What is Traditional Chinese Medicine?

Herballove Editorial's picture
By Herballove Editorial

Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM) has been practiced in Asia for over 5,000 years. It is not surprising, therefore, that between 65 to 80 percent of the world's health care services are classified as "traditional medicine." The philosophy behind TCM is holistic health care, from diagnosis, treatment to maintenance. TCM works to regenerate the organ functions of the body by bringing the bodily functions into balance and activating and increasing the body's natural immune system.
In excess of 5,000 Chinese herbs have been categorized and classified according to the various properties. Over the years, more than 25,000 formulas were created and refined for specific types of infections, illnesses and diseases. These formula are specific combinations of herbs with most of them being discovered over a thousand years ago. The combinations became necessary and more complex as experience displayed that some herbs canceled out the effect of other herbs. It was also discovered that the medicinal properties of many herbs required a catalyst of other herbs.
The healing power of the ingredients found in these natural herbal formulas have never been doubted by most Asian users, especially the fertility formulas that helped increase China’s population. The difficulty in utilizing many of these ancient formulas have been determining which formula work with the individual person/symptom-complex combination. TCM prescribes a formula based upon the individual being treated, as oppose to Western practices where treatments and preventatives are tested for their effectiveness on a group of people.
Thus, the effectiveness of TCM in the past was largely determined by the doctor prescribing and administering the formula. These doctors drew upon all of their resources in prescribing a specific formula: Physiology and pathology of the human body, disease etiology, blood, bodily fluids, channels-collateral, and differentiation of symptom-complexes all related to the physical manifestations of an illness. The doctors then interpreted these physical manifestations through the basic theories of Yin-Yang, the Five Elements, Zang-fu, and Qi.  


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