The source of all medicines today, including supplements and pharmaceuticals, comes from our ancient and modern knowledge of plant medicines over thousands and thousands of years. Today, through laboratory science, we are able to “extract” the plant constituents that we believe are the most potent and effective and take them in pill form. Furthermore, most pharmaceuticals today are made of the synthetic form of the original plant, no longer using the real plant itself.
Consider, however, that something might be missing when not using the whole part of the plant that could be medicinal (e.g., leaf, flower, stem, root, bark, seed). Just like all life forms, there is a synergistic relationship of all its parts to create the whole plant. Even though some parts might not seem medicinally effective under the microscope or alone in the body, it doesn’t necessarily mean that part has no purpose. Chances are it has a great purpose when working together with its complementary parts!
Chinese herbal medicines usually work together in a formula ranging from two to 20 or so herbs. With more than 400 to choose from, each herb is carefully chosen so that it complements and balances the actions of the other herbs in the formula. Preparations of herbal medicines come in different forms, including pill, powder, raw herb, or granule. Depending on your condition, together we will choose the form most suited for you.
Herbs can be a very powerful accompaniment to acupuncture, allowing the healing to continue working long after the acupuncture session has ended. (Summer Acupuncture also offers individual herbal consultations without the acupuncture.)
Herbs are very safe and rarely react with other supplements/pharmaceuticals you might be taking, but one should always consult with an experienced herbalist for the best recommendation/dosage to suit your constitution.