Friday February 21st, 2020
It’s fair to say one of Traditional Chinese Medicine’s (TCM) strongest attributes is how long it has been practiced. It is said that, TCM has been around for over 3000 years, standing the test of time when it comes to ancient wisdom which continues to excel in modern times.
Whilst TCM is an intricate practice, the fundamentals are somewhat simple, thus making it extremely effective yet allowing basic logic to lead the way. But one of the common questions I get asked is just how does the herbal element of Chinese medicine work and most frequently, is it safe?
Many patients will question the efficacy and safety of herbal ingredients prescribed during consultation often based on concern raised by their health care provider, doctor or carer. And then of course there’s always grandma or a special loved one chiming in with their two cents worried that maybe you’re consuming some questionable body part or body excretions. The common consensus; plant medicine should always be used with care. And we are not necessarily here to disagree.
Just like all forms of medicine, only qualified practitioners should be prescribing or at the very least advocating for treatments that they fully understand. For herbalists (and I can speak for myself), I studied for 10 years at a tertiary level and have now added 15 years under my belt to feel extremely confident in understanding how herbal medicines work, what to use and when. Just as your doctor has done the same with conventional medicine. Looking at the two, it’s not difficult to see that each has its own specialist area with your best health in mind.
To ask your GP what herbal medicines are appropriate may not necessarily land you with the right answers. And whilst equally TCM doctors need to understand biochemistry and conventional medicine, since it is our job to know what cautions and interactions we need to be mindful of because when all is said and done, we are the ones prescribing the more ‘questionable’ products (even if plants).
With this in mind, plant medicine is extremely powerful - which is the very reason why you may have questions or concerns in the first place. And the team at thisherb know that the formulations we’ve created are extremely safe and extremely effective, this through sound knowledge when it comes to formulation as well as solid research and patient outcomes. It’s also why we are able to sell it to you as a consumer directly, because we have done the hard work in not only formulating incredible ingredients, but also understanding interactions and cautions with both circumstances and other medicines.
When a TCM formula is created, it is not simply the role of each individual ingredient that takes priority but the sum of all ingredients PLUS the interactions or synergies each of these ingredients have with each other. So for example with the Sunny Pills formula, Wu Wei Zi (Schisandra Fruit) is included for its ability to support the lung energy (sadness is the emotion of the lung) as well as quieten the ‘spirit’ to calm the heart energy (which we use to treat and balance all emotions). Wu Wei Zi also has other properties to support fertility, the uterus as it also works on the kidney. It is indicated for irritability, issues with sleep, and more.
Suan Zao Ren (Zizyphi Spinosae Semen) helps to regulate liver blood and nourish the heart yin and is indicated for irritability, insomnia, palpitations and anxiety. It has a mild sedative effect on the body and benefits digestion (so important since the gut is not only the pivot of health but our emotion centre).
You can see both play a key role in Sunny pills which aim to address anxiety, nervous tension and stress. But it is when we combine both Wu Wei Zi and Suan Zao Ren that the real magic happens and the combination strengthens and heightens the properties and really adds a further layer in the ability to treat insomnia, irritability, low mood, foggy head and forgetfulness and really target the heart energy. This is just one example of many that exist within the Sunny Pill formulation.
It’s not just the single properties of each herb that counts, but the sum and synergy of various combinations that really makes Chinese herbal medicine excel. It’s like tapping into a new parallel of treatment.
It is this intricacy that is often misunderstood or overlooked when creating a formula that may be over the counter or available at your local store. Our western mindset has conditioned us to look at each ingredient as a single player in an overall medicine. This too is true for signs and symptoms that we look for in Chinese Medicine. It is never one single symptom that we consider, but more so the sum of all signs and symptoms that allow us to diagnose and treat conditions.
So to answer the most common question - ‘is herbal medicine really safe?’ you can now see the answer. Absolutely. When it is created in the right environment by the right doctors it’s not simply ‘mixing’ a formula together but a very well thought out process to get a very safe and favourable outcome.
Your Chinese Medicine doctor has trained for many years to learn this; where formulas or specific ingredients are and aren’t appropriate as well as creating safe and effective treatments for you, the patient. No scary ingredients included.
Sunny Pills are no different, with careful crafting and intricate consideration, you can safely use Sunny Pills and feel better, sooner without the worry. Plant based medicine really has thousands of years of research and perfection, without the unwanted side effects.