Traditional Chinese medicine is often a combination of acupuncture and herbs, since the two complement each other so well. It is well recognized that herbal medicine is very powerful, despite limited knowledge of herbs in western cultures. Herbs are generally used in combination formulas to achieve the desired effect. The biggest allure of herbal medicine is its usefulness in the face of western medicinal failures, and its general lack of unpleasant, if any, side effects.

Unlike conventional medicine, herbal prescriptions must be specifically formulated based on a traditional Chinese medical diagnosis, taking into account an individual’s personality, specific symptoms, and environment. Dr. Julie Matthews prescribes the appropriate herbal formula, depending on the above factors. As with acupuncture, herbal medicine addresses the individual as a whole, strengthening the body against future illness.

Herbs have milder effects on the body than conventional drugs, resulting in fewer side effects. Unlike conventional medication that treats the symptoms of disease, herbal therapy corrects the underlying weakness that resulted in the disease. This results in deeper, long lasting, whole body healing.

Herbs are available in numerous forms. In order of decreasing strength, these are teas/decoctions, tinctures, powders, and prepared pills. Decoctions and teas are difficult to use in veterinary medicine due to palatability issues. Tinctures are alcohol-based preparations which are stronger than powders but are more expensive to prepare. Herbal powders or tablets are most commonly used in animals, either mixing the powder directly in food, or placing it in capsules or tablets. Administration is usually once to twice daily, with treatment duration often weeks to months.

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