatment for a wide
range of health disorders, Chinese herbal medicine may also be
used to assist with general health maintenance and disease
prevention. By strengthening and enhancing normal body
functions, the immune system is boosted and a general sense of
A snapshot of conditions typically treated with Chinese
Herbal Medicine includes:
Insomnia and fatigue
Loss of appetite and common digestive disorders
Constipation and diarrhoea
Irritable bowel syndrome
Common cold and influenza
Anxiety, depression and stress
Rheumatoid and osteoarthritis
Premenstrual syndrome and painful menstruation
Impotence and prostate disorders
Disorders associated with menopause