Used for centuries in the East, herbal remedies form the basis of Chinese medicine. Here, we find out what they can do for us
Unlike conventional Western medicine, which attempts to isolate and treat the symptom of your discomfort, Chinese medicine takes a more holistic approach. Herbs play an integral , Escapada Co-Founder, TCM practitioner and herbal medicine specialist, Emilia Herting, explains: “Herbal therapy, next to acupuncture, is the most widely used traditional Chinese medicine. The formulas can be modified to fit each individual patient’s needs, especially when there’s more than one health concern to address.” There are traditional herbal formulas to aid almost every aliment in Chinese medicine, but sometimes a more tailored approach is required. “Although there are thousands of traditional formulas for just about every condition imaginable, a formula is almost always modified to suit the subtle nuances of the condition and constitution of the patient, making each one highly individualised,” says Emilia.
“In TCM moderate fatigue is most likely caused by a deficiency of spleen qi the vital energy that circulates through your body,” says Emilia. “The spleen is responsible for the transformation from foods into qi and blood, two vital substances that we need enough of in order to feel strong and resilient. Herbs such as Asian ginseng (ren shen), astragalus root (huang qi) and liquorice root (zhi gan cao) to boost energy production and strengthen immune function.”
For your immune-system
“There are some amazing herbs to boost the entire body and immune system,” says Emilia. “Astragalus root (huang qi) and Asian ginseng (ren shen) are the best herbs to bolster the ability of your immune system to function efficently.
For respiratory conditions
“With respiratory and asthma conditions, the disharmony pattern tends to be more complex,” explains Emilia. “Both the root and the branch must be addressed to achieve positive results, so herbs such as Asian ginseng (ren shen) can boost qi and strengthen the immune function, while a herb like an apricot seed (xing ren) is a cough and phlegm resolving herb that can help with symptoms such as coughing and wheezing, as well as condtions such as asthma.”
For the menopause
“In TCM, a kidney yin deficiency is thought to cause hot flushes and insomnia in menopausal women,” explains Emilia. “Some Chinese herbs used within menopause formulas are said to contain phytoestrogens providing estrogen-like effects. Dependent on the manifestation, herbs such as Chinese angelica root (dang gui) or rehmannia root (shu di huang) can help with night sweats and insomnia through nourishing the blood and Yin.”
For digestion issues
“The most important organs that we look at for a strong and well functioning digestive system are the liver, spleen and stomach,” says Emilia. “Herbs such as atractylodes rhizome (bai zhu) or tangerine peel (chen pi) can help to regulate your whole digestive system.”
Herbal formulas are available in raw form (the strongest formula, but not often used in Western Cultures), powder (an in-clinic prescribed formula which can be modified by your practitioner and the most practical format) and patent capsules or pills (the least strongest formula but a ‘onesize fits all’ pill which is brought online or at the pharmacist, so is not prescribed to your health or individual needs).