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Chinese herbs

Photo by Mickey_Liaw [flickr.com/mhliaw] under CC BY-NC 2.0

Do you prescribe herbs?

Yes, though not always. Your need for an herbal prescription depends on your current condition. I typically prescribe herbs in the form of granules. The patient then fills the prescription online.

The benefit of granules is that they are prepared the traditional way, i.e. cooked via controlled water extraction. They can also easily be used to build a customized herbal formula. The granules are mixed in warm/hot water, and consumed as a decoction (broth).

Are herbal prescriptions and supplements safe?

If taken as directed by a licensed health practitioner, herbal prescriptions are generally safe. There are three main factors that help determine safety:

  • Individual Herb Selection: Herbal prescriptions generally contain more than one herb, sometimes as many as twenty. Each herb in the formula must address the underlying cause of your symptoms.
  • Dosage: Herbs are natural yet potent medicines, and proper dosage is important in order to prevent side effects.
  • Herb-Drug Interaction: It is important to inform your health practitioner of any medications you may be taking or have recently taken. Some herbs may interact with your medications to cause unwanted side effects. It is also important to notify your practitioner of any supplements you may be taking.

The above factors can be effectively evaluated by a qualified health practitioner.

Note that some herbal supplements are sold because the supplement industry serves a large market with the potential for huge profits. These supplements are not necessarily beneficial to your health. Again, your health practitioner can provide guidance if you are considering over-the-counter herbal supplements.