Herbal medicine involves the selection of herbs to be used for promoting health and treating disease. At the heart of Chinese Herbal Medicine are decocted herbal formulas (or teas) but sometimes pills and external applications of herbs are used as well. Let us go through the steps involved in developing and implementing an Herbal Medicine Regimen.

Step 1 – Consultation

The first step is the initial consultation. At the consultation patients fill out a questionnaire and intake forms on issues regarding their health. Afterward, there is a one on one interview where I will ask questions about general health such as digestion, sleep, energy, etc as well as ask about the history of the presenting symptoms. As part of the Chinese Medical diagnostics I will examine your tongue and feel your pulse. Based on all the findings, I will determine if herbs are appropriate and if so what type. Almost 95% of the time the herbs will be taken in the form of a tea that is personalized for the individual. Every condition and person is different, therefore treatment varies but I typically dispense 1 to 2 weeks worth of herbs after which we will have a follow up visit. Your personalized formula will come in a bottle with your name on it with instructions and the ingredients listed (so you can have fun looking them up). At the initial visit, I will give some idea of a timeline and/or prognosis for what is expected to happen. I will often fine tune that at follow up visits as progress depends not only on the individual but also to the extent that they stick with the regimen and are able to avoid triggers for their condition.

Step 2 – At Home Adherence To The Herbal Regimen

So you have had your consultation. You are ready to start feeling better. The next step is to start taking the herbs as directed. Herbal Medicine will not work if you do not take it.

Typically, the herbs are to be taken twice per day. I typically use water based granulated herb extracts. These granules can be simply placed in a mug and will dissolve with hot water. In some cases I may use an herbal supplement in the form of a pill. Either way the herbs are taken twice per day or as directed.

Step 3 – Follow Up Visits

The second visit usually occurs 1 to 2 weeks after the initial visit with all other follow ups occuring every 1 to 4 weeks after that as needed. Depending on the condition some treatment regimens might last only a week or two while others may persist for months.

At follow up visits, the herbal formula will often be tweaked to varying degrees. Occasionally it is not changed at all. The herbal formulas are personalized and they are changed as you improve or if any flare ups arise. The goal is to get to the point where symptoms have ceased and then a modified herbal regimen is given for a short period of time to prevent recurrence of the original issue. After this, treatment often ends and the patient is given instructions on how to follow up with me if needed.

Be sure to read about why you would use Chinese Herbs, how herbal medicine works, and about the safety of herbs to better understand the whole process.