As practitioners of life cultivation, when we are sick, we may visit a herbal medicine doctor to seek professional help. Learning some basic theories of herbal medicine and some technical terms of herbal medicine will help us to choose a herbal medicine doctor, understand what the herbal doctor said, understand the disease, and cooperate with the doctor to find faster and better recovery under the guidance of the herbal doctor.
Herbal medicine and Western medicine are two different systems of medicine. In layman’s terms, herbal and Western doctors use their own set of skills, and the methods are different, but the purpose and effect are the same. Western doctors use a method of meticulously analyzing the human body layer by layer to check for lesions, so various checkups are performed, and the more inspections become more detailed.
The method of herbal medicine practitioners is just the opposite. It cannot analyze layer by layer, but uses the method of observing the external manifestations of the patient’s whole body (such as changes in expression, tongue, pulse, etc.) to infer the patient’s internal lesions.
Therefore, herbal medicine practitioners need to look at the patient’s external systemic comprehensive reaction. This is called a syndrome in herbal medicine, and it will be treated. This is what traditional herbal medicine doctors often say about syndrome differentiation and treatment. Facts have proved that as long as the symptoms of the systemic reaction are cured, those local diseases will also be cured to varying degrees.
There are certain issues that we should know when we visit a traditional herbal medicine doctor. Let us continue to discuss the important issues.
02 Important Issues (continued)
07 The side effects issue
Some people say that herbal medicine is good and has no side effects. Is that right?
This statement is both right and wrong. The statement is true when the dialectic is clear and compound prescriptions are used. Compound prescription refers to one with multiple herbs. In the usual process, herbal medicine doctors use the syndrome differentiation and treatment technique to adjust the comprehensive reaction of the whole body, and constantly change the prescription based on syndrome differentiation. Thus the process will correct any side effects.
Let us take the insomnia patient as an example. After taking the prescription, the patient eats less food and there is a white coating on his tongue. On the follow-up visit, his doctor will make a comment that the last prescription is too cold for the patient, and he will correct it with a new prescription. If he does not do the correction knowing that the prescription is not suitable for the syndrome, he is not a qualified doctor. Once changed and the result is neither cold nor heat, the disease will be cured. and we know that the doctor is well qualified.
In herbal medicine practice, treatment based on syndrome differentiation was required for several past dynasties in China. It has become a rule that the medical prescription must match the syndrome. If every doctor does this, there will be fewer side effects in the end. Therefore, as long as it is a compound prescription with accurate syndrome differentiation and treatment, there will be fewer side effects.
As for single-herb prescription, if it is not used properly, it also can have side effects. As the old saying goes, three parts of medicine are poisonous, and this poison is the side effect.
For example: deer antler, cinnamon, and aconite are all warming medicines. They are usually used on people who have a cold body constitution. If they are used in appropriate amounts, they will have no side effects. If it is used on ordinary people without syndrome differentiation, and the amount is small, there may be no side effects. If it is used blindly on people with a hot body constitution, the side effects can be severe.
In the mild cases, the patient will feel uncomfortable with rising heat all over the body (but the body temperature may not be high.) In the severe cases, it can cause bleeding in the nose, gums, etc. Herbal medicine practitioners call it blood heat, which is an obvious side effect.
Therefore, traditional herbal medicine doctors generally like to use compound decoction in his prescription, because herbs can be added or subtracted at any time, and syndromes can be checked at any time, so that the symptoms of the out-of-balance systemic comprehensive reaction can be adjusted to achieve the goal of treating the disease based on its essence.
Single herbs (including single-herb prescriptions) are only used for individual symptoms, that is, to treat symptoms but not syndromes. The curative effect of a single herb is usually not comprehensive, so they are rarely used.
For example, ginseng, a commonly used nourishing medicine, when used to treat diseases, especially complicated chronic diseases, will be used in combination with other herbs, in the form of Ginseng Yangrong Decoction, Shenling Baizhu Powder, Ginseng and Walnut Decoction, etc. The least ones are to combine it with aconites to make Shenfu Decoction, which is often used only in the case of a patient collapsing (equivalent to shock). Once the rescue is successful, the compound prescription will again be used.
Therefore, medicines such as single ginseng are generally only used as health care medicines as a supplement, and it is not commonly used to treat diseases as a single herb.
Even so, when only single ginseng is used, herbal medicine practitioners still apply syndrome differentiation in its usage. For example, red ginseng (garden variety) has a warm medicinal property, and it is used for people who have a cooler body constitution. Dried raw ginseng has a neutral medicinal property, and it can be used on ordinary people. American ginseng has a cool medicinal property and is used for people with a heat-deficient body constitution. In short, they all have particular properties, and we can’t use them indiscriminately.
In a word, even if we take herbal supplements without treating any disease, if we are not knowledgeable about them, we should consult a herbal doctor before taking them. Do not take them just because you thought they have no side effects and would do you no harm. You take herbal supplements to better take care of your health, right? So, be serious about it!
08 The acute diseases issue
Some people say that acute diseases should seek the treatment of western medicine, that chronic diseases should seek the treatment of traditional herbal medicine. Is there any reason?
This remark is mostly justified. Generally speaking, acute diseases are mostly caused by pathogenic factors suddenly attacking the human body, such as acute infection, traumatic bleeding and so on. The characteristic of Western doctors is that they can accurately locate the disease, and quantify it qualitatively, and then calculate it with a computer, and it is mostly accurate.
For example, blood transfusion due to massive bleeding, oxygen inhalation due to hypoxia, pressurization due to shock collapse, gastric lavage due to poisoning, X-ray examination for accurate reset after fracture, bacterial infection, antibacterial and anti-inflammatory are all cases of strong pertinence and fast route of administration. The results are immediate and the actions bring back life, so Western medical treatment should be selected first.
If the acute stage of a disease has passed, but the body has been disturbed by the disease for a prolonged period of time, such as a hepatitis patient with liver function returned to normal, or the bacteria in the urine of a patient with acute pyelonephritis have turned negative. At this time, there is no inflammation to be eliminated, and there is no need for blood transfusion and oxygen inhalation, and local targeted therapy has no obvious effect.
At this time, the unique whole body adjustment method of traditional herbal medicine can often achieve satisfactory results. However, this is not always true. Sometimes both treatment methods are combined.
Herbal medicine also has ways to treat acute diseases. They are being used in Chinese herbal medicine hospitals and the curative effect is very high. Western medicine also has methods to cure chronic diseases, especially recent achievements such as genetic engineering, life science and so on that will treat the diseases at the root cause.
09 The geriatric health issues
General saying: traditional herbal medicine is good for treating senile diseases. Is this right?
This is only a half-truth. Traditional herbal medicine may have some advantages if the health problem is in the chronic stage. Because when people get old, they get sick more often. They may have this disease or that disease. Some people may suffer from high blood pressure, diabetes, neurasthenia, bad heart, etc.
If we were to treat the health conditions one by one, we will often lose sight of the others, and the effect will not be comprehensive. On the other hand, the syndrome differentiation and treatment of traditional herbal medicine doctors emphasizes the adjustment of the whole body and mutual coordination, so the effect is more comprehensive.
However, in case of an acute attack, the methods of Western physicians are highly targeted and curative, so they should be the first choice.
Speaking of geriatric diseases, there is another point that is particularly important, that is, the psychological factors. In the mind of the elderly, the most common thing is to be afraid of getting sick even if they are not sick. Some elderly people will sit down and talk about their illnesses endlessly. The underlying illness is not serious, but in their mind, they are serious.
Aging and illness are next to each other. It is a fact that people are prone to getting sick when they are old, but there is a big difference in how to deal with them. Different attitudes can have different consequences.
From a pessimistic point of view, if we whole-heartedly believe what we read in books and reports on health issues, all diseases can pass the dangerous path.
For example, a cold is just a minor illness, but reports said that it can develop into secondary pneumonia, and pneumonia can kill if it is not treated the right way. This is also true. If we don’t look at the timely and good results of the treatment and only think about the bad, we will not feel at ease.
Another example is high blood pressure, a common health issue of the elderly. As long as we pay attention to recuperation and treatment, most of us will be alright. But the book also said that it can be connected with stroke hemiplegia, which is also true. If we focus on this point again, we will be nervous enough.
Add to that some money-swindling advertisements, shouting every day: This disease is dangerous, you must take my medicine!
As a result, we are so scared that we dare not forgo the medicine it sells, but our blood pressure still does not come down.
This kind of mind sadness has a great impact on our health. Some people are not seriously ill, or not even sick. When relatives and friends meet, as a greeting, some will say: Hey, you look old and thin, you should take good care of yourself and take some supplements.
This was meant to be a polite remark when meeting, just like ordinary people would say: Have you eaten yet?
However, some sensitive people take it seriously. When they go home and look in the mirror, they seem to be really thin and old, so their mind troubles get worse.
End of part five of a multipart series of posts on herbal doctor.
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