What is Chinese Herbal Medicine?

Chinese Herbal Medicine is one of the greatest and most studied herbal systems of medicine in the world, with an unbroken tradition from the 3rd century BC.

Throughout its history Chinese Medicine has continually developed in response to changing clinical conditions, and has been sustained by research into every aspect of its use. This process continues today with the development of modern medical diagnostic techniques and knowledge. It still forms a major part of healthcare provision in China, and is provided in state hospitals alongside western medicine. 

In Chinese medicine, patients are diagnosed according to Chinese medicine physiology and pathology; it is mostly concerned with internal function and dysfunction rather than the Western medicine focus on anatomy and anatomical changes. Therefore, it is instrumental to identify causes for the dis-ease in the body (e.g. stress, diet), and what effect this has on certain organs or tissues. Treatment is aimed at restoring balance so that the body and mind can continue to be healthy.

The tradition of Chinese medicine emphasises lifestyle management to prevent disease before it occurs; recognising that health is more than just the absence of disease but is also sustained wellbeing and happiness.

Modern Chinese Herbal Medicine

Chinese herbal medicine is highly individualised to the patient case and condition. All medicines are plant-based and are far less likely to cause side-effects than medicine using isolated active ingredients. Herbs are typically prescribed in combination, the different components of a formulae balancing each other, and through mutual synergy which increasing efficacy and enhancing safety. Principally, herbal medicine seeks to correct internal imbalances rather than to treat symptoms alone.

Chinese herbal medicine has a role to play in the treatment of the following conditions: (taken from the Register of Chinese Medicine – RCHM)

  • Skin disease, including eczema, psoriasis, acne, rosacea, urticaria
  • Gastro-intestinal disorders, including irritable bowel syndrome, chronic constipation, ulcerative colitis
  • Gynaecological conditions, including pre-menstrual syndrome and dysmenorrhoea, endometriosis, infertility
  • Hepatitis and HIV: some promising results have been obtained for treatment of Hepatitis C, and supportive treatment may be beneficial in the case of HIV
  • Chronic fatigue syndromes, whether with a background of viral infection or in other situations
  • Respiratory conditions, including asthma, bronchitis, and chronic coughs, allergic and perennial rhinitis and sinusitis
  • Rheumatological conditions (e.g. osteoarthritis and rheumatoid arthritis)
  • Urinary conditions including chronic cystitis
  • Psychological problems (e.g. depression, anxiety)

The results that can be expected and length of treatment will depend on the severity of the condition, its duration, and the general health of the patient. Often herbal medicine is prescribed in combination with acupuncture treatment to enhance efficacy.

Herbal Medicine Suppliers

Chinese herbs for all conditions

My suppliers are Herbprime and Apricot Forest. They source their Chinese herbs directly from reputable sources, and individual herbal prescriptions are tailor-made on their premises by their fully qualified Chinese pharmacists.  

The herbal medicine prescriptions are prepared as concentrated powder or tablets, or in a freshly made form (i.e. decocted / ready-to-drink).

Herbs are dispatched to patients in the UK by courier.

Dermatology: skincare products

My supplier is Dermatology-M. After consultation with a patient, I can provide prescriptions for bespoke medicines to suit individual skin conditions or, where appropriate, guide patients to select from the range of Dermatology-M products. 

The skincare medicines and products are made from highly concentrated, natural and pure ingredients and herbal powders. They do not contain any artificial colours or preservatives, petrochemical substances or steroids.


Belgravia London Clinic

Central Bath Clinic

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Register of Chinese Herbal Medicine Professional Standards Authority BAcC Member British Holistic Medical Association