Herbs for Medicine
Oak Cliff Acupuncture
Throughout history people have grown herbs, or used what already grew naturally around them. It was common to know the different foods and herbs that grew locally, and how to use the different parts of the plant for different things. Today, Americans are doing well if they know a store that sells herb supplements.
Of course, in ancient times, knowing foods and herbs was essential to survival. They used plants as food and medicine. The farm life brought droughts, flood, pests and other factors that directly influenced people living off the land. They used what they could during times of scarcity. They learned what could be supplemented in place of herbs that didn’t grow that season, and what to avoid.
Today, most of us buy our food and herbs from a grocery store. Preservatives, expiration dates, fast food and the microwave oven have changed how we think about food. Did you know that in ancient times medicine was food; now known as herbal medicine? Some concepts have trickled into modern culture. If you have eaten chicken noodle soup or Ginger Ale when you’ve been sick, you aren’t far off. Both chicken and ginger are helpful for upset stomachs.
In a grocery store, the fresh herbs and vegetables are on one end and the pharmacy and nutritional supplements are at the other end of the building. There is a disconnect between Herbs as food, a healthy diet, and processed pills we take to get better! According to Chinese Herbal theory, the plants receive energy from the earth and the sun. The more alive the plant when you ingest it the more nutrients and energy your body can extract from it. Fresh from the garden is preferable to canned vegetables, or fruits. And so it is with Herbs.
In Chinese Medicine, Herbs are prescribed in groups called formulas. A formula may consist of 3-15 herbs. The herbs have distinct properties that govern which formulas it is in. The herbs are combined based on their individual properties and how they work together in the body. For instance, herbs may counter side effects of other herbs in the formula or they may enhance properties.
Traditionally, these herbs would be cooked in water to make a tea, or cooked in rice to make a congee, or cooked with other foods. Medicine was often taken as part of the meal. The idea was that those who take care of their body do not need to see a doctor. Chinese Herbal formulas are combined so that they treat the whole being. A Healthy diet creates a healthy body, healthy mind and healthy spirit!
Back then and today, a Chinese medicine practitioner will treat one’s symptoms with herbs and recommend dietary changes. Chinese Medicine Herbalist are trained in over two years of herb theory classes and clinic shift rotations in addition to basic nutrition classes, chemistry, biochemistry, and pharmacology classes. In Texas, all acupuncturists are trained and qualified to dispense Chinese Herbs to patients. So, if you are interested in balancing your body naturally and under the advice of a trained Herbalist, you can consult your local acupuncturist!
Nena Watkins, Oak Cliff Acupuncture is located in the Bishop Arts District at 208 S. Madison, Dallas 75208, 214-840-3445.