Chinese Medicine is Herbal Medicine

By Jenny Gamer

When most people think of Chinese medicine, they probably think of acupuncture. It is well known for its ability to lessen or eliminate pain of all kinds as well as for its effectiveness in improving mood and lowering anxiety. Acupuncture is so good at treating these types of issues because of its ability to improve and direct circulation to open up the blockages that cause pain. Historically, herbal medicine has been the main therapy used in Chinese medicine, especially for internal medicine.

Many conditions not only require moving the blood and energy, but also supplementing the various substances that create and also come from our bodies healthy functioning: Yin, Yang, Qi, blood, Ying, Wei, Jing or body fluids. For this reason an herbal prescription is often given along with acupuncture. Although acupuncture can improve the functions that our bodies use to create these substances, it can be more effective to nourish them with herbs.

Chinese medicine uses combinations of herbs to create formulas which are individually tailored to each person’s constitution and the exact nature of their health disharmony.

So, for example, many people have discovered that turmeric and cinnamon are good at lowering inflammation and take these as single herb supplements. But even these spices can cause side effects or be inappropriate if used wrongly or in an unbalanced way. For instance, cinnamon can be taken to increase blood flow to the womb to help with fertility. But if someone has a small red tongue it will warm the blood too much and create dryness if taken at therapeutic doses.

Traditionally, these herbs would be embedded into larger formulations and used in a very targeted fashion. In fact, the combination of cinnamon and turmeric is professionally used particularly for shoulder pain or frozen shoulder in a balanced formula that may include other herbs to “dispel cold” or “dispel wind dampness” or “dispel blood stasis” as these anti-inflammatory herbs do. Further, there would be herbs to moderate any potentially harsh effects and to treat the constitution, nourishing the weakness in the body that allowed the problem in the first place.

I hope that Chinese herbal medicine, as well as acupuncture, becomes more popular in the U.S. because it has so much to offer.

Jenny Gamer of Pivotal Point Oriental Medicine can be reached at 507/990-5981 or

These statements are solely the responsibility of the author and do not necessarily reflect the views of The Entertainment Guide editorial staff. 

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