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Chinese herbal medicine is the world's oldest continually practiced, professional medicine. Its written history stretches back more than 2,500 years. Chinese herbal medicine is quickly establishing itself as one of the most popular and effective alternative therapies in the West. Most of the herbs have a very low level toxicity compared to common over the counter Western drugs. In general, herbs are not used alone; a certified herbalist combines 6-12 herbs into a formula.

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How are Chinese herbs taken?

The most common method of taking Chinese herbal medicine is in a decoction. This means that the herbs are boiled for approximately 45 minutes and then strained and drunk 2-3 times per day. Decoctions also come pre-boiled and ready-to-drink in vacuum-sealed packs. Additionally, there are herbal pills, tinctures, and powdered extracts for those who do not have the time or taste for drinking traditional decoctions.

How long does it take to see results with Chinese herbal medicine?

When treating acute conditions, results can be expected in a matter of minutes. For chronic conditions, results should be seen within two weeks. Although chronic conditions may require taking Chinese herbal medicine for a long time, signs that the medicine is working should be apparent to the patient and practitioner.

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