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  • Writer's pictureMaddie Bergner

So You Want to Try Chinese Herbal Medicine...

Chinese Herbal Medicine (CHM) on its own is considered a complete form of medical therapy, but in modern applications is often used as the internal counterpart to acupuncture.

In almost all cases, I will recommend an herbal formula to complement or supplement your acupuncture treatments. Personally, I’m incredibly passionate about spreading herbal medicine as a potential alternative to reliance on Western pharmaceuticals. Together with dietary and lifestyle changes, herbal medicine can be a powerful change maker. Part of what makes Chinese herbal medicine so powerful is personalization: we can adapt formulas based on each individual patient’s constitution, current symptoms, and health goals.

As I have mentioned in other blog posts, pharmaceuticals are prescribed only to treat symptoms, and each comes with a long list of side effects that can often be worse than the symptom you are attempting to treat. Common side effects of pharmaceuticals include (but are definitely not limited to) insomnia, skin problems, sexual dysfunction, weight gain or loss, digestive disturbances, hair loss, depression, anxiety, and many others.

To me, herbal medicine is a powerful reminder of our original “medicine”, which we now know as “food”. In fact, many Chinese herbs are commonly used in cooking. You may even recognize some, such as ginger, goji berry, scallion, and more.

CHM relies on three different types of herbal medicine: patent, granule, and raw herbal formulas. I’ll introduce each below, as well as the pros and cons (in my opinion!).

Patent Medicine

Patent herbs (sometimes called tea pills) are small pills made of compressed herbal material.

Pros: convenient, easy to take, variety of prices

Cons: not customizable (only use existing formulas), not as powerful (low herbal concentration)

Granule (Powder) Herbs

Chinese herbs that have been cooked and concentrated into powder form. To take granule herbs, mix the prescribed dose into hot water.

Pros: customizable, convenient

Cons: more expensive than raw or patent herbs, taste can be difficult to handle

Raw Herbal Formulas

Raw Chinese herbs cooked into a tea to drink. Cooking requires soaking, cooking, and straining. This is my favorite method, both because of the cooking process and also because raw herbs remind us that medicine in its truest form is found in plants and minerals.

Pros: the standard in China, most powerful effect, inexpensive, cooking can be very meditative

Cons: cooking process takes some time, taste can be difficult to handle

In addition to these three common forms of herbal medicine, I also offer custom blend liquid tinctures and a few of my own staple formulas. These are alcohol-base extracts that are easy to carry around, potent, and powerful. Look for these on my shop page in the future, or contact me now for a full list of formulas offered!

Chinese herbs are very effective in treating or decreasing the following symptoms and more:

Anxiety and Stress




Chronic Fatigue/Epstein Barr


Peri-menopausal, Menopausal, and Postmenopausal Symptoms

Postpartum symptoms, including depression, difficulty lactating


Headaches, dizziness, lightheadedness


Email me if you have any questions, or to schedule a remote herbal medicine consult.

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