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Chinese Medicine - Alternative Medicine

Updated on October 21, 2016
Pamela99 profile image

I have been writing about medical issues and all the new medical advances since spending 22 years in the nursing profession.

Chinese Diagnosis of the Patient

So many references to Asian medicine either teach traditional theory or list the common herbs but you need to understand the concept of Chinese medicine. Less is taught about diagnosis, so there is a gulf between your discomfort and the proper herbs for treatment. It is your present condition and vital energy that must determine the choice of herbs.

You need to be able to interpret your own health to make sure the end justifies the means. Your present condition and vital energy are assessed by the following factors: diet, stress, age, fatigue, emotions, life style and attitudes. You must participate in the healing of the mind, body and spirit. This will personally empower you to enhance vitality with diet, herbs and guided visualization. Your health is ultimately your responsibility.

Lisa Halady -doctor and author

Evaluation of Patient and Choice of Treatment

Standard Chinese Herbal Material Medica tests list more than 500 herbs and there are websites that explain the benefits of these herbs. Many factors are involved in the effective selection of herbs:

  • Type of herb
  • Source of the illness
  • Age
  • Stress level Case history

Specific diagnosis includes tongue, pulse readings, observations, questions, and palpation. These determine the herb choice and the individualized dosage which may change as treatment progresses in response to treatment.

Asian herbs are chosen for their nutritional value and their energetic qualities. Some herbs contain vitamins and minerals, but most of the time they are used as catalyst for metabolism, circulation, or energy and blood production. Many plants contain immunity-building constituents such as flavonoids like those found in citrus, so they are used for cancer prevention or natural steroids to inhibit inflammation. Antibiotic herbs treating localized or systemic infections are often combined with cleansing or strengthening herbs in order to facilitate their action and prevent side effects.

Asian medicine accepts a totality of body, mind and spirit so natural processes are explained in the quality, quantity and directional flow of vital energy. This is different from medical treatment, which is usually explained in terms of bio-chemistry.

Mullein Herb

Traditional Chinese Medicine History

Traditional Chinese Medicine has been around for 2000-3000 years and they have a unique system to diagnose and cure illness. Tibetan doctors believe that to achieve balance and inner harmony we must devote our body, mind and spirit to higher purposes, like compassion and helping others. Although no person ever stands alone we must understand who we are individually in order to develop fully.

Chinese medicine is more than visiting a doctor, it is a lifestyle. Letha Hadady, D. A. c writes on her childhood adventures where she was taught what weeds to eat out of the garden. She loved the herbs naturally and she picked tarragon, mint and dill at the age of 5. Her book, “’Asian Health Secrets’ tells of a whole system of diagnosis and treatment. As a child she didn’t know marjoram is a vasodilator that can soothe spasms, quiet nerves, and lower blood pressure. She just knew it created a calm space within her. Her father was a first generation American and they lived in New York. By the time she was an adult she would cook an herbal brew in her kitchen rather than see a doctor.

She received her education from Shanghai’s College of traditional Medicine. Mush of her approach toward balance in diet, as well as, psychology, stems from her years of study with Ayurvedic and Tibetan doctors in North India. She has had many year of experience practicing her approach in New York City in China town and Little India. She has specific merchants that make herbal brews for her with her suggestions. She is also a certified acupuncturist.

Chi Life Force Energy

Acupuncture of meridians of Chi Life Force
Acupuncture of meridians of Chi Life Force

Chi Energy

Think of your body without bones and organs having particular shapes, but they are still pulsing with life force, so you’re still breathing, your heart is beating and so forth. Then, the question is what is the life force causing this to happen? Traditional Chinese doctors believe the life force is invisible energy called Chi. Chi fuels all body and mind processes and is augmented by food and oxygen. It is reduced by illness, stress and toxins.

To Chinese doctors internal pathways and organs are containers of vital energy. Health and happiness are dependent by the smooth flow of Chi which reminds me of an invisible current like electricity. You can’t actually measure Chi, but they observe it indirectly. As an example, did you ever get mad and want to yell at someone but didn’t, then you feel this lump in your throat? That would be stuck Chi. Chinese doctors believe many illnesses occur because of stuck Chi. Herbal tonics are methods of repairing the Chi energy.

Traditional Chinese Medicine with Master Herbalist Dr. Guo and Bruce Ruben, M.D.

Yin and Yang

Yin and Yang

Chi represents vital energy; the terms Yin and Yang are sometimes used to describe its location, movement, function or quality. Yin and Yang express changing relationships in an ever-evolving body, mind and spirit. Herbs are said to have a yin or yang nature. Yin is thought of as passive and yang is active. The herbal treatment will put the yin and yang back into balance.

Yin tonics are said to nourish or moisten the lungs, stomach, liver or kidneys, which means they can increase blood or fluid retention in those organs.

Yang tonics treat exhaustion and chronic weakness that may result from low adrenal function or irregular metabolism. Yang tonics are often stimulants providing the fire that drives the endocrine system.

Complementary/Alternative Medicine: Traditional Chinese

In Conclusion

A lot of the information in the ancient Chinese texts is metaphorical. The herbs used are not merely supplements that provide a physical effect but they actually ensure the health of an organ by stimulating the Chi.

I hope this overview of Chinese Medicine will help your understanding.

© 2010 Pamela Oglesby


Submit a Comment

  • Pamela99 profile image

    Pamela Oglesby 6 years ago from United States

    joeychan, I appreciate your comments.

  • joeychan profile image

    joeychan 6 years ago from Malaysia

    Great!!i love this information....

  • Pamela99 profile image

    Pamela Oglesby 7 years ago from United States

    Fiona, I couldn't agree more. Thank you for your comment.

  • fiona_33 profile image

    fiona_33 7 years ago from UK

    Super hub. Chinese medicine is fascinating. There are some unsavoury aspects but there is a lot we in the West could benefit from.

  • Pamela99 profile image

    Pamela Oglesby 7 years ago from United States

    Support Med, Thank you for your comment.

  • Support Med. profile image

    Support Med. 7 years ago from Michigan

    Interesting hub!!! I enjoy learning about bringing balance to the body through Chinese methods. In doing so, I relate it to the techniques taught by Western/American spiritualists to bring harmony to mind, body and soul as well. It is definitely a positive to keep a positive flow of energy in the unseen world as well as the seen.

  • Pamela99 profile image

    Pamela Oglesby 7 years ago from United States

    Janny, I agree with completely. Thank you a very good comment.

  • JannyC profile image

    JannyC 7 years ago

    I believe that everything is connect and to cure us we need to treat the mind body and spirit. The mind is a powerful and is mostly vital to our healing. If someone gives you something saying this will heal your pain and it does then you find out it's only a placebo. So it's proven the mind is a powerful thing.

  • Pamela99 profile image

    Pamela Oglesby 7 years ago from United States

    Hello and Tubbs, thanks so much for your comments

  • Tubbs Merouge profile image

    Tubbs Merouge 7 years ago from Louisiana

    Great hub Pamela!! You put a lot of effort into your hubs and it shows. Lots of info and details. Very informative.

  • Hello, hello, profile image

    Hello, hello, 7 years ago from London, UK

    Thank you for an interestingly written and informative hub.

  • Pamela99 profile image

    Pamela Oglesby 7 years ago from United States

    Thanks to all of you for your comments. I wanted to write an article to better understand what was behind the herbs and treatments, to understand the process of diagnosis.

  • Ann Nonymous profile image

    Ann Nonymous 7 years ago from Virginia

    Hmmm, I knew a little about this subject but thanks so much Pamela for helping me to understand the concept of chinese medicine! Well done!

  • carolina muscle profile image

    carolina muscle 7 years ago from Charlotte, North Carolina

    I found this hub illuminating, Pamela!!

  • Mystique1957 profile image

    Mystique1957 7 years ago from Caracas-Venezuela

    Extraordinaire,Pam! I found this hub not only interesting but educational as well. Very informative and nicely written. Thank you very much for sharing this!

    Thumbs up!

    warmest regards and blessings,


  • lctodd1947 profile image

    lctodd1947 7 years ago from USA

    this is interesting information. You seem to know your stuff about these kinds of healing and health help. I think sometimes we depend upon too much medicine and older patients think they have to have it regardless, even after they have recovered from something.

    Great Hub

  • Eileen Hughes profile image

    Eileen Hughes 7 years ago from Northam Western Australia

    This sure is an interesting hub. I think you have to try all different types of medical treatment. What works for one does not work for another. I swear byu chiropractors as it is an instant result. yet others prefer physiotherapy

    which takes a lot longer.

    This is a great hub thanks for sharing this

  • Pamela99 profile image

    Pamela Oglesby 7 years ago from United States

    Sheila, Patriot, BPOP & Tom, Thanks you for your comments.

  • Tom Whitworth profile image

    Tom Whitworth 7 years ago from Moundsville, WV


    I smoked herb and felt all better.

    Just kiddin'.

  • breakfastpop profile image

    breakfastpop 7 years ago

    What a fascinating hub.I think western medicine can learn a lot from the Chinese.

  • profile image

    partisan patriot 7 years ago


    Good choice for this hub; Traditional Chinese Medicine! Since China now owns most of the US we need to become familiar with it. Also you have just uncovered the real secret behind Barrack Hussein Obama’s suicidal push to ram his HealthCare Proposal through. All along I thought it was based on his concern for all those poor constituents that keep his party in power but it is not that at all. The main driving force behind Obama Care is simple; it is the mechanism through which he will destroy what’s left of this economy thus destroy the country and in doing so pave the way for China’s Dominance. It is only fair the world have a new leader after all these years of America’s dominance.

    So thanks Pam for this timely hub. We all need to “bone up” on Chinese Medical Techniques and practices!

  • sheila b. profile image

    sheila b. 7 years ago

    There's a certain wisdom gained over the centuries, and that's what makes Chinese medicine so believable.