In the course of your treatment Chinese herbal remedies may be prescribed.
They may be dispensed as raw herbs or in pills, capsules, granules, or
tinctures which make them easier to ingest. Most herbal formulas can treat
a wide variety of symptoms while stimulating the body's natural healing
Acupuncturists are the only licensed health care professionals in
California who are required to be trained and tested for competency in
prescribing herbal medicine. Chinese herbal medicine has been practiced
safely and effectively for centuries and has the greatest potential for
beneficial results when prescribed by a trained professional who
recognizes both the benefits and risks.
In recent years, herbs have become very popular to self-treat many
conditions. They are available in health food stores, supermarkets, and on
the Internet. While herbs are promoted as safe, gentle, inexpensive,
"natural" alternatives to pharmaceutical drugs, many health care
professionals have concerns about safety, effectiveness, and potential
misuse of herbal products, especially when self-prescribed. There are also
questions of purity, strength, and standardization of herbs.
The California Acupuncture Board strongly recommends consulting an
acupuncturist before beginning any herbal therapy. It is also very
important to inform both your physician and acupuncturist of all the
products you are currently taking (drugs, herbs, other supplements) so
they can monitor effectiveness, ensure safety from adverse reactions, and
watch for possible interactions. If you have an allergic reaction to any
herbs, let you acupuncturist know.
How effective the treatment is depends on the severity and nature of the
condition being treated. Acupuncturists are trained to identify conditions
that may require referral to a specialist, so it is important for you to
provide detailed information about your condition so that important
medical problems are not overlooked.
If you are under the simultaneous care of different health practitioners,
it is important to keep all of them informed about your treatments to
ensure there are no adverse interactions.