[an error occurred while processing this directive]

Herbal Medicines

Alternative to pharmaceuticals

In a world where consumers are taking back the power of their health care choices, alternatives to pharmaceuticals are flooding the marketplace from every direction.

While this is a wonderful trend, it comes along with a danger. There is no shortage of opportunities for alternative medicines to be inappropriately used leading to an aggravation of symptoms or even the creation of new problems.

Beyond Well Being's mission is to provide TCM (traditional Chinese medicine) herb formulas to patients using solid TCM diagnostic tools, age-old TCM protocols and modern communication technology to arrive at an intelligent, safe and effective herbal medicine designed solely for the individual.

Just like the good ole days... in ancient China.

Why herbs?

Herbal medicines are generally more gentle than drugs and more holistically targeted, so there are less side effects. In fact, herbs used within the traditional Chinese medicine (TCM) context tend to actually relieve symptoms above and beyond the chief complaint of the patient. An anti-hypertension formula will lower the blood pressure and address any symptoms that might have arisen from the high blood pressure, but it will also address other seemingly unrelated symptoms such as tremors in the hands or facial tics.

Why Chinese Herbs?

There is nothing that I can think of that is important about the fact that the herbs come from China. The valuable item here is the way that traditional Chinese medicine (TCM) looks at the body. Because of the unique things that we see, we can diagnose and solve problems that biomedicine is not able to see, understand, or solve. Its amazing how many patients come to me for problems that don't show up on any biomedical test. The doctor agrees that there is a problem, but how can you treat something that doesn't exist for a machine? That is what biomedicine has to deal with quite frequently. Fortunately, TCM isn't very reliant on machines and is uniquely poised to assist you in the treatment of your situation regardless of the cause or lack of cause that your MD may have found. IBS is an excellent example of this very fact. IBS is something that TCM has been treating for thousands of years. In the biomedical community it was a complete mystery until very recently, and even now, it is only a label to describe a syndrome that they're unable to treat.

Why herbs in capsules?

Herbs can be purchased in a variety of forms including raw herbs that one would take home and brew into a nasty tasting tea. The herbs available through Beyond Well Being have already been cooked into a tea, but the water has been removed and what is left is a highly concentrated form of herbal medicine which is then placed into capsules after your prescription has been written.

In special cases, raw herbs are available. Cost would have to be determined based on how much and which herbs are necessary. In some cases, raw herbs are more potent than the encapsulated herbs, though it also depends on which herbs we're talking about. Special cases would include life threatening diseases or some dermatological conditions that require the raw herb to be applied topically.

What can herbal medicines treat?

If you're taking a drug, herbs can help you too. In some cases herbs can be used instead of drugs, in some cases herbs are utilized to address the side effects of drug therapies. There are cases in which drug therapy is quicker and that can be an important part of your therapy. If there is a life threatening situation going on with you right now, then stick with the biomedicine. Its really good at keeping you alive, however once you're stabilized and are in a position to look at alternatives, do consider herbal therapy.

Herbal medicines are often utilized for issues of internal medicine, especially where biomedical treatments come up short. Many herbal medicines are excellent at treating infections as some herbs do have antibiotic actions. But when creating a formula, the harsh properties of some herbs are kept in check by the inclusion of other herbs that protect the body from those harsh properties and limit or prevent side effects. Herbal formulas contain anywhere from four to forty herbs all working together to treat the symptoms as well as cause of a variety of problems. There are actually very few situations where we can't get involved with herbal medicines.

An example of when herbal medicines are perhaps not a good idea would be for patients on drugs such as Coumadin (warfarin). This is a blood thinner used for those with a high likelihood of either a stroke or heart attack. If this drug is being used, it is likely being used to prevent some very acute life threatening situation and any herb/drug interaction could limit the effectiveness of the Coumadin leading to exceedingly undesirable effects. TCM certainly does have some blood thinners and formulas that address the exact same problems as Coumadin but the stakes are high and if you would like to seek out alternatives to Coumadin or other drugs of the life threatening nature we can most certainly talk, but it may be better to actually see your herbalist in person. Doing this over the internet and telephone consultation is okay for the non-life threatening situations, however in the case of patients on this kind of drug, we should really do this in person as this will provide additional information for the herbalist to use in order to treat your health concern correctly, responsibly and of course, effectively. When appropriate, we can work with your Western medicine MD to monitor your progress using biomedical standards and technology.

If you are interested in looking at herb therapy for your life threatening health concern, feel free to contact Beyond Well Being and we'll see what we can do to put you in touch with an appropriately trained TCM herbalist in your area.

Why is differentiation so important?

Herbs sold on the internet tend to be marketed as treating a specific symptom, be that headache, impotence, low libido, obesity. However this is the lowest quality of health care that there is.

To treat your condition correctly herbs must be utilized that not only treat the symptoms but the cause at the same time. Even treating just the symptoms, we must be very clear on the specifics. For instance the herbs used for a sinus headache are very different from the herbs that are used for a tension headache. The PMS migraine gets different herbs than the dull headache that feels empty and is aggravated by activity.

In each of these cases, there are herbs for the unique headache that these conditions produce as well as herbs used to treat the body's response to stress, or the regulation of female hormones, or strengthening the immune system to limit the body's response to allergens.

The same thing applies to nearly every disease or condition that you can think of, even biomedical disease entities can have very different causes from the perspective of Chinese medicine, though the biomedical mechanism may be completely identical.

No matter what the western disease name, the problem must still be differentiated from the TCM perspective. Many herbs have been researched and found to have certain properties in biomedical terms such as herbs for hypertension. These herbs can be added to a formula to help cover our bases, but that is not always done, nor is it needed. Herbs that have not yet been proven effective from the biomedical perspective are utilized daily regardless of western medicine's ability to isolate an active ingredient or biomedical mechanism. Not knowing how something works does not make it a sham. It makes it a mystery.

The process at Beyond Well Being pays special attention to the unique nature of your symptoms to direct the inclusion of certain herbs and the exclusion of others that may aggravate your symptoms. Syndrome differentiation is also an important part of the diagnostic process. That's why we have the patient fill out the tongue diagnosis form so that we can better understand what is going on inside of your body to give rise to the symptoms or condition that you hope to have addressed.

Chinese Herbal Medicines for Internal Medicine

There are no miracle cures here, only intelligent, traditional protocols based on diagnostic procedures that have been embraced for thousands of years for safe and effective management of your health concerns.

From Meniere's disease to herpes, from IBS to diabetes, herbal medicines are uniquely poised to address all of these conditions, in most cases without the side effects of the more harsh and even dangerous drug therapies currently being utilized by Western medicine. Patients are encouraged to maintain a relationship with their western MD, especially in the life threatening conditions. Biomedicine is really good at keeping people alive and we find that a worthy goal to say the least, however to treat underlying causes of pathologies, well behind the cellular causes that Western medicine usually identifies, herbal medicines are an excellent adjunct therapy.

If you have any questions before we get started, please feel free to ask them. Just a simple "will herbal medicines help my condition?" is a question that I can quickly answer. To go into a great deal of depth may not be something that I have time to do for every piece of e-mail that I receive, but certainly I can give you a quick answer as best can be determined by your question.

Ask Al here!

Santa Monica acupuncture and herbs

IBS | Headaches
Contact | About | Al | Policies
Testimonials | Support | Prognosis-O-Rama
Customized Formulas TCM Style

Premixed Herbal Solutions
Restless Legs | Liver Detox | Kudzu and Liver | OnHealthy
Digestive | Herbs for Menopausal Hot Flashes and Irritability

© Al Stone 1995-2012 All Rights Reserved and Stuff
herb.shtml was last modified Nov 06 2012.
Still reading? Stalk me on Twitter.
Site written by Google author Dr. Al Stone

PO Box 3571, Santa Monica, CA, 90408-3571