For thousands of years, the Chinese have been using herbal remedies not only to prevent diseases but also to treat many different common everyday ailments and disorders.
Herbal Remedies in Various Forms
The easiest and the most direct way of using healing herbs is to put them in your food, such as the common use of cinnamon, garlic, and ginger in Chinese cooking. There is a Chinese saying: "You can never draw a line between foods and herbs." In other words, herbal health is a way of life because Chinese herbs are used in most Chinese dishes. To illustrate, the Chinese eat Asian dandelions and Chinese yams as foods.
Another common way of using Chinese herbal remedies is the use of tea. Drinking herbal tea is the easiest and the most pleasant way of self-cure. Of course, herbal tea remedy takes time to cure. According to naturopathy, when you are sick, you should slow down, and you should learn to understand that any holistic cure takes time and that nature cannot be rushed. In addition, tasting the medicinal herbs in tea can activate your internal system to recover and recuperate.
Taking an herbal tincture is also one of the favorite Chinese herbal remedies. A tincture is an alcohol-based liquid extract from an herb by soaking the herb in alcohol for several weeks. Alcohol acts as an extractor as well as a preservative to make herbal tinctures last longer. In Chinese herbal remedies, herbal tinctures are more potent than herbal teas with respect to self-healing, because herbal tinctures get directly into the body system and they produce healing effects faster than taking pills.
Tinctures often come in bottles with droppers, allowing you to measure the exact amount of the tincture required.
In modern technology, Chinese herbs are turned into their powder form in capsules and tablets for easier consumption. According to Dr. Andrew Weil, freeze-dried extracts are better than air-dried whole herbs.
In Chinese herbal remedies, the down side of taking herbal capsules and tablets is that some of the therapeutic value of an herb is compromised in the oxidation process, and the loss of sensory connection with the herb itself.
Herbal oils are essential oils distilled from a healing herb. Sensual herbal remedies can be used in aromatherapy, hydrotherapy, or breathing in the healing herbs through steam inhalation.
In Chinese herbal remedies, an herbal compress is sometimes used as a simple herbal remedy in which the healing herb, soaked in a tea or a water-diluted tincture, is pressed against the surface of the skin.
Healing herbs, ground with some liquid, can be applied directly over sores or wounds and held in place with a bandage or cloth.
Herbal solid extracts can be made directly from herbs, such as hawthorn berries and licorice root.
The King of Herbs Ginseng is the king of herbs. With its branched roots in the shape resembling that of the human form, ginseng is called “man root” in Chinese. The word “ginseng” literally means crystallization of the essence of the earth (“shen”) in the form of a man (“jen”). The name itself attests to the importance of ginseng among herbs. As a matter of fact, due to its holistic-healing potency, ginseng is regarded as the king of herbs because it treats the body as a whole.
Ginseng brightens your eyes, opens your heart, enlightens your brain, and strengthens your soul and spirit. This anti-aging herb has been used in China for many centuries, and its potency has been vindicated by many classical prescriptions. For example, Chinese soldiers used to carry ginseng to the battlefield, using it not only to restore strength, but also to ameliorate the effects of shock and stress in combat.
In Chinese medicine, ginseng is noted for its adjusting, preventive, and restorative potency, in particular as a potent stimulant. Its potency has been recognized worldwide. For example, ginseng was used by Soviet astronauts as a preferred stimulant to the amphetamines used by the American counterparts in space expedition, because ginseng enhances performance without the hangover effects of amphetamines. In addition, Soviet coaches and trainers have long used ginseng to enhance the performance of athletes in training, even for the Olympic games.