4 Types of Chinese Traditional Medicine and Herbal Remedies

February 09, 2021

There is a reason why many people look beyond Western medicine for their health needs. It isn't because Western medicine doesn't work, necessarily; it's because for a lot of people, it doesn't address their health needs on its own. Additionally, alternatives to Western medicine have been used for centuries, and many Chinese herbal remedies have been tested and proven to be worthy time and time again for years.

With that being said, not every type of Chinese medicine is going to be right for everyone. Some types have been more rigorously tested than others. Below are some of the types of natural medicine that have been explored in China, and the issues that they can potentially help address.

1. Acupuncture

Acupuncture is perhaps one of the most heavily used types of functional medicine in the world, and certainly in the United States, where over 14 million Americans have used or currently use acupuncture to treat some kind of ailment. There are so many issues that are addressed by acupuncture. The treatment involves the application of tiny needles to pressure points throughout the body. Although some are initially afraid of acupuncture, they quickly discover that the application of the needles is either painless or comes with extremely minimal discomfort.

Acupuncture is applied by professionals who are certified and have their master's degrees, in most cases. It's often used for pain relief, as the application of the needles stimulates blood flow in targeted areas. Many people who experience muscle stiffness find that acupuncture is especially effective, and therefore people with muscle pain, especially if it's related to an athletic injury, often seek acupuncture. Acupuncture has also been used to help relieve symptoms related to anxiety snd depression, as well as infertility.

2. Moxibustion

Perhaps one of the more famous Chinese herbal remedies is moxibustion. Moxibustion involves taking mugwort and burning it on or near the body. Although not as popular as acupuncture in the U.S., it's quite popular on a global level, used not only in China but Tibet, Korea, Vietnam, and multiple other nations. In the process, mugwort is often aged and ground up, used either loosely or shaped into a cigar-like form.

Much like acupuncture, moxibustion is theoretically used to warm and stimulate certain pressure points in the body through blood flow. However, it's important to note that one form of moxibustion does cause scarring, purposefully creating blistering. In the past, moxibustion has been used for pain relief, constipation, stress relief, and diseases like ulcerative colitis.

3. Ginger

Many people aren't aware of the fact that ginger is used among other traditional Chinese herbal remedies. Believe it or not, ginger is used for a variety of different purposes in Chinese medicine and is found to be quite effective when taken as a supplement. While some could incorporate ginger more into their diets, others find that its flavor is too intense, which is why it is often used more in capsuled supplement form.

In particular, ginger has been used to treat nausea. Many people take ginger after experiencing nausea following a roller coaster ride, or when they have nausea associated with a stomach bug or during their menstrual cycles. Others take ginger to help remedy the symptoms of the common cold.

4. Licorice Root

While licorice root is used to flavor the candies that we're all familiar with, it's also counted among Chinese herbal remedies. This remedy can also be eaten in a more standard form or powdered and mixed into drinks, or it can be capsuled and swallowed as a supplement.

Licorice root helps relieve coughs and sore throats, but it has always been used to calm muscle spasms and aid in more serious chronic pain relief. Furthermore, some people take licorice root in order to help prevent the contraction of various viruses. But due to its association with exacerbating hypertension, it needs to be taken under medical advice.

There are many more types of Chinese herbal medicine on the market, of course. However, the reality is that for many people, Chinese herbal medicine is fairly new. It should only be tried through a professional, and at a qualified center that specializes in this type of medicine.