Background

Chinese Herbal Medicine is the world’s oldest continuously practised literate science. Its principles were set down around 2,500 years ago and it has continued to evolve as a scholarly clinical tradition ever since. Today it still forms the bckground of public health care in China as well as for millions of oriental people throughout the world. Its importance as a low cost but clinically proven medical system is recognised by the World Health Organisation.

Principles
Chinese Herbal Medicine is based on a conceptual framework that is different to Western medicine. The foundation is a very detailed examination of signs and symptoms with particular attention paid to the pulse and tongue. The Chinese Herbalist diagnoses a pattern of imbalance rather than a specific disease, as  understood in the Western sense. Patients showing the same “disease” are likely to be diagnosed with different patterns depending on the specific clinical manifestations shown by each individual. The primary therapeutic aim is to strengthen the patient’s natural healing responses by improving digestion, elimination, circulation, metabolism and immune response. Chinese Herbal Medicine therefore goes to great lengths to avoid methods which are potentially weakening or have strong or dangerous side effects. Particular attention is paid to diet, exercise and stress management.

Effectiveness
Over the last 50 years a vast amount of laboratory and clinical research has been undertaken and is available through specialist journals. Areas where Chinese Herbal Medicine is indisputably effective include migraine, asthma and respiratory allergies, skin diseases including eczema, irritable bowel syndrome and similar digestive problems, gynaecological problems such as dysmenorrhoea, pre-menstrual tension and menopausal syndrome, hypertension, insomnia and depression.

Professional Standards
Chinese Herbalists trained in the UK will have undertaken courses of study equivalent to honours degree level including clinical practice. They will be registered either with the Unified Register of Herbal Practitioners or the Register of Traditional Chinese Herbalists.