In Chinese medicine it is widely believed that herbal prescriptions are one of the superior ways to treat internal conditions. Internal conditions are disorders affecting the internal organs and glands such as arthritis, insomnia, reproductive disorders, digestive disorders, migraines, diabetes, asthma and many others.
Herbal medicine is simply formulations of highly concentrated nutrients. My teacher explains, “The philosophy of Chinese medicine is based on the qualities the ancient sages saw in nature. Each of the many plants, animals, and minerals have similar qualities to not only our internal systems, but to the macrocosmic universe at large.” We distinguish these qualities by taste, temperature, direction, and channels and organs that it has an affinity for. And so a sour herb may reflect a certain nutritional composition, and affect the Liver because it has a function of astringing and maintaining proper bile levels.
The formulations then are based on our understanding of these many complex relationships. For example, a patient may come in with hot flashes, night sweats, gas, bloating, occasional migraines, and wanting to lose weight. This is actually a very common set of conditions, and there are classic combinations that have been around for many years that address these exact symptoms by utilizing medicinals that balance the underlying weakness and toxicity that may be present. But, the truly unique aspect of formula writing, is recognizing that the ingestion and excretion of herbal prescriptions is literally how nature moves through and becomes a part of us, and so to really be effective, each formula must be precise enough to remind us of that delicate connection to each individual person.