THE ART AND SCIENCE OF HERBAL FORMULATION
Chinese herbal medicine is capable of treating a wide range of conditions. It is based on the concepts of yin, yang, qi, and blood and the many ways in which the fundamental balance and vitality of these energetic substances may be depleted or blocked. Clinical strategies are based on patterns of signs and symptoms, and incorporate an approach to treatment that addresses both broad constitutional tendencies as well as the primary health complaint.
Herbal substances are categorized in detail, from chemical constituents, contraindications, and pharmacological action, to traditional Chinese concepts of temperature, flavor, directionality, meridian affinity, and specific function. While each ingredient in an herbal prescription has a complex “signature”, the combination and synergy of herbs used together is the key to effective treatment. An herbal formula is considered to be more than the sum of each of the individual herbs, and a well-trained herbalist is proficient in both the art and science of prescribing.
Herbal medicine, and traditional Chinese medicine as a whole, places great emphasis on the health of mind, body and spirit. Integral to this system is the belief that health is more than just the absence of illness, but that the best medicine also addresses disease prevention and the maintenance of vitality, thereby increasing the potential for well-being and happiness.