Chinese Herb Formula
TCM practitioners use herbs in formulations to create a balanced, synergistic effect that reflects the holistic nature of the diagnosis. Generally speaking, TCM practitioners use herbs that originally come from whole grasses, roots, stems, leaves, flowers, barks and fruits. When you visit a TCM practitioner, an herbal formula which contains many different herbs may be prescribed. The combination of herbs to create a formula is one of the main differences between the western and eastern point of views. There are hundreds of traditional Chinese herbal formulas for one single medical condition. The formula is modified by the TCM practitioner to suit the condition and constitution of each patient, making each formulation highly individualized.
There are big differences in the effective ingredients of plants used in Traditional Chinese Medicine due to differences in growing environment and the nature of the soil. In general, herbs that are grown in the wild are considered to be of better quality than those that are artificially cultivated. TCM practitioners view the size, shape, color, texture and flavor of herbs in order to determine the quality of Chinese herbs. Chinese herbs should be stored properly in order to prevent the effectiveness become compromised. They should be kept it in a dry, well-ventilated and dark place.
Chinese herbal products are available in the market in many forms, such as tea, extract, powder, capsule, juice, oil and supplement. Capsule is probably the most widely used form of Chinese herbal medicine in western countries. In United States, many Chinese herbal products are considered as dietary supplements. The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) regulations for dietary supplements are not the same as those for prescribed drugs. The regulations for dietary supplements are not as strict as prescribed drugs. There have been reports of herbal products being contaminated with drugs, toxins, heavy metals or herbs not listed in the ingredients. It is very important that you purchase herbal products that have been certified. There are Chinese herbal products that are certified by Chinese Medicines testing services or organic certification agencies.
Chinese Herbology Education
TCM practitioners are supervised by the State Administration of Traditional Chinese Medicine of the People’s Republic of China. Some TCM practitioners suggest that there are five universities offer the best Chinese herbology degree programs in China: Shanghai University of Traditional Chinese Medicine, Chengdu University of Traditional Chinese Medicine, Beijing University of Chinese Medicine, Nanjing University of Chinese Medicine and Heilongjiang University of Chinese Medicine.
Students will learn Chinese traditional pharmacological theories and knowledge with practical skills in identifying herbs, modification, and quality control evaluation to be successful Chinese traditional pharmacists who will have their career in Chinese medicine production, management, marketing, education, science and research, and administrative duties in medical institutions. In most universities, students will take courses such as fundamental Chinese medicine, traditional Chinese herbs, pharmacology of traditional Chinese medical formulae, organic chemistry, Chinese materia medica.