Why Herbal Medicine?
Like acupuncture, herbal medicinal formulas have been utilized for thousands of years in East Asia to relieve various conditions. Herbal medicine helps the body eliminate symptoms, regain balance (homeostasis) & increase vitality.
Containing an array of bioactive compounds embedded within a plant-based matrix, herbal formulas have the ability to relieve symptoms of various types and promote recovery from numerous ailments impacting the mind and body.
Unlike lab-produced extracted or synthesized compounds, plant-based herbal formulas in the hands of a skilled, licensed herbalist are very safe and virtually free of potentially harmful side-effects.
All of the world’s continents used herbs for medicine, prior to the advent of lab-made pharmaceuticals. Today, in Western countries, herbal medicine has been used less and less. However, in China, Japan, India, Taiwan, South Korea, Switzerland and elsewhere, herbal medicine continues to flourish. Herbal medicine is even covered by these countries’ respective health care systems.
In China alone, an estimated 40% of the 1.3 billion population are known to use Traditional Chinese Medicine each year- and the majority of those utilizing TCM choose herbal medicine first, even before acupuncture. This means, each year in China alone, hundreds of millions of people utilize herbal medicinal formulas for various conditions and ailments.
In the countries listed above, as in our own practice, herbal medicine can be successfully used for numerous conditions such as nausea, indigestion, menstrual cramps and PMS, infertility, fatigue, pain management, anxiety, depression, insomnia, inflammation, cancer treatment side-effects, fibroids, endometriosis, bacterial and viral infections, edema, bloating, acne, skin conditions, cataracts, etc.
Many of the world’s pharmaceutical drugs are based off of active compounds found in herbs and then synthesized in a laboratory
For example, aspirin’s active compound, acetylsalicylic acid, was originally found in the willow tree.
From Wikipedia: “A precursor to aspirin found in leaves from the willow tree has been used for its health effects for at least 2,400 years. In 1853, chemist Charles Gerhardt treated the medicine sodium salicylate with acetyl chloride to produce acetylsalicylic acid for the first time. For the next fifty years, other chemists established the chemical structure and came up with more efficient methods to make it. In 1897, scientists at the Bayer company began studying acetylsalicylic acid as a less-irritating replacement medication for common salicylate medicines. By 1899, Bayer had named it “Aspirin” and sold it around the world.”
Similarly, turmeric and other herbs contain curcumins that have long been used to reduce inflammation in the body and to reduce joint pain caused by inflammation (arthritis). In addition to inflammation-based joint pain, curcumins can have broader positive effects on health. According the one source, curcumins can also help “postoperative inflammation, eye conditions, diabetes, peripheral neuropathy, liver disorders, kidney inflammation, vitiligo and psoriasis. In contrast to drugs, which have one or two actions, curcumins have over 100 effects on the body.”
About Herb-Drug Interactions and Herb Quality:
At Philadelphia Mind-Body Acupuncture, we take great care in prescribing the highest quality herbal medicinals from the best herbal companies with the highest testing standards. We are also very careful in regard to herb-drug interactions and how herbs could potentially effect pharmaceutical intake. If we believe there might be an herb-drug interaction that could even cause a minor problem, we will refrain from offering herbs.