What Is Chinese Herbal Medicine?

Chinese herbs have been part of healthcare in China for many centuries and remains actively used in this and other countries in East Asia.  Over 400 plants are used in Chinese herbal medicine and although this includes commonly known herbs such as cinnamon, ginger, mint and goji berry, we prescribe many others that are less well known in the UK.    

What does taking Chinese Herbal Medicine involve?

In our practice, we offer Chinese herbal medicines as dried whole herbs or as granulated or powdered extracts.  

Our herbs are usually prescribed to be taken orally on a daily basis.  Dried whole herbs are normally prescribed where a stronger clinical effect is needed such as in acute conditions or for dermatological conditions such as eczema or psoriasis.  For chronic conditions such as symptoms of polycystic ovary syndrome, granulated or powdered extracts are frequently given which are mixed with hot water and taken as a herbal tea.   

For some patients or problems, we prescribe Chinese herbs for external use.  This includes for children where ingestion of herbal medicines could prove difficult to manage, or for pain problems such as period pain, sports injuries or inflammatory arthritis where external poultices or bath soaks are indicated.  

Who can use Chinese Herbal Medicine?

We have clinical experience in prescribing Chinese herbal medicine for many conditions listed on the RCHM website and have particular success in:

  • Symptoms of polycystic ovary syndrome including irregular or absent periods, excessive hair growth and acne
  • Other gynaecological conditions such as painful periods, endometriosis, male and female subfertility
  • Dermatological conditions such as eczema, psoriasis and urticaria
  • Respiratory illnesses such as frequent coughs and colds, bronchitis, allergic or perennial rhinitis
  • Gastrointestinal disorders such as irritable bowel syndrome and constipation
  • Musculoskeletal conditions such as sports injuries, frozen shoulder and arthritis 

We will never discourage essential medical treatment for conditions where your GP or consultant needs to be consulted.  

As with all our treatments, your safety is of utmost importance to us.  As registered practitioners of both the Association of Traditional Chinese Medicine (ATCM) and the Register of Chinese Herbal Medicine (RCHM), we prescribe authenticated Chinese herbal medicines that have been quality-assured by using only RCHM-approved suppliers.  These suppliers must fulfil rigorous criteria following a thorough investigation by independent auditors and which includes demonstrating that herbal medicines are manufactured according to Good Manufacturing Practice (GMP) standards.  These are important safeguards for ensuring safety standards are met and to ensure that our patients receive the best quality herbs available.