Chinese herbal therapy is typically used in conjunction with acupuncture as the combined effect is often greater than using either one alone! Presently in China, approximately 20% of all TCM patients are treated with acupuncture alone whereas the remaining 80% are treated with herbs or a combination of herbs and acupuncture.
Clinical studies have shown Chinese herbs to be very effective in a variety of ailments including musculoskeletal, respiratory, gastrointestinal, and cardiovascular problems. They are used to relieve pain, help improve and restore organ function, and strengthen and support the immune system. They essentially can be used to treat most conditions recognized by conventional medicine and some things that TCVM may recognize as an imbalance before it actually becomes a disease!
Herbals are also used in conjunction with conventional Western medications. Western medications often work faster, but the goal of herbals is to correct the underlying imbalance and restore the intrinsic health of the body so that medications may not be necessary.
Additionally, herbals can be more easily tolerated than many conventional medications by our more sensitive patients. We think that because Chinese herbs are not molecularly changed or adulterated and remain in their natural state, that the body can more easily utilize their healing properties without side effects. Herbal therapy has an underlying principal - that nature provides a complex ‘technology‘ that is sometimes more powerful than science can produce artificially.
Herbal therapy is tailored specifically to the individual patient. For example, not all dogs or cats with arthritis will be given same formula. Instead, a recommendation is made based on several factors such as the body temperature and constitution of the pet, whether they are more weak or more painful, or whether the condition is worse in the heat, cold or damp. Additionally, the herbal therapy is intended to correct the root cause of an illness, not just to control symptoms alone.
On occasion, a single herb will be recommended by itself. More often though, the herbal prescriptions are based on ancient formulas that have been around for thousands of years. Formulas are a combination of herbs that are delicately balanced to achieve the desired healing effect with very minimal risk of side effects when prescribed for the appropriate condition. Many of the formulas that we use are based on these ancient formulas but modified slightly to be more appropriate and effective for our companion animals.
They come in several forms including pills, tablets, capsules and raw or granular forms that can be mixed with the food. They also can be used in conjunction with conventional medicines. The herbs are tested for quality and purity and are the same as those used in herbal prescriptions for humans.