Chinese herbal Medicine


It all started when…

Whilst doing my acupuncture certificate there was mention throughout the course of herbs that could be used to help alongside the acupuncture. This rather piqued my interest!

Herbal medicine in veterinary medicine involves looking at, and treating the whole patient, rather than just treating the disease or symptoms alone. All aspects of the patient are examined, including diet, lifestyle, their emotional state, and of course their physical wellbeing. Chinese herbal medicine medicine is a major branch of Chinese medicine, although many people associate Chinese medicine with acupuncture alone. In China, most cases treated in traditional Chinese medicine clinics are treated with herbs - either with acupuncture or as a stand alone therapy. Chinese herbal medicine utilises formulas that have been developed over many years - some of the formulas are thousands of years old. A formula consists of a number of herbs rather than just one herb and this can allow a synergistic effect between the herbs so that the overall benefits are greater than those of each individual herb. 

Laboratory and clinical research into the physiological effects of herbal medicines is increasing exponentially and revealing the ways that plants successfully cope with cancer, resist infection and entrust normal growth and development. This then paves the way for the development of novel drugs, but these drugs are not here yet and so if we wish to surpass the limitations of pharmaceuticals we have to look to herbal medicines.  It is also worth noting that pharmaceutical drugs contain a single refined chemical or metabolite that is either synthesised in a lab or extracted from the plant. This does not take into account all the other components found within the whole plant that my confer a synergistic effect with the part of the plant considered to be the ‘active ingredient’.

Each patient will have a herbal formula prescribed after a detailed and extensive consultation, usually lasting 1.5-2hours and often involving acupuncture.  Herbs are commonly used alongside the conventional medications. It is really important to use a vet who is trained in herbal medicine  and is obtaining them from a safe source. It is a mistake to consider herbs to be safe as they can have side effects and potential contraindications, but when prescribed correctly they are generally safe and effective.