In the course of your treatment, Chinese herbal remedies may be prescribed for you in conjunction with your acupuncture treatment. Like acupuncture, herbal medicine has been used for thousands of years in Asia to treat a wide variety of symptoms while stimulating the bodyís natural healing process. There are over 500 herbs in pharmecopia and herbs may be dispensed as raw herbs (teas) or in pills, capsules, granules, tinctures or external plasters.

In California, acupuncturists are the only licensed health care professionals required to be trained and tested for competency in prescribing herbal medicine. California-approved acupuncture schools require a minimum of 450 classroom hours of instruction in traditional Asian herbology, in addition to clinical training. Herbal medicine has been practiced safely and effectively for centuries and has the greatest potential for beneficial results when prescribed by a trained professional who recognizes the benefits and risks. In recent years, herbs have become very popular to self-treat many conditions. They are available in health food stores, supermarkets and on the Internet. While herbs are promoted as safe, inexpensive, natural alternatives to pharmaceutical drugs, one should be concerned about potential safety, effectiveness and potential misuse of herbal products, especially when self-prescribed.

Herbology is a complex science, in which each formula is specifically tailored for each personís constitution and condition. The California Acupuncture Board strongly recommends consulting an acupuncturist before beginning any herbal therapy. Also, please inform both your physician and acupuncturist of all the products you are currently taking (drugs, herbs, other supplements) so they can monitor effectiveness, ensure safety from adverse reactions and watch for possible interactions.

photo by Eunice Kan
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