Published: February 18, 2020

Many patients new to TCM ask about potential “side effects” that Chinese Herbs may have. However, the term side effects – meaning the ill effects of prescribed treatment – originates from Western medicine. Traditional Chinese Medicine has no corresponding concept. Instead, practitioners of Chinese medicine would view problems that arise from treatment as the result of an improper prescription. The herbs themselves, when prescribed properly, should never result in harmful side effects.

An improper prescription may occur for many reasons, for example, when a practitioner does not adequately consider the interactions an herb may have with other medications a patient is taking. If a qualified practitioner does take into account the various factors that affect a patient’s overall health, when they prescribe your herbs, you should not experience side effects.

To better understand how practitioners prescribe herbs and address patient concerns, it is helpful to start by learning more about the prescription process. By knowing some of the methods, practitioners use when prescribing herbs and why, current and prospective patients can have greater confidence in their treatment. If you are new to Chinese herbs, you should have the confidence to begin taking herbs and reaping their health benefits without reservation.

How do practitioners prescribe Chinese herbs?

Licensed TCM practitioners begin by performing a thorough consultation in which they diagnose your overall health and condition. For example, a practitioner will first characterize your body type before considering potential treatments. Beyond the basic categories of cold, hot, dry, or damp, an experienced and properly trained practitioner will be able to establish a clearer mapping of your body’s overall deficiencies and current condition. Your practitioner will then prescribe only those herbs which are compatible with your body type.

Prescribing “cold herbs” for a cold body type could cause problems, such as indigestion. Likewise, prescribing hot herbs for a hot body type could lead to other issues, such as constipation or acne. Consequently, your practitioner will customize your herb prescription to your specific needs during each visit. Factors like body type may also influence other aspects of your diagnosis, as well.

What other factors do practitioners consider when prescribing herbs?

Your practitioner will also carefully assess your current medical history, as well as your body and symptoms, during your consultation. This diagnostic step helps avoid contraindications between any Western medicines you may be taking and your TCM herbal prescription. Only experienced herbalists will have the training, knowledge, and experience to perform this aspect of care, which fully ensures your safety.

How should Chinese herbs be taken?

TCM formulas are not intended to be taken long-term. Regular use of herbs will change the condition of your body and symptoms, and so will other factors, such as changes in your diet, other medications, or even the weather. As a result, an older prescription may no longer be relevant to your body’s current needs. To account for this, your TCM practitioner will adjust your prescription as you continue treatment. By keeping your prescriptions current, you can enjoy greater safety and health benefits.

How can I get the most from my Chinese herb prescription?

To get the most from TCM, you will want to find a highly-qualified herbalist or licensed acupuncturist near you and have an open conversation about any problems you are currently experiencing and treatments you are undergoing. You will also want to take your herbs as directed by your practitioner and follow up with them consistently as your symptoms and needs change so they can update your prescriptions.

By diligently continuing your treatment, you can ensure your care plan explicitly matches your needs, learn how to prepare and take your prescriptions optimally, minimize the possibility of contraindications or allergic reactions and safely take advantage of all the benefits that Chinese herbs have to offer. You can also increase your familiarity with TCM so that you can make better-informed choices about managing your health in the future.

Who should I see to get started on my TCM treatment?

Anyone beginning a new course of treatment for a health concern, whether major or minor, should seek out as much information as possible before adopting their new routine. And they should carefully assess the benefits and risks of each prescription they are given.

To get the most accurate and current information upon which to base your decisions, you will want to speak only with a highly-qualified practitioner who fully understands your symptoms and the treatment methods they offer. If you do not yet have a TCM provider, you can find one on KPC’s website.

A licensed practitioner will spend time with you to assess your condition, explain your treatment options in detail and educate you about the process and the benefits of TCM.  Through your relationship with your TCM‌ provider, you can not only receive effective treatments that will boost your body’s healing response naturally but also gain complete confidence in your choice of using TCM.

KPC Herbs Wants To See Everyone Enjoy the Benefits of Herbal Medicine

Unwanted problems from TCM can be avoided by having your treatment guided by a qualified practitioner. For thousands of years, countless individuals have experienced improved health and greater well-being from taking Chinese herbs.

And for five generations, KPC Herbs has remained committed to educating consumers about how to take Chinese herbs as well as to produce the finest herbal products available so that patients can enjoy complete safety and peace of mind.

We wish you the best of health!


*Please note: These statements have not been evaluated by the FDA. This article is not intended to suggest specific treatments for patients or that any supplements mentioned prevent or cure diseases or problems. Before taking any herbs, all patients should discuss their options with a licensed practitioner, including any other medications the patient is currently taking, as there may be contraindications between pharmaceuticals and herbs.

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