Refers to a broad range of medicine practices sharing common theoretical concepts which have been developed in China and look back on a tradition of more than 2000 years, including various forms of herbal medicine, acupuncture, massage therapy, and dietary therapy. These practices are a common part of medical care throughout East Asia, but are considered alternative medicine in the western world.
TCM's view of the body is little concerned with anatomical structures, but with the identification of functional entities (which regulate digestion, breathing, aging etc.). While health is perceived as harmonious interaction of these entities and the outside world, disease is interpreted as a disharmony in interaction. TCM diagnosis involves identification of patterns of disharmony, usually by taking pulse and tongue findings into account.
Chinese herbal medicine can help chronic, benign conditions such as allergic disease (asthma and eczema), hormonal problems such the menopause, premenstrual syndrome and painful, irregular or difficult periods, infertility, headache (including migraine), irritable bowel, and arthritis (both rheumatoid and osteo-arthritis).
The aim of the Chinese herbal medicine, particularly in these chronic, persistent complaints, is to generally improve your well-being, and slow down or modify the natural history of the illness from which you are suffering. Herbs can also be used to relieve depression or help sleep. Chinese herbal medicines have been used widely for a large number of conditions over many thousands of years.
Many of the conventional drugs come from the purified extracts of herbal preparations. However, one of the great strengths of using the unrefined whole plant is that the active ingredient is given along with a number of other naturally occurring plant chemicals and this, in itself, makes the action of the active ingredient far safer and so diminishes the chance of unpleasant side effects.
We will tend to use many herbs in combination. The prescription of a specific herb or mixture of herbs is not based on a conventional medical diagnosis but rather on the traditional diagnostic system that underpins the herbal prescription. For instance, a herb may be prescribed the strengthen the kidney or to dispel heat.