Old Meets New
Those pharmaceuticals shown in magazines and television commercials don't always cure what ails us. Often, their side effects are more unpleasant than the conditions for which they are prescribed. Even if they do relieve our symptoms, they generally fail to address the imbalance in the body that allowed illness to manifest in the first place.
For many patients, this is the point where traditional healthcare leaves off and the holistic practitioner steps in. At Vibrational Healing Arts of San Diego, Jackie Bensinger, L.A.c. treats most patients with a healing combination of Acupuncture and Chinese herbal remedies, which are sometimes referred to as the “Internal Medicine” component of Chinese Medicine.
Based on 2,000-year-old Chinese texts, the herbal formulas, which have been used effectively around the world for centuries, can include roots, stems, leaves, fruits, tubers, minerals, and animal products. The primary "delivery method" of the herbs Jackie uses are capsules, caplets, teas, tinctures, liniments and poultices.
Which Herbs and Why?
Specific diagnostic methods are used to determine an herbal prescription. A complete medical history, Chinese pulses, and examination of the tongue help Jackie to identify any patterns as they relate to symptoms, determine the roots (emotional, dietary, internal or external) of the symptoms and diagnose the imbalance from a Chinese medicine point of view.
Chinese herbs are functionally explicit. Hot (in nature) herbs treat cold conditions and vice versa. Salty herbs will break up masses. Different parts of the herb from the root to the flower will be used for distinct purposes medicinally. For example, chrysanthemum flowers are generally used to treat imbalances in the head, like early stage colds and problems with the eyes.
The Language of Chinese Herbs
In Chinese Medicine, for every unbalanced “quality,” there is a corresponding category of herb to restore equilibrium. For instance, herbs that "release exterior cold" are suitable in the treatment of early stage colds with chills, fever and no sweating, urticaria and influenza; herbs that "clear heat" are used for conjunctivitis, urethritis, and herpes zoster; herbs that "dry dampness" are used for intestinal flu, edema, and urinary tract infections; herbs that "clear toxicity" are used to treat carbuncles, lesions, and pharyngitis; herbs that "extinguish wind" are for Bell's palsy, eczema, and certain types of migraines; herbs that "regulate Qi" are used for bloating, indigestion, and esophageal spasms. Clearly, Chinese Medicine has a fascinating approach and a colorful language all its own.
It is important to note that one must never self-prescribe any form of medications, be they herbal or pharmaceutical. Contraindications can occur, even with all natural medications. Those who may be pregnant, or who are taking certain prescription medications, like blood thinners, for instance, may not be good candidates for herbal medicines. That's why it is imperative that only a licensed herbalist like Jackie prescribe herbal remedies -- and it again underscores the importance of discussing your complete medical history before beginning treatment of any kind.
STRINGENT SAFETY STANDARDS:
The herbs Jackie dispenses are obtained from leading Chinese herbal distributors, Evergreen Herbs and Health Concerns. These distributors lead the industry in quality control and safety standards. Their authentic, bacteria-free, phytonutrient-rich raw materials are grown and harvested in such a way as to achieve maximum therapeutic yield. There are highly detailed data sheets explaining their standardized processing and testing procedures on file at Vibrational Healing Arts, should you ever wish to review them, and Jackie is always happy to discuss any concerns you might have about the integrity of the herbal formulas she uses. If you wish to learn more about the industry, there are links to our distributor Web sites on our Resources page in addition to some recommended reading on Chinese herbs.