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The Relationship Between Western Medicine and Chinese TCM Herbs

The rise of Traditional Chinese herbs in Western medicine, while steady for years, has recently become more prominent in the medicinal space. Much of this can be attributed to the rise of interest from general consumers, who in turn put pressure on practitioners. Even the Cleveland Clinic, one of the most prestigious medical centers in the world, adopted TCM practices, including Chinese herbs, into their wellness program starting in 2014. This event can be seen as a watershed moment for TCM’s acceptance in the West and as an indicator of things to come.

As a result, the last eight years have seen marked inroads made by TCM into Western medicine. This inertia recently culminated in the World Health Organization (WHO) including TCM diagnoses for the first time in the January 2022 edition of its list, the International Classification of Diseases. The WHO also opened its inaugural traditional medicine center the same year.

With Western practitioners increasingly incorporating TCM into their treatment plans, patients are reaping significant benefits from this synergistic approach. This blog explores the partnership between TCM and Western medicine in the West and what benefits patients can expect to see from this combined approach.

Chinese Herbal Medicine in the West
An increasing number of Americans are becoming aware of Western medicine’s limitations, leading many to supplement the typical American or European approach with holistic wellness options. In fact, The WHO estimates that around 80% of the world currently uses some form of herbal medicine. In America, acupuncture and Chinese herbs are the two main Eastern methodologies that have permeated the cultural consciousness.

Acupuncture’s long history in the West has allowed it to serve as a gateway for the adoption of other TCM practices, including Chinese herbs. Chinese herbs are typically prescribed in different formulas to treat an imbalance of life force (Qi) that presents as what Westerners would recognize as illness. Unlike the Western approach, TCM’s focus is on the overall balance of physical and mental health while treating symptoms, which leads to a more holistic wellness plan. In the US, it’s estimated that one in five Americans uses Chinese herbs regularly. Chinese herbal medicine is used to treat an array of ailments, including but not limited to:

Respiratory issues
Heart disease
Mental disorders
Skin conditions
Digestion issues
Autoimmune disorders
Reproductive health

While it may be tempting to order TCM supplies online, like any medication, Chinese herbs should be prescribed by a licensed practitioner with the education and experience to ensure the patient’s safety.

Like a Western medical doctor, a TCM practitioner is a licensed professional who can diagnose and prescribe various herbal formulas for individual patients’ ailments and wellness needs. Their training is rigorous to provide the same level of informed care you would receive from Western Medicine doctors, but with a different underlying methodology.

TCM practitioners are also trained to do a drug/herb interaction check to ensure that any Chinese herbs prescribed will not have an adverse effect when combined with the Western drugs a patient takes. When searching for a practitioner, always make sure they are certified by a reputable licensure board. You can also click here to find a practitioner near you.

Of equal importance is the quality of herbs being prescribed. Health Wisdom uses the best of modern technology and traditional methods, combined with industry-leading testing and certifications, to ensure only the highest quality herbs make it to the consumer. When these practices aren’t followed, patients risk getting ineffective herbs at best or getting something either inherently toxic or contaminated with toxins at worst.
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