The use of herbal therapies for the treatment and management of diseases is increasing. This is because of the beneficial health effects of Chinese herbs, which contain thousands of bioactive components that have known therapeutic applications; without the undesired side effects of many currently used pharmaceutical drugs.
The healing properties of Chinese herbs have been helping people for thousands of years and are an important part of traditional Chinese medicine(TCM). When applicable, Chinese herbal therapy can also be combined with other modalities, such as acupuncture or Chinese massage because combining therapies gives a much deeper healing experience, with the intention of disease free living.
Your Quality Assurance for Chinese Herbs
All practitioners at Bing’s Natural Health are fully registered health professionals with the Chinese Medicine Board of Australia (CMBA) and are regulated under the Australian Health Practitioner Regulation Agency (AHPRA). All herbal products prescribed must be entered into the Australian Register of Therapeutic Goods (ARTG) and are batch tested for consistency and quality to protect the public. Only ingredients that are known to be safe can be used in herbal medicines. Therefore you should only see CMBA registered Chinese medical practitioners to ensure all of your herbs are approved by the Therapeutic Goods Administration (TGA). Registered Chinese medicine practitioners can be accessed via a free practitioner search option on the AHPRA website.
As practitioners entrusted with the care of your health it is important to ensure that you receive the correct Chinese herbs and quantity of herbs.
Therefore your herbs are only supplied after a detailed consultation with one of our practitioners to assess your exact individual needs, which may change over time.
Diet, Food and Herbs in Traditional Chinese Medicine
I receive a lot of enquiries about diet, food, and herbs in TCM so I thought I’d try to clarify some misconceptions about the subject. Obviously, I can only touch on the subject briefly and it is one area in which the Traditional Chinese Medicine philosophy is quite different from that of western medicine, so I decided to share a couple of stories that illustrate our approach.
Someone (let’s call her Jane) asked me what I could do for a close relative who is on antidepressants under the care of a psychiatrist and still having terrible mood swings and exhibiting frightening signs of aggression. Since the person has a history of drug abuse, her liver is already damaged and antidepressants are not good for the liver. Her psychiatrist suggested that they try a placebo antidepressant and Jane wanted to know what I thought? I explained that in TCM we don’t use placebos; we try to do something about the issue at hand. How a person feels is a key component of a person’s well-being and treatment plan, regardless if there is anything showing on any modern diagnostic tools. Even with the so called ‘the problem is just in their head’ – it is never just in their head in Chinese medicine. In a case like this, I explained to Jane that we do need the psychiatrist’s support and permission before intervening for safety reasons. The process would then involve the patient committing to weekly visits for at least 3 months: the first month to introduce herbs in addition to their medication; the second month to test reducing the medication in conjunction with the herbs; and a third month to continue monitoring progress. Many doctors are increasingly open to alternative types of treatment, especially in cases where conventional medication is not delivering the desired effects.
The next story talks about herbs and food. There is a very close link between food and medicine in Chinese culture. In China it is a common practice to combine herbs in cooking to create therapeutic food. Our clinic does not supply raw herbs to go into your cooking and it is not ideal to practise such food therapy in a western culture. The simplest way for us and our clients is to prescribe the same herbs as supplements. Practitioners rarely prescribe a single herb by itself because herbs are meant to be used in combination for many reasons. For example. some herbs are toxic when taken alone, and some herbs simply won’t work if taken alone. This is why your practitioner gives careful thought to the exact herbs you should take and the proportions in which they should be taken.
So, I was really concerned when a woman walked into the clinic and asked if we could sell her a single herb. She would not consult a practitioner, nor explain why she wanted it, but simply said that she ‘had done her research’. Needless to say she walked out without the herb for all of the above reasons (including the fact that this particular herb is quite toxic and is never used alone in TCM).
Some of our clients prefer not to take any herbs, and we respect that decision, while explaining that their body will take longer to get back in balance if they just rely on in-clinic treatments because the carefully chosen herbs we recommend support your systems between visits. Your practitioner makes a diagnosis based on your body-type and needs that is designed to improve your energy, happiness, and well-being.
Our Chinese Medicine Herbal Shop
Bing’s Natural Health stock a broad range of Chinese herbs in high quality concentrated capsule and pill form. These include herbs combined into traditional formulas to optimise the beneficial effects. (We do not stock raw herbs)
In addition, Bing’s Natural Health uses a high quality Chinese herbal medicine dispensary so that herbal remedies can also be exactly formulated for clients from an extensive range of herbs. This dispensary only purchases from overseas suppliers who are certified by the Australian TGA and operate in accordance with the Australian code of GMP for medicinal products. For convenience we prescribe concentrated extracts in granule and powder form.
These are all easy to use and cost effective for patients. In many cases, Chinese herbs can be taken with western medicine prescriptions to support recovery – you just need to check this with your practitioner.
Chinese Herbal Medicine for Children
TCM recognises that the young bodies of children and infants are very different from adults. For example, they are growing rapidly and have different childhood disorders. Therefore the herbal treatments for children that have been developed over very long periods of time are a gentle, safe and effective natural alternative.
Examples of some TCM Herbal Formulas for boosting Qi
Bu Zhong Yi Qi Tang
a lovely formula that is used to boost Qi that has an upwards lifting effect. Useful for treating organ prolapse and certain cases of recurrent miscarriage.
Si Jun ZI Tang
a general formula for boosting energy and improving digestive function.
Sheng Mai san
a formula that boosts energy and body fluids; traditionally used in the aftermath of a febrile illness.
Shen Qi Da Bu Wan
a simple combination of 2 herbs to boost general energy levels and the immune system; may be used in certain cases of chronic fatigue syndrome.
Ba Zhen Wan
a formula that boosts qi and blood.
Xiang Sha Liu Jun Zi Tang
an energy boosting formula that also helps with poor digestive function.
Examples of some TCM Herbal Formulas for Autumn
Sheng Mai San
is a lovely formula that boosts the energy levels while moistening the fluids of the body.
Yu Ping Feng San
a wonderful combination of Chinese herbs that acts to boost the immune system in preparation for the upcoming winter months.
Liu Wei Di Huang Wan
a gentle formula that nourishes the yin fluids of the whole body.
Examples of some TCM Herbal Formulas for Winter
Gan Mao Ling
a great formula to reduce the severity and duration of colds and flu.
Yin Qiao San
a formula that helps reduce upper respiratory tract infections and sore throats.
Xiao Chai Hu Wan
the perfect formula to treat colds and flu that are accompanied with alternating chills and fever. Also used to reduce post-viral fatigue symptoms.
Pi Pa Gao Cough Syrup
a yummy herbal cough syrup that helps to ease coughs, reduce wheezes and ease chest congestion.
Examples of some TCM Herbal Formulas for Spring ailments
Xin Yi San
used to treat hayfever with nasal symptoms accompanied by sinus headaches and sinus congestion.
Bi Min Gan Wan
used to treat sinus issues like hayfever and sinusitis, with some heat signs. This formula acts by reducing sneezing, opening and unblocking the nasal passages, easing sinus congestion, clearing the fogginess from the head and reducing nasal discharge. The formula is available in convenient pill or capsule form.
Ming Mu Di Huang Wan
treats eye conditions where dryness, itchiness and pressure behind the eyes are the main symptoms.
Qi Ju Di Huang Wan
treats chronic eye conditions including dry and sore eyes, light sensitivity, plus dry throat and mouth.
Yu Ping Feng San
to boost the immune system.
Examples of some TCM Herbal Formulas for Summer ailments
Bao Ji Wan (contains wheat)
used for overindulgence in food and especially alcohol over the festive season. This is great when travelling overseas to treat gastroenterritis-like illnesses (eg Bali/Delhi belly)
Shen Qi Da Bu Wan
used to boost the energy levels and body fluids. Strengthens the immune system.
Bao He Wan
helps to promote digestion in cases of bloating and/or mild reflux. Used for over indulgence in food.
Gan Mai Da Zao Wan (contains wheat)
to help aid sleep in cases of restless sleep with vivid dreams.
Liu Wei Di Huang Wan
a cooling formula that replenishes the body fluids. Used in cases of too much work/physical actinvity without enough rest and sleep.
Jin Gui Suan Zao Ren Tang
to help aid sleep in cases of insomnia and restlessness.
Examples of some TCM Herbal Formulas for Skin Conditions
Qing Re An Chuang Wan
for teenage acne.
Pi Yan Tang
for acute dermatitis and acute eczema.
Huang Lian Jie Du Wan
for purulent skin lesions.
Si Miao Yong An Wan
for acute infections, acne, varicose veins, leg ulcers and allergic skin diseases.
Si Wu Wan
for chronic dry skin, slow healing skin lesions, chronic eczema and chronic dermatitis.
Wu Wei Xian Du Yin
for early stage carbuncle, boil, cellulitis, acute lymphangitis, mastitis and abscess.
Examples of some other TCM Herbal Formulas
Dang Gui is a very powerful herb (also known as Chinese Angelica Root). It has many nutrients that nourish the blood and is commonly referred to as the ‘woman’s ginseng’ because of its effectiveness in treating endometriosis, fibroids, and menopause as well other female problems. Dang Gui is often used in cooking as it is tasty and nutritious in addition to its healing and strengthening properties.
For the safety of your health, your qualified TCM practitioner will determine which herbal formula is the most effective for your condition during your consultation.