Medicinal herbs are an important part of Chinese medicine and are often given in conjunction with acupuncture as part of a treatment plan. There are a few ways that medicinal herbs can be taken:
For many prescriptions the traditional way is to prepare them as a strong tea. Although this is often the most effective form, it is somewhat inconvenient to prepare and tends to have a strong taste that many people are not used to. For greater comfort and convenience pills and granules have been developed. Although both of these make it easier to take herbs they each have their own drawbacks. The granules are convenient as they are easily dissolved in water; however they still tend to have a strong taste. Pills are also convenient and don’t have the taste issue, but a large number of pills is usually required to obtain a therapeutic effect.
The most frequent objection we hear from patients is that they either don’t like taking so many pills or don’t like having to take herbs 2 or 3 times a day. Many patients are used to taking small doses of pharmaceutical drugs once or twice per day. Many times when a patient taking herbs seems to not be getting better I ask if they are taking the full dose prescribed. Often they admit they are only taking a fraction of the recommended dosage. This, of course, explains why they haven’t seen the desired results and generally leads me to explain: “They work better if you take ’em!”
Even though having to take herbal medicine in any form 2 or 3 times per day is slightly inconvenient, it is helpful to bear in mind that herbs do not have the side effects so common with pharmaceutical drugs and are generally not intended to be a “prescription for life”. The goal of Chinese medicine is to correct the problem and root out its cause so that you don’t have to take the herbal medicine forever. The more faithful you are to the treatment plan the more quickly you will be free from this minor inconvenience. Contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org for more information about whether Chinese herbal medicine might be beneficial for you.