Chinese herbal medicine is part of an integrated system of Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM) that has an uninterrupted history of development dating back thousands of years in China and other parts of East Asia. The origins of Chinese herbal medicine can be traced back few thousand years which making it the oldest and the most long-standing health care modality to-date.
In general, Chinese herbal medicine takes an wholistic approach to understanding normal function and disease processes and focuses as much on the prevention of illness as on the treatment. Most diseases or illnesses present with a core set of recognisable signs and symptoms, but the actual presentation of a particular disease or illness will vary from person to person. For this reason, people with similar health conditions may be provided with quite different Chinese herbal medicine prescriptions.
Today, there are around 500 substances commonly used in Chinese herbal medicine, in Canada, most of Chinese herbal medicine used are originated from plants.
Some Chinese herbal medicine are familiar to all of us, for example teas, ginger, garlic, cinnamon, and chrysanthemum, peony flowers that might be in the backyard gardens. Most of the substances used in Chinese herbal medicine are not generally familiar to public, for example chai hu (bupleurum), di huang (rehmannia) and huang qi (astragalus). In this modern age, most substances from endangered species and other animals have been replaced by other similar action remedies.
- There are 12,807 TCM materials, including 1,146 herbal species, 1,581 animal species and 80 minerals. There are more than 100,000 medicinal recipes recorded in ancient Chinese literature
- Traditionally, TCMs are made by planting and harvesting herbal medicine and then extracting key ingredients. TCMs are brewed over a low fire into medicinal beverages, but many are now made into pills, injectables and oral liquids
- In 2006, 3.1 million U.S. adults had undergone acupuncture and 17 percent of them had used herbal medicine