More Thoughts on Chinese Herbal Medicine

As I continue to consider the implications for healing with foods and also herbal medicine, it occurs to me that my education was not always practical. For the most part all the herbs that I use are native to China. It should be expected considering I studied Chinese Herbal Medicine. As we learn more about the packaging and also the loss of nutrients in transportation, it makes me consider how we get our herbs to this country.

While I pride myself on having a practice that works low on the totem pole with little over head and pretty minimal waste, it’s difficult to reconcile the fact that so many Chinese herbs come from very long distances. Even buying products in the United States I don’t always know where they purchase their “finest quality herbs” (although pretty much everyone has the “finest quality herbs” and I doubt they are all coming from the same place). Many manufacturers offer that their herbs are organically grown. Others specify that their herbs are grown in the United States.

The formulas I use work. However, regular cod liver oil works for a lot of people and there are people who can discuss why fermented cod liver oil (the way it used to be made) is even more effective. Can my formulas be made even more effective? If I grow this herbs, what happens if I naturally ferment them? Donna Gates makes fermented dong gui. I find it easy to digest, particularly considering it’s dong qui, which can be difficult in some formulas.

As an acupuncture practitioner, however, I am suspicious of single herb formulas. Single herbs do one thing. For the most part our bodies are a balance of many things. We don’t need one herb, we need formulas. I don’t know of anyone who is naturally fermenting any of the classic formulas. I wonder at the power that might be achieved if someone did that.

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Bonnie Koenig has been a licensed acupuncturist since 1999. She is passionate about helping people find real healing and real health. In the process she keeps asking about our attitudes towards sickness and health. Only by being clear on what sickness is, can we ever find health.

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