Taking Chinese Herbs

People take medicinal herbs in China as part of normal healthcare and have done for centuries.   More than 400 plants are commonly used, including commonly some known herbs such as cinnamon, ginger, mint and goji berry.  Many others that are less well known in the UK such as Rhodiola root (Hong Jing Tian) are beautiful herbs that grow in extremely high altitudes in places like Tibet.  This particular herb became very useful during Covid for respiratory issues.  Originally it was used for altitude sickness.

Rhodiola Crenulata Root (Hong Jing Tian)

Going to see your practitioner

When you see a Chinese medical practitioner, (whether face to face or online) you will have a full health consultation to determine whether you need herbs, acupuncture, bodywork, a change of diet or lifestyle in some way or a combination of all of these.

Together we will discuss what is concerning you and how things developed to where they are now.  This is your opportunity to tell me everything that is bothering you about your health and I firmly believe that everything is relevant and nothing is too insignificant to discuss.  

You are a valuable human being not just a "disease"

Chinese medicine sees people not just as "an illness" but as a valuable person.  Mental health also has a massive impact on our physical life and this too is looked at.

I would always ask you to kindly send paperwork on any tests or investigations that you’ve had before your appointment if at all possible or else bring the results with you.

Face to face or online?

If we meet face to face (as opposed to online*), I will take the opportunity to listen to your pulses as well as look at your tongue.  This may seem a little strange but these two things enable practitioners to look and listen in to your body at a deep level.  Often what has been discussed is confirmed by tongue and pulses but occasionally other things are exposed which help with the ultimate diagnosis.

Diagnosis and treatment plan

At the end of our conversation, I will give you a Chinese medical diagnosis and a treatment plan.  This may involve taking herbs on a daily basis for a period of time, acupuncture or bodywork such as massage and/or cupping.  There may also be other recommendations such as dietary or lifestyle changes that will also to help you to resolve your issues.            

Full discussion on how best to take your herbs?

If herbs are recommended, I will discuss with you how it would be best for you to take them.  Chinese herbs can be taken in many different ways depending on the problem.  These include:

  • A tea (granules or fresh herbs)
  • A tincture (herbs that are prepared in alcohol)
  • An oil or other preparation to put on the skin
  • A night time plaster to put on an area of pain or discomfort
  • A hand or foot bath which can be amazing for pain and also to help with stress or anxiety at the end of the day
  • A suppository to be inserted rectally or vaginally
  • A snuff (to be sniffed up the nostrils)   

Consultations can take place online or as part of an acupuncture or bodywork session.

* Taking your tongue picture

When taking a picture of your tongue, take it in good light (ideally day light), sticking your tongue out as far as possible but keeping it relaxed. 
Aim to get the image towards the back of the tongue. 

Please also take a picture of under the tongue.  Open the mouth wide and put the tongue behind the top teeth.  Aim to take an image of the sublingual veins under the tongue.

If possible, ask someone else to do it for you.

Please send this before our online consultation.  Thank you.

We will fully discuss what your options are and also look at your lifestyle and other issues that could prevent you taking herbs successfully.  We want to avoid taking herbs becoming another stressful thing in life!

This is a healing journey for you and even the action of taking the herbs needs to become an enjoyable part of that process.

I am a firm believer in open and honest communication and value these discussions and interactions with my patients.

How you take your herbs can sometimes be a journey until we find the way that is right for you. There are many options:

  • A tea (granules or fresh herbs)
  • A tincture (herbs that are prepared in alcohol)
  • An oil or other preparation to put on the skin
  • A night time plaster to put on an area of pain or discomfort
  • A hand or foot bath which can be amazing for pain and also to help with stress or anxiety at the end of the day
  • A poultice (used in different ways but can be used for example in some respiratory conditions by placing on the back)
  • A suppository to be inserted rectally or vaginally
  • A snuff (to be sniffed up the nostrils)   

All herbal products (both external and internal) will be prepared specifically for you and your condition/s and should not be used for anyone else.

100% safe

Chinese herbs are absolutely safe to take when prescribed by a medical practitioner specifically for you and your symptom/s.  If side effects to occur, they will typically be digestive in nature, such as mild nausea or changes in bowel movements, and tend to be short-lived, lasting up to 48 hours as your body adjusts to the herbs. 

At your initial consultation, you will be asked what other medication or supplements you are currently taking and these will be taken into account when selecting the appropriate herbal remedy for you.

I will also advise you on an appropriate dosing schedule alongside your medications or supplements to ensure that you are taking your herbs in the most effective way.      

In all my treatments, your safety is of utmost importance.  As a practitioner registered on the Register of Chinese Herbal Medicine (RCHM), I prescribe authenticated Chinese herbal medicines that have been quality-assured by using only RCHM-approved suppliers. These suppliers must fulfil rigorous criteria following a thorough investigation by independent auditors, which includes demonstrating that herbal medicines are manufactured according to Good Manufacturing Practice (GMP) standards.  These are important safeguards for ensuring safety standards are met and to ensure that patients receive the best quality herbs available.   

Introducing the Register of Chinese Herbal Medicine

As a member of the Register of Chinese Herbal Medicine (RCHM) I am obliged to order herbs from one of the six suppliers they have vetted and approved. 

The RCHM is the body that regulates Chinese Herbal practitioners and upholds a standard of professional excellence for all their members.

As a member of this body, I am required to keep up to date on my insurance, continue with my professional development every year and I am also welcome to submit papers or conduct relevant research which may be published in their online magazine.

My herbal dispensary

For my herbal dispensary (which currently resides in my barn in Devon), I tend to purchase my dried herbs from Phoenix Medical.

Phoenix Medical are an ethically sustainable and socially responsible supplier of the highest medicinal grade products available in the UK at this time.  They are also leading the UK in traditional Chinese medicine research and education.

You would receive these herbs if you needed immediate and strong medicine which you could prepare at home and use for several days.

If you were going to take longer term herbs, I may prescribe granulated herbs which you simply pour into a cup and mix with hot water.  I obtain these from another RCHM-approved supplier,  Balance Healthcare.  Balance Healthcare have recently introduced Granule Dispensary Technology which meets the highest hygiene requirements and uses advanced technology systems that are now widely used in leading Chinese hospitals. 

Staying on top of the pain

I have been seeing Jenny for treatment with Chinese herbal medicine and acupuncture, after having a hip operation in 2021 for a cam shaft hip problem. I had tried everything with physiotherapists and been referred to lots of people by my GP, but nothing was helping me keep on top of the pain. I found that the acupuncture and herbal treatment helps me keep on top of my pain without taking strong painkillers that I had to take in the past to get by day to day.

Jordan Wells

Contact me

So we can arrange an appointment.