Herbal Medicine 101: A Guide to Buying, Consuming, and Storing
Published | 5 min read
Herbal medicine is well-known for its healing properties. Taking the right steps when storing and using herbs ensure a longer shelf life and maximum efficacy.
If you’re a first-time buyer of
Buying Herbal Remedies That are Right for You
In TCM, herbal ingredients have
When it comes to buying herbs in person, it’s best to be critical. Be open to asking several questions so you can be sure that you’re getting good-quality herbs. A reputable seller should be transparent with their manufacturing, product testing, and quality control practices. As a result, you can purchase herbal remedies that are free from contamination and added preservatives.
In cases where you don’t know what to buy, it’s important to consult with a licensed TCM practitioner. How will the consultation go?
Firstly, they will observe the colour and thickness of your tongue coating. In addition, they will consider your facial expressions and physical characteristics. Next, a practitioner will listen for the presence of a cough and abnormalities in your tone of speech. They will also take note of bad breath.
After the practitioner completes your physical examination, they will ask you to describe your medical condition and its associated symptoms. Lastly, they will feel your pulse and check for areas of skin that are sensitive to touch.
A prescription will be provided for specific formulas or ingredients that’ll help improve your health. Do keep in mind that consultation with a TCM practitioner is not mandatory. However, the practice is recommended for ensuring the suitability of certain remedies for your body constitution.
If you are consuming pharmaceutical health supplements,
Is it safe to buy herbal formulas and ingredients online?
Being able to purchase herbal products or TCM from online retailers makes it more accessible for people worldwide.
It also allows you the opportunity to compare offerings by various reputable retailers and get an estimate of how much they cost. However, the price of a formula or ingredient shouldn’t be the primary factor when considering traditional remedies. Instead, you should purchase from reliable and authorised retailers to ensure safety and quality.
Addressing Various Illnesses with Traditional Remedies
In TCM, anxiety relates to disorders of the Heart and Shen (a spirit that resides in the Heart). It can also stem from imbalances in the Liver and Kidneys. Anger, rage, bitterness, and frustration constrain Liver qi, generating Heat that damages blood, and aggravates the Shen and Hun (a spirit that resides in the Liver). A decoction called
Extreme or unresolved grief and sadness restrict and deplete Heart and Lung qi, leading to Fire (yang) or Deficiency. This imbalance can be addressed by consuming Gan Mai Da Zao Tang (甘麦大枣汤).
If you have a cough or sore throat, try using a medicine called Yin Qiao San (银翘散) as it relieves symptoms of warm-febrile diseases.
Additionally, goji berries work great with chrysanthemum (ju hua, 菊花) to calm
Another method of using herbs is in
- Ba Zhen Tang (八珍汤) can nourish blood and increase vitality for good health.
- Shang Deng Dun Tang (上等燉湯) is great for all ages and those suffering from poor appetite and bloating.
- Lingzhi Qing Bu Tang (灵芝清补汤) is suitable if you want to boost your immune system or if you’re recovering from surgery or illness.
- Si Shen Tang (四神汤) and Yi Qi Tang (益气汤) if you need an energy boost.
Do remember to seek a TCM professional’s advice instead of self-medicating.
Storing and Preparing Herbal Medicine
Store dry ingredients in a cool, dark, and well-ventilated space. Avoid placing them under direct sunlight or exposing them to heat or steam. Formulas that are moist and sticky ingredients, such as
Before use, you can grind ingredients into powder and encapsulate them. You can also brew or extract them with ethanol. If it is in seed form, crush them before boiling. Volatile ingredients like
While you may not experience the effects of herbal medicine use overnight, small changes and time can help you understand your body and what it requires to stay healthy and balanced.
This is an adaptation of an article, “Herbal Medicine Basics: How to Use Raw Herbs”, which first appeared on All Things Health’s website.
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