Herbal medicine is the practice of using a vast pharmacopeia of plants, minerals and animal products. Much of the herbal pharmacopeia has been used for centuries in Asia. Just as the development of acupuncture used vast human trials, the development of herbal medicine was also based on detailed observation of the effect each herb has on the human body. Chinese herbal formulas are developed as synergistic combinations of herbs that strengthen therapeutic properties of the herbs while reducing any unwanted side effects. Herbal formulas can be administered as pills, tablets, powdered extracts, and dried raw herbs. The dried raw herbs require ‘decoction’ by boiling with water and then drinking the tea. Acupuncture and herbal medicine are often used together as complementary therapeutic modalities.
Acupuncturists are the only licensed health care professionals in California who are required to be trained and tested for competency in prescribing herbal medicine. Chinese herbal medicine has been practiced safely and effectively for centuries and has the greatest potential for beneficial results when prescribed under the supervision of a trained professional who is fully informed of the benefits and risks.