Chinese herbs and acupuncture—as well as other treatment modalities—are united through the theory of traditional Chinese medicine. This means that while certain Chinese herbs for pain (particularly those for external use) are fine, Chinese herbs for energy, for example, will be burning vital organs’ energy to achieve that effect. Chinese herbal medicine for arthritis is usually less hazardous, because more often than not joint pain is caused by bi syndrome, and TCM herbs are typically made into the formulae that treat just that. Something similar occurs with Chinese herbal medicine for menopause: because menopause is a natural occurrence, preparing a good-fitting formula for the majority of cases is possible. The problem is that the theory behind acupuncture and Chinese herbal medicine is holistic in nature and demands from its practitioners establishing a specific pattern of imbalance among organs in individual patients and then selecting and modifying specific herbal formulae, which make use of ancient Chinese herbs, to relieve specific symptoms of each patient, while causing minimal or no side effects. Chinese herbal medicine for fertility is one of the trickiest. Since there may be many causes of infertility, and acupuncture and Chinese herbal medicine and perhaps other methods may be needed to fine-tune the body’s organ balance to increase fertility. The combination of Chinese acupuncture and herbs—as well as combinations of specific points and herbs—can do much more than a one-fit-all herbal Chinese herbal medication. In some cases, patients do not even need Chinese healing herbs, and a modification in regular foods may suffice.
Types of Chinese Herbs
While Chinese herbs include leaves, roots, stems, berries, and other elements of plant and some of the animal origin, the herbs in Chinese medicine are classified by their temperature, whether there are cold or hot (that is, yin or yang), and by their tastes. According to traditional Chinese medicine, herbs can have five tastes, each of which is attributed to each of the five zang organs: lungs, heart, spleen, liver, kidneys. The zang organs are considered to be yin in nature, and each has a yang pair among fu organs: large intestine, stomach, small intestine, gall bladder, and urinary bladder. The herbs’ tastes are indicative of which organs’ function the herbs will affect. Some Chinese herbs are very aromatic, from pleasant to noxious and everything in between—the quality that is often exploited in TCM—and other herbs have a very delicate smell.
Chinese Herbs for Fertility
The reality is, there are no traditional Chinese medicine herbs for fertility. The history of Chinese herbal medicine is intertwined with that of acupuncture, moxibustion, nutrition, cupping, and therapeutic exercises (tai chi, qi gong). All these different methods are connected through the TCM theory. This theory is essential for establishing a diagnosis, which then can be treated in multiple ways. So before deciding what ancient Chinese herbal medicine can improve fertility, it is important to find out what the pattern of imbalance among organs in the body is. According to the TCM theory, all diseases begin as imbalances among zang-fu organs, and establishing which organs are involved is called diagnosing. It is important to point out that the individual organs in TCM sometimes differ from their corresponding organs in western medicine. Besides TCM being compiled for thousands of years, this difference occurs because in TCM organs are defined by their functions, rather than anatomical appearance. The approach of evaluation and identification of specific organ imbalances is particularly important for improving fertility because there are too many various imbalances that can cause it. Once the balance is restored, fertility should improve as a result. At the same time, the patient may be in good health, and the practitioner needs to tweak his or her natural balance to squeeze just a little bit more out of it for a brief period of time.
Chinese Herbs for Arthritis
In TCM, herbs can treat arthritis in general (it often falls under the category of bi syndrome), but their effectiveness can be increased through careful examination, diagnosing, and then deciding on the treatment strategy for each individual patient. The problem is that if the main concern is joint pain, then certain Chinese herbal remedies effectively treat pain, but if the cause of the pain is not established, then taking pain-relievers—either from Chinese herbal therapy or modern pharmacology—would merely mask the problem. It is also important to point out that traditional Chinese herbs are rarely taken individually; they are traditionally organized into formulae. Individual herbs have wanted and unwanted effects and other herbs are used to diminish the unwanted effects and maybe boost the desired ones. The specific doses are usually custom-tailored to the needs of individual patients, thus to reduce Chinese herbal treatments’ side effects and increase their benefits.
Chinese Herbs for Depression
As the authors of the article “Nine Traditional Chinese Herbal Formulas for the Treatment of Depression: an Ethnopharmacology, Phytochemistry, and Pharmacology Review” published in 2016 in the journal Neuropsychiatric Disease and Treatment stated, “Chinese herbal formulas (CHFs) have been widely used in the treatment of depression, achieving better therapeutic effects than placebo and having fewer side effects than conventional antidepressants.” While their statement sounds promising, it is important to point out that the formulae discussed in the article are used to, according to TCM terminology, soothe the liver. While it is a common pattern for Chinese herbal medicine for depression, it is not all inclusive, and many patients can experience the symptoms of depression while having other different organ imbalances.
Chinese Herbs for Menopause
Considering that menopause is part of the natural aging process, its cause is much more predictable, and women can take factory-made herbal supplements prepared according to ancient Chinese herbal remedies recipes. Oftentimes, the cause of menopause is Kidney Yin deficiency, but the issue is that nobody is perfect and different women experience different symptoms, which may be indicative of other underlying imbalances in addition to those that occur during the natural aging process, making the situation more complicated.