When diet, acupuncture, and lifestyle changes aren’t enough to support us in finding balance, calling on plant medicines can be an excellent way to shimmy us closer toward balance. Herbs have always been an integral part of medicine around the world, and Chinese herbal medicine is one of the most ancient systems. (I always smile when I hear people call Chinese medicine “New Age.”) The first documents on Chinese herbal medicine were written around 2800 B.C.E. by Shen Nong. Many of the formulas he wrote about are still used today, and his language on herbal energetic properties is now widely recognized. In addition to plants, Chinese medicine also includes the use of minerals, bones, and other natural substances.
Having studied Western herbal medicine, folk herbal medicine, plant spirit medicine, and Chinese herbal medicine, at Inner Ocean we draw from several lineages of plant wisdom to find the plant medicine most suitable for your constitution and for any specific health challenges you are experiencing.
Each session with your practitioner includes some degree of an herbal medicine consultation. For some of us, a constitutional formula is needed and that can be determined during your initial Comprehensive Intake. These formulas have a slower-acting but more sustainable effect on our nervous systems and on the deeper, more chronic challenges of our lives. For others, acute formulas may be needed to support us in getting back to our lives such as when coming down with a cold or flu.
Often we start with prescribing an herbal medicine for two weeks to see how you and the formula get along. If you two are doing well together (yes, plants have personalities, too!), then you’re practitioner will guide you in your dosage and duration of herbal therapy.