Herbal Medicine

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Herbal Medicine pre-processing Whole Human PLLC, Austin TexasHerbal medicine continues what acupuncture starts. Some health conditions and problems require more intervention on a daily basis. Because most people cannot come to acupuncture on a daily basis I will prescribe herbal medicine for these health problems. Herbal medicine helps keep you on track and further encourages the healing process. The herbs I recommend and prescribe are sourced in the United States and are organic where ever possible. I work with several manufacturers who use the “seed to shelf” philosophy to ensure quality throughout all phases of herbal cultivation and processing. All are GMP certified and have high quality control standards. I regularly prescribe Golden Flower, Far East Summit, and Evergreen patent herbal formulas for this reason.

I’ve recently (Fall 2015) added Guang Ci Tang herbal formulas, which are lower cost alternatives for people who are being treated at discounted rates due to income restraints. Musicians, I have a great formula called “Voice Gold” just for you. Keeps your vocal chops in shape when your throat is feeling stressed.

Sometimes I find that a client needs either several formulas or a single custom powdered formula compounded at a local Chinese herbal medicine pharmacy. Their herbs have the same quality control standards. Powder formulas are tailored specifically to the client and should not be used by anyone other than the client. Below are some basic guidelines for taking herbs in various forms.

Patent pills and capsules

These are pre-fabricated herbal medicines which I select from Golden Flower, Evergreen, Far East Summit, or Guang Ci Tang to best fit your constitution and condition. These are the easiest for most clients to take and are convenient to carry around. They work well for most applications.

  • Take herbs on an empty stomach
    You will get the best absorption of the herbs in your system and therefore the best therapeutic effect and value for your money this way. If you take your herbs either 30 minutes before you have something eat or an hour after you eat your stomach should be empty and absorption should be thorough.
  • Take your herbs with warm water
    This helps the pill or capsule break apart quickly so that you get better absorption. As a rule, drink about 8 oz of warm water with your herbal patent formula.
  • Avoid caffeine when taking your herbs
    Caffeine will bind with many herbs so they won’t be absorbed. This includes coffee, black, green, and white teas, and many sodas.
  • Take your herbs 3 times per day
    Ideally, you should take your herbs every 8 hours so that a consistent level of the active ingredients in the formula is available in your blood stream. This is called the therapeutic dose.
  • Dosage
    The dosage you see on any given bottle of herbs or over the counter medicine in the U.S. is for a 150lb person! I will vary the bottle dosage for you depending on your body weight and condition we are treating. I often prescribe a “loading dose” that is higher than normal for the first few days to weeks, depending on what we are trying to accomplish. Check with me if you don’t remember your dosage. I document these things in your electronic health records.
  • Set your phone alarm to remind you of the midday dose!
    So many people forget this one! You definitely want to keep that dosage in your system, so to help you, carry the herbs in your bag or in your pocket and set a mid-day alarm to remind you to take your herbs.

These are general rules. Sometimes I will ask you to do things a little differently. For example, if you are taking an herbal remedy to help with sleep I will probably ask you to only take that at night about 30 minutes before bedtime. But for the vast majority of formulas, the above rules apply.

Patent tinctures

Tincture bottlePatent tinctures are absorbed both under the tongue (sublingually) and in the stomach. Tinctures are created by soaking raw herbs for a period of time in an extraction medium such as alcohol or glycerin. After soaking the herbs themselves are removed and squeezed out. The remaining solution is then filtered and bottled. Some recommends for taking patent tinctures:

  • Take herbs on an empty stomach You will get the best absorption of the herbs in your system and therefore the best therapeutic effect and value for your money this way. If you take your herbs either 30 minutes before you have something eat or an hour after you eat your stomach should be empty and absorption should be thorough.
  • Hold it under your tongue Measure out the tincture as directed and put the dose under your tongue for 15-30 seconds. Blood vessels here will absorb quite a bit of the medicinal constituents. Swallow the solution after 15-30 seconds and your stomach will extract the rest. If your herbs taste less than great you can place the dosage in an ounce or two of water instead and then drink that normally.
  • Avoid caffeine when taking your herbs Caffeine will bind with many herbs so they won’t be absorbed. This includes coffee, black, green, and white teas, and many sodas.
  • Take your herbs 3 times per day Ideally, you should take your herbs every 8 hours so that a consistent level of the active ingredients in the formula is available in your blood stream. This is called the therapeutic dose.
  • Set your phone alarm to remind you of the midday dose! So many people forget this one! You definitely want to keep that dosage in your system, so to help you, carry the herbs in your bag or in your pocket and set a mid-day alarm to remind you to take your herbs.

These are general rules. Sometimes I will ask you to do things a little differently. For example, if you are taking an herbal remedy to help with sleep I will probably ask you to only take that at night about 30 minutes before bedtime. But for the vast majority of formulas, the above rules apply.

Powder formulas

chinese herbal powdersPowders formulas are combinations of powdered herbs that are specifically designed for you, your constitution, and the health concerns you have. They are designed by me, but compounded at a local Chinese herbal medicine pharmacy.

They usually don’t taste “pretty,” but they are definitely more effective than their pill counterparts. If you have a condition that isn’t responding to herbs, needs to be addressed faster and stronger, and/or if it would take swallowing way too many pills at a time to get the job done, I will probably recommend powder formulas.

Some general rules about taking powder formulas:

  • Take herbs on an empty stomach You will get the best absorption of the herbs in your system and therefore the best therapeutic effect and value for your money this way. If you take your herbs either 30 minutes before you have something eat or an hour after you eat your stomach should be empty and absorption should be thorough.
  • Mix the powder with hot water You don’t need much – 2 to 4 oz will generally do the trick. Stir the herbs in until they dissolve completely. Drink them while they are still very warm. I take some of my herbs this way and I find it’s easiest to mix them with a whisk in a small bowl that is round on the inside bottom.
  • Avoid caffeine when taking your herbs Caffeine will bind with many herbs so they won’t be absorbed into your system. This includes coffee, black, green, and white teas, and many sodas. It won’t cause you any harm to do this, but you won’t get the best ‘bang for the buck.’
  • Take your herbs 3 times per day Ideally, you should take your herbs every 8 hours so that a consistent level of the active ingredients in the formula is available in your blood stream. This is called the therapeutic dose.
  • Set your phone alarm to remind you of the midday dose! So many people forget this one! You definitely want to keep that dosage in your system, so to help you, carry the herbs in your bag or in your pocket and set a mid-day alarm to remind you to take your herbs.

 These are general rules. Sometimes I will ask you to do things a little differently. For example, if you are taking an herbal remedy to help with sleep I will probably ask you to only take that at night about 30 minutes before bedtime. But for the vast majority of formulas, the above rules apply.

There are also some external medicines, herbs that are used topically for things like dermatitis/eczema, sprains and bruises, etc. These vary in how they are used. If you have an external formula that is prescribed for you I will to over proper usage thoroughly for you.