About 4,500 years ago, emperor Shen Nong, tasted 100 different herbs and then taught the Chinese people how to use them in herbal medicine and various forms of therapy. Since then Chinese Herbal Medicine has been a fundamental component of both the medical practice and the culture of the Chinese people.

Both the professional practice, and the family tradition of Chinese Herbal Medicine are known and put to use throughout the world. This form of traditional medicine is allowed in most of Asia. It has also been legalized in parts of Europe and in the United States.

The Encyclopedia of Traditional Chinese Medical Substance (1977) lists 5,767 materials that are considered to be part of the Chinese Medical tradition, however most practitioners use only 200-600 of these.

Different parts of each plant are used. One potion may call for tea made from the leaves of a plant, while another may be pills formulated from the ground seeds. Roots, stems, and even flowers can be combined in formulas specific for each ailment, or can be taken as a tonic to boost general health.

Pills are the most common, and the most popular of the remedies, as some teas may be very bitter. A unique traditional delivery method is the honey pill. This is prepared by combining powdered herbs with honey to produce a small herbal pill.

In Chinese Medicine, there is no separation of mind and body. Every organ is thought to be connected to a certain mental function or emotion. For example, if a person is experiencing a lot of anger, the practitioner may offer an herb to help with liver function — thought to be where the anger emotion emanates. Being obsessive about something will result in a prescription for herbs to support your spleen. Not surprisingly, the heart is associated with joy.

There are several reasons a person might choose to use Chinese Herbal Medicine. First are traditions. A family may have long standing formulas for regular life events, such as pregnancy, headaches, menopause, lethargy, or even old age. If a family member’s situation is out of the ordinary, a professional practitioner is often consulted.

Some people turn to Chinese Medicine because they believe that the plants of the earth are more healing than chemical formulations of pharmaceutical companies.

Still, some concerns about the use of herbal medicine exist. The Food and Drug Administration is aware that many medicines are illegally imported. Without knowing exactly what is in the formulations, there are then chances of overdose or other serious health consequences.