We're extremely excited to offer Chinese herbal medicine to those patients who are interested!
Chinese herbal medicine has been utilized to address a vast array of health concerns for thousands of years. Despite the centuries-long isolation of China from the West, the treasure of Chinese herbal medicine has been passed down from generation to generation and is now available to us today!
In line with our mission to make safe and effective acupuncture and herbal medicine both accessible and affordable, the herbal medicine we provide will be of high-quality at an affordable price.
Our Herb FAQ below is broken down into three sections
- General Questions about Chinese herbs
- Herbs & Formulas We Prescribe - more specific info on products we prescribe
- Dosage Questions about the formulas we prescribe
+ Why do people use Chinese herbs?
It's difficult to pinpoint one all-encompassing reason, but as our society has become more cognizant of what we put into our bodies, the desire to use natural products provided by Mother Nature is gradually replacing the willingness to use synthetic chemicals formulated in a laboratory.
Along those lines, there is a growing dislike for the side-effects of pharmaceutical medications that seems to be rivaled only by the disdain that another medication (often with side effects of its own) is often necessary to address those side-effects.
For some, the long list of side effects at the end of a TV drug commercial may be amusing, but for those actually taking those medications it can be a real struggle to adequately address their health concerns, balance their medications (sepecially when they come with nasty side effects) and maintain their quality of life.
Fortunately, Chinese herbal medicine can be used to complement modern allopathic medicine with fewer, less intense side effects (if any) and may often address health concerns in areas where other treatments fall short.
+ Are Chinese herbs effective? How do I know if they can help me?
Chinese herbs are natural medicines that the most populous region of the world has relied on for thousands of years. They have been proven effective for a multitude of conditions, including those on our list of conditions acupuncture can treat, and are relatively safe options.
Our Intake/Registration Form includes a line where patients indicate whether they are interesed in herbal medicine for the treatment of their primary concerns or others that they may be struggling with.
We do this because it's important to us that our patients don't feel we are trying to upsell them into buying various products. We will only discuss the use of herbs further if you are interested. And even then, it will just be a discussion without any pressure or obligation. We will also gladly point you towards things to read online so you can do your own research and make informed decisions.
We will NOT hard-sell you or make you feel like it's a money grab.
+ Are herbs expensive?
They certainly can be. One HUGE bonus of the products we prescribe is that they are not only reliable, effective and safe (see below for more info on that), but they are also extremely cost-effective without sacrificing quality. As a nonprofit organization, we’ve been able to secure additional discounts beyond the typical wholesale pricing and do our best to place orders in quantities that minimize or eliminate shipping costs. In keeping with our mission to make acupuncture and herbal medicine affordable and accessible, we’ve made a concerted effort to pass those savings on to our patients & not use those savings to pad our bottom line. To illustrate this, the vast majority of herbal formulas we prescribe are only $8 or $9 per bottle, which is significantly less what you will pay for them elsewhere. And when you factor in the shipping costs you will have to pay elsewhere, the savings are even more significant.
+ Can Chinese Herbs replace the drugs I’m taking?
It is not in our scope of practice to give you advice about the pharmaceutical medications you may be taking or recommend any dosage changes. We recommend you discuss your medications and any adjustment of dosage with your prescribing physician.
Our experience, both personally and from what patients have reported, has been that with the use of acupuncture and herbal medicine, many folks are able to gradually cut back on their medications and, in many cases, eliminate them entirely.
+ How long do I need to take the herbs?
The duration varies based on the concern and how long you may have been experiencing the condition. Just as with prescription drugs, some Chinese herbs can do the job after a few doses, while others are taken for months or longer. For quickly onset concerns like a cold, Chinese medicines can work very fast and take effect within hours. For concerns that are chronic or larger in scope like cholesterol, glucose, weight management, or hair growth, it usually takes months to see results. In other cases, you may see signs of progress relatively soon, which can be encouraging, but the journey to the desired resolution of your condition may still take awhile.
Another thing we'll add is that stress, especially chronic stress, affects our digestion and the extent to which we absorb our food and our how efficiently our body absorbs and processes the nutrients and how efficiently our cells and organs function. Since acupuncture excels at the treatment and management of stress, and thus increases the efficacy of the herbs, it's our belief that optimal results are achieved by combining herbal medicine with acupuncture.
+ Can Chinese herbs act fast?
Yes. Herbal formulas can act very fast. For example, Coldsignoff™ acts within an hour to contain cold symptoms.
+ Do Chinese Herbs have side effects?
Yes, like anything we put into our bodies, Chinese herbs can sometimes have undesired side effects. But they don’t have the nasty side effects that you may hear at the end of a TV drug commercial.
For those who are interested in more info on this subject, there are five primary reasons why someone may experience side effects from taking herbs. As described below they are all pretty manageable.
If the prescribed herbs are not appropriate for the person’s specific condition. This is why we don’t sell herbal products without first assessing your condition (as opposed to basing our recommendation simply on the western medicine diagnosis you may have received) in order to best determine the appropriate formula, or combination of formulas, to best address your concerns. You see, for any given symptom or condition with a Western medicine label, Chinese medicine often identifies multiple reasons why you might be experiencing your symptoms. So, for example, four people could be experiencing constipation due to four different causes and, thus, each one of them may be better suited with a different approach, or formula, to address the specific cause for their constipation. While some formulas can be effective for multiple causes of a given condition, undesirable side effects may occur when the formula prescribed does not match the specific cause for that specific person’s condition.
Sometimes a prescribed herbal formula can work for a while, then as your body responds and shifts that particular formula may no longer be optimal or suitable. It’s kind of like putting a blanket on when you’re cold, but removing the blanket, or putting a lighter blanket on, when you warm up or get too hot. Depending on your condition, the dosage may need to be adjusted, the formula may need to be replaced by another formula, or you may no longer need to take any herbs. Please note that unlike taking antibiotics, where you are urged to finish all of your pills (even after your symptoms are gone), it may be recommended that you discontinue taking the prescribed formula once your symptoms go away. Continuing to take the herbs longer than necessary could cause the pendulum to swing too far in the other direction resulting in side effects - similar to not removing that blanket when you get too hot.
Sometimes there is so much going on that it’s a bit difficult to accurately assess the root cause of the condition at hand. In these cases, you may be prescribed a formula that addresses the most likely culprit and be asked to monitor yourself in order to give feedback to us so we can tweak the approach/formula as necessary. In these cases, we may just need to get the dust to settle before we can see things more clearly, and proceed from there. Acupuncture is very good at helping us to get the dust to settle.
Straying from the dosage recommendations and interaction with other medications and food can also result in side effects. When you ingest the herbs in relation to meals and other medications is important. In addition, optimal dosage of any particular formula can vary from person to person depending on their body weight. In order to minimize side effects due to these reasons, we base our dosage amounts on both the manufacturer recommendations, the patient's body weight and how many times per day the aptient can reasonably take them (usually 2 or 3 times a day). You can find there recommendations in the Dosage Questions FAQ further down on this page.
Simply put, Chinese herbs and the various steps taken before they end up in your hands, are not regulated the way other pharmaceutical products are in order to ensure that they are safe, or optimal, for consumption. This means herbal products of lesser quality, containing inactive ingredients (that may be harmful or cause side effects) and of higher toxicity are available on the market for consumption. When quality control measures are not taken, herbs can become easily contaminated. In some cases, the products aren’t even what they proclaim to be!
For this reason, we’ve made sure that we select products that are manufactured in strict compliance with Good Manufacturing Practices (GMP) in both China and America and undergo an extensive gauntlet of quality control measures so we can be confident that what you're ingesting is, in fact, what the bottle says it is. For those interested, more info on our primary lines of herbal formulas and their quality control measures is located in the next section of this FAQ - Herbs & Formulas We Prescribe.
Herbs & Formulas We Prescribe
We predominantly prescribe patent Chinese formulas in tablet form for our patients. This means the herbs are grown, harvested, prepared, combined, cooked, tested, and packaged by others with the necessary means and equipment to incorporate rigorous quality control tests. We do not do any of that ourselves.
We’ve put a lot of effort and research into selecting the herbal products from ActiveHerb and Guang Ci Tang to be prescribed in the clinic. We’ve used many of their products ourselves and have prescribed them for friends and family. We have received positive feedback from those who have taken them, as well as other practitioners who prescribe them in their clinics.
For those interested, the following FAQ focuses on the patent formulas from ActiveHerb and Guang Ci Tang.
+ What can you tell me about ActiveHerb and Guang Ci Tang products?
Every ActiveHerb and Guang Ci Tang product undergoes rigorous lab testing before it reaches our clinic in order to ensure authenticity, quality, potency and safety. These tests range from authentication tests, to physical analysis and purity analysis where they are tested for microbes (bacteria, yeast, mold, e coli, salmonella, staphylococcus), heavy metals (lead, arsenic, mercury, cadmium), pesticides and sulfur dioxide.
All of their products are also manufactured in strict accordance with Good Manufacturing Practices (GMP) in both China and the U.S. Their facilities are cGMP-certified for pharmaceutical products, which are regulations enforced by the US Food and Drug Administration dictating standards for every step of the manufacturing process.
+ Are your patent herbs 100% natural?
Yes! Our patent Chinese medicines do not contain any sugars, pharmaceuticals, artificial colors, or preservatives. In addition, the modern extraction processes implemented by the manufacturer allows for higher potency of herbs while also avoiding the use of unnecessary binders and fillers, ensuring the purity of their products.
+ Why do you only sell formulas instead of individual herbs?
Chinese herbs are rarely used individually in clinics. They are used exclusively in herbal formulas where multiple herbs are combined. These combinations are designed to boost an herb’s effectiveness, address several maladies at once, and counter potential side effects.
Just as any good team requires individuals with varying skill sets to effectively accomplish its goals, a good formula requires multiple herbs of varying properties and actions to work cohesively, balance each other out, minimize side effects and effectively achieve their goal.
The following is provided specifically for patients who have been prescribed a formula or those who are just curious.
+ When should I take the tablets?
In order to maximize absorption, we recommend taking the tablets a minimum 30 minutes before meals or 1 hour after meals.
We also recommend at least one hour, optimally a minimum of 2 hours, between taking the tablets and taking other medications.
We realize this may be difficult to coordinate, but we urge you to do the best you can and, as always, Contact Us if you experience any negative side effects or have any questions.
+ How many tablets should I take?
The suggested dosage should be indicated on every bottle of patent formula you receive from us. If not, please Contact Us immediately.
The suggested dosage, usually consisting of a certain # of pills to be taken daily, 2 times a day or 3 times a day.
NOTE: This is the recommended dosage for YOU based on YOUR condition and YOUR body weight. It may vary from what the manufacturer may recommend on the pre-printed label or their website which emphasizes that it is likely not appropriate to share your herbs with a friend or family member even if they appear to have similar symptoms. If you have any questions or concerns, please Contact Us.
+ What if I tend to forget to take the tablets during the day?
This is not uncommon as many folks get consumed or distracted during the day. It's ok. In some cases we will discuss the likelihood of whether you will take them 2 or 3 times per day and write your prescription based on that realistic assessment. The intent of prescribing herbs is to help you, not to create more anxiety or stress.
If you have any questions or concerns, please Contact Us.
+ I don't like pills or tablets. Can I get this in tea form?
We have good news for you. Since the tablets we prescribe dissolve pretty well in hot water you can make your own tea from the tablets!
+ Should I take herbs when I have the cold or flu?
Probably Not. Some herbs and tonic formulas are inappropriate during the initial stages of a cold or flu. In addition to making the body stronger, tonics may make the cold or flu more virulent. To be safe, we recommend that you take a few days off from taking the herbs when you come down with a flu or cold and resume taking the prescribed formula when the illness has run its course. If you have any questions or concerns, please Contact Us. Side Note: if you're interested in herbs for a cold or flu, just let us know.
+ Are there any other instances when I should stop taking my herbs?
Yes. We recommend that you discontinue taking the herbs if you feel you are coming down with a stomach virus.
You should stop taking your herbs if you start experiencing any unusual side effects. In these cases please call us to discuss whether we should adjust the dosage or discontinue taking that formula altogether.
+ Should I take the herbs if I get pregnant?
It depends on which herbs you are taking. The vast majority of our herbs are safe during pregnancy, but please Contact Us if you are pregnant (or think you might be) so we can advise you based on the specific formula you are taking.
+ The acupuncturist said I could double the dosage on the bottle for a short period of time for a quicker and stronger response, such as in acute stages, as needed. Is that safe? I'm skeptical.
Yes, this is actually what the manufacturer recommends in acute phases. They can't print everything on the limited label space, but we encourage you to look up the products on their website and confirm this yourself. If you have any questions or concerns, please Contact Us.