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Chinese Doctors Prescribe Herbal Medicine

It is best left to experienced practitioners and doctors prescribe herbal medicine. Only them are qualified to determine the correct dosages. And there is no doubts that self-medication can be dangerous and harmful.

In Chinese herbal therapy, several herbs may be combined in a single formula designed to treat or alleviate certain conditions associated with a particular ailment. This is known as compound therapy in Chinese medicine. Over the course of history, the Chinese have established more than 20,000 formulas.

When doctors prescribe herbal medicine, although he or she can use his or her own formulas to treat patients, it is recommended to use established formulas that have been proven effective whenever possible.

Note that the use of tried and true formulas does not eliminate the need for the doctors to take patient's case history nor should it give the patient a false sense of security to try herbal medication without first consulting with a medical professional or an experienced practitioner.


Standard Herbal Formulas

A standard herbal formula consists of a king herb, subject herb, assistant herb and servant herb. According to 'The Yellow Emperor´┐Żs Classics of Internal Medicine', 'The primary herb in a formula is called the king herb, the herb included in the formula to assist the king herb is called the subject herb in that formula and the herb included in the formula to be responsible to the subject is called the servant herb'.

Every formula must have at least a king herb, but not every formula needs a subject herb, assistant herb, or servant herb. As a general rule, the king herb in a formula has the largest dose, followed by the subject herb, the assistant herb and the servant herb.


King Herb

It is the herb which is primarily responsible for dealing with the syndrome under treatment. For instance, if the patient has been diagnosed as suffering from the cold syndrome, the king herb must be capable of warming up the body.

Formulas which have more than one king herb are typically used in treatment of a syndrome with multiple basic conditions that need to be treated simultaneously with two different herbs.


Subject Herb

An herb in this category assists the king herb in two different ways: it reinforces the action of the king herb from a different angle and it treats the concurrent syndrome.

For example, when the king herb in a formula is used to induce perspiration, a subject herb can be selected to produce body fluids to reinforce the function of the king herb in inducing perspiration.


Assistant Herb

The assistant herb can play one of the following three roles in a formula: it can assist the king herb or the subject herb in dealing with a relatively minor symptom, it can control the undesirable drastic effects of the king herb and the subject herb or reduce their toxic effects, and it can play the role of an opponent to supplement the action of the king herb.


Servant Herb

In a formula, the servant herb plays two basic roles: it can direct the formula to the effected region and it can harmonize the herbs in the formula.

As a reminder, we should let doctors prescribe herbal medicine, follow their advice, and have regular check ups.




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