TCM has been my primary healing modality since 1984, so after studying it for over 25 years, I know a few things about it. :Retro wink::Retro smile::Retro smile: Here's the main things to consider when using Chinese herbs.
WHAT IS YOUR SOURCE OF HERBS?
Unfortunately many Chinese herbs grown in China (where environmental standards are pathetically lacking) are contaminated with heavy metal and pesticide residues. Because I have MCS as well as CFS, I am extremely sensitive to these kinds of contaminants, and have had adverse reactions when I used herbs laced with toxins. The herbs that I never had any problems with are the powdered (freeze dried) ones put out by Sun Ten/Brion. As far as I know they are the ONLY company that successfully fought California's Prop 65 suit, and won. (read below)
"Of the numerous herbal companies sued to date, Sun Ten and Brion Herbs are the only companies who have successfully fought the Proposition 65 suit by proving that their products were not in violation of the California Law.
The allegations stated that all of Sun Ten and Brion Herbs herbal formulations and single herbs were in violation of Proposition 65. Over a period of three years, Sun Ten Labs and Brion Herbs Corp. engaged in a process of costly research and methods of verification of manufacturing processes, using an international team of esteemed soil experts, herbal experts, pre-eminent academic experts, and scientists in related fields to document that all their herbal products, processing practices, sources of herbs and the soils in which they were grown do not add any metal pollutants, and that the heavy metals that occur naturally in soils were reduced to the lowest levels possible. In this process they were able to demonstrate that all their products met the requirements of Proposition 65.
The winning of this case establishes that Sun Ten and Brion Herbs products are compliant with Proposition 65 requirements for heavy metals and that their manufacturing process supports the healthy results for which the products are intended."
Besides Sun Ten/Brion http://www.brionherbs.com/
Evergreen Herbs is another company that has a good reputation among the practitioners I see. http://www.evherbs.com/for_patients/why_evergreen.html
HOW MUCH DOES YOUR PRACTITIONER KNOW ABOUT CFS?
It really does help if you see a practitioner who has a lot of experience with your condition. With the acupuncture part of TCM, I haven't found this to be as necessary, because acupuncture works more on the IMMEDIATE level. But with the herbal end of TCM, it makes a HUGE DIFFERENCE to work with someone who really GETS IT
. The herbs work in a much more long term kind of way, on correcting the deep imbalances that are both the cause and effect of a particular condition. CFS is such a complex condition, which presents a huge and ever-changing assortment of really difficult-to-manage symptoms. So finding someone who is highly skilled and brilliant in working with CFS makes all the difference in the world. There is only one practitioner that I would highly recommend, after my many years of trying out 16 other ones. He's in L.A., booked 3 months in advance. He studied in China, speaks fluent Chinese, has over 25 years of clinical, research, and teaching experience in acupuncture and oriental medicine, and is the author of over fifty papers on topics including chronic fatigue syndrome, AIDS, autoimmune disease, breast cancer, and mercury toxicity. His clinical practice focuses on chronic infectious disease, immune dysfunction, and environmental illness (aka MCS). And there is talk of him being nominated for the Nobel prize in physics because of his research and work with biophoton testing--which he uses in his practice. I haven't been able to see him for the past 8 years, due to not having an eco-safe place to stay in LA anymore, And I really noticed a decline in my health when I stopped seeing him. If you PM me, I'll give you his name.
CHUAN XIN LIAN
I'm hoping that you know Chuan xin lian (andrographis) is the most bitter of herbs that are used in TCM. There is a Chinese expression: "my life is as bitter as chuan xin lian,"
which drives this point home. This is an herb that is really good for acute infections, but because it is so bitter and "cold," it's not a good idea to take it for a prolonged period of time. It can be really hard on your digestion if you use it too long and take too much, and that can make for troubles of its own. Most practitioners don't usually prescribe herbs that are this cold and bitter without adding something warming to the mix, to balance it out.
So I hope that's enough for now! Let me know if you have other questions, and I'll share with you what I know.