When most Westerners think of Chinese medicine, they typically think of acupuncture since it was the first modality of Chinese medicine to receive popular exposure in the media. However, in China, acupuncture is actually not the main modality of TCM. In China, Chinese medicine first and mostly means the prescription of Chinese herbal remedies. However, when a Chinese doctor prescribes an herbal remedy, it is usually in the form of a multi-ingredient formula administered as a decoction. Such decoctions are often made up of 15-20 ingredients which are boiled for 30 minutes to an hour or more. Typically, they are very bitter to the taste and are definitely strong medicine which should be prescribed by a qualified professional practitioner. However, within Chinese medicine there are also herbal teas. These are made from only two of three ingredients that have been steeped in boiling water for only a few minutes. Often one of the ingredients is the increasingly popular green tea. Such herbal teas can be used as adjunctive treatments to other professionally administered remedies such as acupuncture and can be used as one’s daily 'background' beverage. They can be used preventively and remedially, and there are Chinese herbal tea formulas to address most health care complaints and concerns.
AUTHOR: Xiao-fan Zong & Gary Liscum