Integrated Medicine: Why Your New Health Plan Should Include Chinese Herbs

ginger tea

It is big news that the famous Cleveland Clinic is one of the first conventional medicine clinics to bring healing herbs into their treatment program! Traditional alternative healing therapies, including Chinese medicine, are gaining wider popularity. Here are some reasons why the time-tested wisdom of traditional Chinese medicine is catching on with both patients and physicians—and how you, too, can benefit!

Why Chinese Medicine?
It is a time proven, powerful approach to health! The Chinese medicine tradition goes back 5,000 years and works with nature to maintain wellness and prevent disease. That means the remedies are more in tune with Mother Nature, often have fewer side effects, are generally less invasive, and are usually less expensive.

In Chinese medicine, the emphasis is always on treating the whole person – mind, body and spirit – rather than just the body part that isn’t functioning well. Chinese doctors use a combination of natural techniques to maintain a healthy balance, including herbal medicine, diet and nutrition, energy exercises like tai chi, and other forms of bodywork, like acupuncture.

The Case for Integrated Medicine
Of course, there is definitely a place for conventional Western medicine, which saves lives every day. But traditional alternative therapies are definitely filling a gap. For example, conventional medicine can’t always effectively treat more complex conditions like chronic fatigue, fertility issues, and PMS. Alternative medicine has more options in its healing arsenal, such as herbs and acupuncture.

Patients have begun requesting more access to alternative medicine in Western settings because they want individualized care with more gentle options for addressing health problems. Doctors and hospitals in America have started to change in response to patient demand, including the Cleveland Clinic, a leader in wellness and integrative medicine, who now offer herbs and acupuncture in treatments.

3 Traditional Herbs for Healing
These readily available herbs have been used in traditional Chinese medicine for thousands of years. They may just help you heal your conditions – no trip to the pharmacy necessary. As always, speak with your physician before changing your health regime. Just as there are drug interactions, there are also drug-herbal interactions. Also, be a savvy consumer. Make sure you are working with a reputable and certified naturopath or herbalist.

Valerian Root
You might have heard of this herb, which is often used as a sedative or natural pain reliever. Sometimes called “nature’s tranquilizer,” valerian has been used for centuries to regulate the nervous system and relieve tension, irritability, nervous exhaustion and stress. Try a cup of valerian tea the next time you’re in need of pain relief!

Ginger, a natural anti-inflammatory, has been used for thousands of years by the Chinese to remedy pain. Ginger helps relieve nausea, arthritis, headaches, menstrual cramps, and muscle soreness. A perfect compliment to vegetables, marinades, and sweets, ginger is also delicious in tea. To make fresh ginger tea, you can cut up the root, boil it for 10 minutes, then strain the water and sip as tea. Or, make a ginger compress the next time you have a painful swelling. Simply, grate the root, wrap in cheesecloth, place in hot water for 30 seconds, then let it cool and place on the affected area for 20 minutes.

Schizandra Berry
This might be a new herb to you. Schizandra berry is prized for boosting energy and focus while it soothes nerves and takes the edge off anxiety. You can eat the berries, but most people drink it as tea or take capsules.