Chinese herbal medicine, history and modern use.
Chinese herbal medicine is a part of TCM that has deep ancient roots that deserve to be honoured and respected. Here we discuss a short history and how it is used now.
A brief history:
Over several centuries, people came to discover that plants and animal parts had therapeutic effects when ingested. 4000 years ago an emperor named Shen Nong (which translates to go of agriculture) tasted hundreds of plants to find out which were safe to eat and which had pharmacological effects. The first classical text was known as ‘Shen Song’s herbal classic’ or ‘Shen Nong Ben Cao Jing’, which was published about 1800 years ago and contains 365 herbal drugs. This has further been reviewed and developed since then, with over 12000 drugs majority of which are plant origin.
In more recent years, modern pharmacology was introduced which further studies the chemical constituents of herbs. Herbs are processed and tested for safety and are rigorously monitored by the TGA. Any potential adverse events are to be reported and notified to ensure optimal safety and efficacy. It is important to remember that just because it is herbal medicine that it is STILL medicine and therefore needs to be respected as such. It still has pharmacological actions and must be prescribed by a qualified health professional to ensure it is right for you. Interactions with medications and supplements are also to be considered, so be sure to tell your practitioner everything you are taking.