Herbal Medicine – Common Questions

What is Chinese Herbal Medicine?
Chinese herbal medicine has evolved over the last 2500 years. There is am extensive consistent and continuous literature through this time. Books range through topics from the descriptions of various medicinal substances and their functions and indications: theoretical texts of how to compose formulas: clinical cases, both successes and failures, and extensive modern research and more.

Chinese herbal medicine differs from other forms of herbal medicine in many ways. Some differences are:
-the use of more than plants. Shells, minerals, insects, and some animal parts, mostly horns and hooves, can be used
-rarely are single herbs used. One strong feature is the combining of herbs to complement each others functioning in formulas
-formulas are crafted to address primary symptoms, contributing conditions to those, to ameliorate harsh herbs, facilitate their digestion etc.
-the use of modern research data on the properties and functions of herbs

What happens during a consultation?
Initial appointments are longer than subsequent visits. Please come in 10 minutes early to your first appointment to fill out some health history information. This allows a full appointment for questions, pulse, tongue diagnosis, and physical examination around your health concerns. A formula is then written and made up for you. We will go through the preparation and dosing of your herbal formula. Usually the formula is modified on every visit as your condition changes, and as external circumstances change.

What can Chinese herbal medicine be used for?
Chinese herbs have a very broad application. Please consider an appointment to discuss your particular health concerns.

How do I prepare my herbs?
We will give you written instructions on how to prepare your herbs, when and how to take the tea. You will have a chance to clarify any questions before you leave. Following the enclosed instructions gives the best results.

While cooking them as tea is the most common way we use them we also regularly use washes, poultices, steams, liniments, powders, granules, and tablets, where applicable. You will given instructions on whatever is prescribed for you.

We will also give you a list of ingredients.

Can formulas be kept and used at a later date?
Your formula is written specifically for you and you presenting symptoms. In formulating yoru prescription we often also take into consideration external circumstances in your life. As your symptoms change and external circumstances change so do your herbs needs. Therefore, in most cases it is inappropriate to use a formula at a later date.

What do the herbs taste like?
Each herbal prescription has its own unique taste and smell based on its ingredients. The smell and taste are unfamiliar to many, and some find it takes a short time to adjust to the taste and smell. Most people adjust to taking them after a cup or two, and especially when they feel the results.

Combining them with honey, juice and so on, may change the effect of the formula. It is fine to eat something after taking them if the taste is too strong. Taste and smell are two ways the herbs influence our qi and our health. Please raise any questions around them with your practitioner.

Can I have an allergic reaction to herbs?
There is always some risk with anything we ingest, or that contacts our skin, of an allergic reaction. We have found this to be very rare.

Can I keep taking the herbs when I get a cold or another condition?
Generally it s fine to continue taking the herbs. You can always call and check if they are still the best formula for you.

Can someone with the same or similar condition also use my herbs?
No. They are made for you, considering many factors that are specific to you.

How long do I have to take them for?
This depends on your condition. Generally speaking if it is an acute condition a relatively short period of time may be all that is needed. For chronic, enduring conditions, we may be taking herbs for months.

What if I forget to take a dose?
It is preferable to be consistent to maximise effectiveness. Occasionally we do forget, in which case take your doses at different times, several hours apart.

Are there any concerns taking medications with Chinese herbs?
Some herbs should be used with caution with certain medications. Please let your practitioner know all the medications you are taking. Formulas are then written taking your medications in to account.

Generally speaking it is no problem to be taking other herbal, vitamin and mineral supplements as well. Please let your practitioner know what you are taking.

Is it safe to take herbs if I am pregnant or want to become pregnant?
Yes. Some herbs are to be avoided during pregnancy. Please tell your practitioner that you are planning to get pregnant or are already pregnant. Many common symptoms of pregnancy, such as morning sickness, aches and pains, poor sleep can be well treated. Herbs are effective to increase fertility and to facilitate a healthy pregnancy.

Can anyone take Chinese herbs?
Yes. When well prescribed they are appropriate for all ages and a wide variety of conditions. They are very effective and there is rarely any side effects.

Can I buy herbs or herbal products from you without a consultation?
No. We only sell herbs and herbal products after a considered diagnosis to determine what is more effective. We do some externally applied products and other formulations that you can buy over the counter.

How much will my prescription cost?
The price we pay for herbs varies and some herbs are always more expensive. We aim to provide the best quality herbs at a reasonable price. Generally a formula will cost between $18-25 per week.

It is important to always consult a fully qualified Chinese herbal practitioner. Greg has obtained a Masters Degree with extensive training in Chinese herbal medicine. He is approved by The Australian Health Practitioner Regulation Agency (APHRA), to practice as a Chinese herbalist and to manage a Chinese herbal pharmacy.

We do not use any endangered species in our clinic.