Herbal Medicine Consultations, Prescription Filling
In addition to his training as an acupuncturist, John Kang also has a solid background in Chinese Herbal Medicine. His main herbal pharmacy is at the Richmond Acupuncture and Wellness and has one of the largest selections of builk herbs and patent and pill formulas. The Traditional Asian Health Center has some patent formulas. Herbal treatment, shares the same philosophical foundations as acupuncture; and like acupuncture, seeks to bring the body back into balance. The Chinese approach to herbal medicine in allopathic in nature: if the body is cold, we seek to warm it; if it is weak, we try to strengthen it; if qi has stagnated we attempt to move it. Herbal therapy therefore attempts to change the nature of the body, and not only treat specific symptoms. This stands in opposition to the practice of western pharmacology, where concentrated chemical structures are used to affect a specific chemical response in the body. Like acupuncture, herbal treatment does not follow the idea of “herb A treats symptom B.”
For example, many people now know that Dong Quai (dang gui) can be used to treat menstrual disorders. However, this herb does not directly affect menstruation as much as it addresses blood volume and circulation. According to TCM pharmacopoeia, Dang Gui helps to nourish blood and promote circulation- the former function helps with scanty menstruation, while the latter can help treat painful menstruation. However, the same functions can treat anemia, fatigue, cold limbs, and many other disorders related to blood.
Although there are over 10,000 herbs used in Chinese medicine, most herbal pharmacies stock around 300 common ones. Each is classified according to function, energetic temperature, and flavors. Generally speaking, flavors impart function: spicy herbs ascend, disperse, and invigorate; sour herbs descend and astringe; bitter herbs descend, cool, and dry. Sweet herbs ascend and nourish; salty herbs descend and dissolve masses; bland herbs descend promote urination. Parts of plants also work on specific parts of the body: flowers ascend and influence the head. Leaves, peels, and barks act on the body’s surface. Stems and vines affect channels and sinews. Roots reach deep into the body, affecting organs. Shells and minerals sink and calm the mind; while animal-based medicines tend to have strong nourishing functions.
Herbs are rarely taken singly. Rather, they are combined in formulas-some are thousands of years old, while others are created to treat a specific patient. Herbs may be combined to mutually strengthen their effects, or to reduce negative aspects in each other. Formulas can be made as teas, or taken as pre-manufactured pills, powders, or liniments.
In conjunction with acupuncture and diet therapy herbs can have a strong, synergistic and beneficial effect on the body.
NOTE: The pharmacy is located at Richmond Acupuncture and Wellness in the West End.
Should I take herbs with acupuncture?
Herbs and acupuncture have a strong synergistic effect. That is, taking both together produces a better result than taking one or the other.
Can I take herbal formulas without acupuncture?
Are herbs dangerous?
What do they taste like?
Which is better, teas or pills?
Do they contain heavy metals or other toxic substances?