Chinese herbs have been used for centuries and are commonly used in regular foods. They are used to treat acute or chronic conditions. A great deal of effort has been placed on understanding the medicinal property of each herb. Each herb has taste (sour, bitter, sweet, acrid, pungent) and temperature(from very hot to very cold). Herbs enter certain channels and organs and it is in combination that a formula can be made. Some formulas have only three herbs while others have 15. The herbs work together synergistically to allow optimum therapeutic effects. The most common way to take herbs is in tea form because they work faster. Raw herbs are cooked in a pot for about 1 hour. Then several doses are stored for later use.
Another way herbs are prepared are in powder form. These are herbal teas that have been highly pressure cooked and crystallized so that all that need be added is warm water in a cup.
Herbs can also be taken in pill form, which are grounded herbs in pill form. This method takes a longer period to achieve results, however is stronger than raw herbal teas at maintaining its effect.
Tinctures are made by putting raw herbs together with a base (such as vodka), for about one month. The solution is strained and placed in a medicine dropper to be taken as needed.
Compliance plays a huge part in choosing to take herbs for therapy. Herbal formulas must be taken for a while before noticing the desired change. Once the change is met, however, discontinuing herbal therapy is important so that the body begins to naturally achieve the same therapeutic result.
Herbs are considered a dietary supplement and not actual medicine according to FDA.