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Internal Herbal Medicine

What is Chinese Herbal Medicine?

Herbal Medicine has been used for thousands of years all over the world and in all cultures.  Before modern pharmaceutical medicine all cultures used natural herbal medicine.  During the earliest times of Chinese Medicine herbs were used singly meaning one herb for one symptom.  This was pretty standard and some herbal systems still use herbal medicine in this way.  For example if you have an allergies you make a tea of one herb.  If you have painful periods you take another herb.  Around 2500 years ago Chinese Medicine started to be prescribed as formulas. Formulas are used to treat symptom patterns or groups of symptoms.  The use of formulas allowed Chinese Medicine to become very sophisticated in its treatment of disease.  One major benefit of using formulas is that the prescription can be completely personalized to each individual patients health condition.  This means you can have ten people in a room with insomnia but they will all get different herbal formulas since they all have different symptoms.  For example one patient may have difficulty falling asleep with lower back pain and constipation.  Another patient may have difficulty staying asleep with anxiety and loose stool.  Both patients have insomnia but the treatments will be completely different.  The other huge benefit of using formulas is that herbs are combined in ways to greatly reduce side effects and toxicity while at the same time making it safe to take herbs long term.  

Chinese Medicine was used as primary care medicine for thousands of years in China.  It was used to treat everything from appendicitis to broken bones to tuberculosis.  Many of the formulas that were used 2000 years ago are still used today to improve peoples health.

Ira Wahrman licensed acupuncturist prescribes herbal medicine using traditional formulas.  All of the formulas prescribed have been used for thousands of years on millions of patients.  The benefit of using these formulas is that all the kinks have been worked out over the centuries by doctors.  Eliminating side effects and increasing the efficacy. With each individual patient a traditional formula is chosen and then modified to treat each patients unique health presentation.

Each person has a unique health history and their treatment should be no different. All the herbal medicine prescribed is customized to meet the unique needs of each patient. 

Here is how it works.

  1. Make an appointment for a initial herbal consultation
  2. Fill out the comprehensive health history.
  3. Meet with Ira to discuss your main complaints and all of the other symptoms contributing to your current health condition (including sleep, urination, emotions, digestion, etc.). Your pulse and tongue will also be examined to fine tune the diagnosis.
  4. An herbal formula will be prescribed to address your main complaint and other symptoms.
  5. The herbs will be taken for a certain amount of time then a re evaluation will be performed.  During the re evaluation Ira will go through everything discussed during the initial visit.  The formula will be adjusted as symptoms change and improve.  Dosages of herbs will be changed.  Some herbs will be removed and others will be added
  6. Other re evaluations will be scheduled on a patient to patient basis.

Administration Methods

There are a few different administration methods used and they are chosen based on a few different factors.  Mainly cost and convenience.  Ira Wahrman acupuncturist uses all of the methods listed below on a case by case basis.

  • Raw Herbs:  Whole raw herbs are boiled in water to extract the medicinal properties of the herbs.  Either the patient cooks the herbs at home or the pharmacy can cook the herbs for the patient.  This is the most common method used in China
  • Raw Powders:  Whole raw herbs are ground into a powder and then mixed with water and ingested.  
  • Granules:  Single herbs are boiled in water.  The liquid is separated and dried.  Some companies mix the liquid with starch then dry it.  Most of the granules used in the office do not contain starch.  Granules are often the administration method of choice due to their convenience.
  • Tinctures:  Whole formulas are first are boiled in water first then alcohol is added to extract the medicine qualities of the herbs and work as a preservative.

Chinese Herbal Granule Pharmacy
Chinese Herbal Granule Pharmacy

Ira Wahrman acupuncturist assembling granule formula
Ira Wahrman Acupuncturist Assembling Granule Formula

Raw Chinese Herbal Formula
Raw Chinese Herbal Formula

Frequently Asked Questions

1. Do I need to take herbs forever?

You do not need to take Chinese herbal medicine forever. Once we attain the health goals we are striving for the dosage of the herbs are reduced and herbs are eventually discontinued.

2. Are Chinese herbs safe?

Chinese herbs are safe when prescribed by a properly trained practitioner   A trained practitioner should have graduated from an accredited masters program in acupuncture and herbal medicine.  A safer bet is to work with someone who has also studied with a senior herbalist after they graduate.  Ira Wahrman licensed acupuncturist would fall under both categories

3.  Are there any side effects?

Chinese herbs when correctly prescribed in a formula should have minimal to no side effects.  In the rare case that side effects do arise your prescription will be modified.

4.  Are there any fillers used with the granules?

Most of the granules used in the office do not contain fillers.

5. Do you offer telemedicine herbal consultations?

Yes.  I have done consultations over the phone with patients as far as San Francisco, California.

6. Do you ship herbal medicine?

Yes.  Granules are shipped from the acupuncture office in Mamaroneck.  Raw Herbs, Raw Powders and Tinctures can be shipped to your home from an Chinese herbal pharmacy.

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