At the physical level of the body, herbs become the main treatment. Herbs act on two levels. They affect the physical energy body and the physical body. Herbs act on the physical body similar to drugs, but they also have a definite energetic property.
There is a difference between the American herbal tradition and the Chinese herbal tradition. The American herbal tradition is less than 200 years old. If you pick up a book on American herbs you will find a list of symptoms and the single herbs to treat them. The information provided on each herb may include its physical description, where to find it, when it flowers, its astrological sign, and what symptom it treats. There are no classical American formulations consisting of combinations of several different herbs.
If you pick up a book in traditional Chinese herbs, you will find a plethora of information including the herb’s physical description, pharmaceutical name botanical name, family, where it’s grown, when it’s harvested, alternative names, its Oriental medicine properties (taste, temperature, toxicity, dosage range), the meridian it enters (Hart, Lung, Spleen, etc.), and the source of its first appearance in Oriental medicine history. Then you can go on to the companion text listing the traditional Chinese herbal formulas.
Many of these formulas are over 3000 years old, and have been proven in literally billions of people. With the information available on the individual herbs, the Chinese herbalists were able to create elegant herbal formulas to treat specific conditions as diagnosed through Oriental medicine. These formulas were created to enter the diseased organ’s channel, adjust its energy, and create a balance in the system. These formulas are extremely complex, some of them containing fifteen or more herbs in varying doses. In addition to being extremely effective, these formulas eliminate all the side effects of the powerful herbs
If you want to treat a headache with American herbs, the American herbal books recommend several herbs that affect a headache. It may or may not be effective. It will most likely not treat the actual cause of the headache, and will commonly have some side-effect.
If you want to treat a headache using traditional Chinese herbal formulas, you first need a solid Oriental medicine diagnosis. Then a specific formula is prescribed to treat the headache at its source (not the symptom) and the formula will have no side effects. The problem will be alleviated (the system will be re-balanced) and should not return.
"Culpepper's Color Herbal" by Culpepper is the classic American herbal text. It is 205 pages long and contains no formulas. "The Materia Medica" and "Formulas and Strategies", by Bensky & Barolet, contain the classical Chinese herbal formulas. Combined, the texts are 986 pages long. Most Oriental Medicine Physicians rarely use American herbs because these are not effective formulas. There are effective Chinese formulas for every medical condition, and the work. The Oriental Medicine Physicians at Acupuncture of Indiana prefer to go with a sure thing
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