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Traditional Chinese Medicine
How Safe?

Traditional Chinese medicine, TCM, is getting more and more recognition in the West. And it is interesting to see that there exist two different kinds of knowledge in Chinese medicine.

One has been recorded in the history books dated back to the Yellow Emperor (2698 to 2599 B.C.), and herbal dictionaries, which we may consider standard or official.

The other is being circulated around verbally among the population which grew out of the necessity of maintaining good health. And may contain conflicting information not found in the written version.

Magic Formula

Many Chinese believe there is a magic herbal formula to heal everything. The "secret" formula might be handed down from mothers and grandmothers to daughters to granddaughters.

You are likely to get one if you ask. When you ask somebody else, you will certainly get another one just as good, if not better.

The formula ranges from one herb to about ten to twenty herbs. It fits everybody and you can use it for the rest of your life and pass it on.

Hot and Cold

Which food is considered Hot or Cold always makes an interesting argument as every Chinese has a different interpretation about the concept of "Hot and Cold".

Cold and hot herbs have opposite properties. These properties describe the energetic features of herbs, their actions on the human body, and their therapeutic effects.

Incorrect applications of herbs on patients may cause severe problems and strong toxic effects. For example, using herbs of the hot nature on a patient with hot syndromes will only cause the disease even worse. Herbs are safe and effective only when they are used correctly with appropriate properties applied to the corresponding ailments.

Not to Be Used Casually

Some Chinese herbs, like astragalus and ma huang, sound distinctly exotic, others are as familiar as licorice and cinnamon. While ma huang can be used to cut your appetite, over time, it can make you tired and deplete your energy.

Some herbs look alike, for example the apricot kernels. There are two kinds of apricot kernels available in Chinese grocery and herb stores. The larger, longer kernels are from the South. The smaller, rounder kernels are from the North. Northern apricot kernels are mildly toxic and bitter and should be used sparingly. Normally when both varieties are called for in the same recipe, use in a ratio of four to one.

Dang gui, also known as dong quai, a panacea for women's reproductive problems. Though this herb can be highly effective, it should be compounded for your particular condition, probably in combination with other herbs.

There is a popular misconception that says, 'If it is natural, it can�t hurt you'. But many natural medicinal herbs, in fact, are toxic. In the right hands, they can heal, but use them incorrectly and you are in trouble.

Ask the Professionals

Traditional Chinese Medicine, TCM, is a highly effective healing art. But it is one that should be left to qualified and experienced practitioners!

Return from TCM to About Chinese Medicine

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