Posted on 14 December 2013.
When true to its ancient roots, the creation of Chinese herbal medicines is a sophisticated alchemical practice based in the science of symbols and a deep understanding of the laws of nature. Individual herbs are grown under specific environmental conditions, harvested and prepared according to highly specified practices, and combined in precise ratios with an understanding of how they will interact during further preparation to produce medicinal formulas with the desired medicinal qualities. In the hands of skilled practitioners, such formulas resolve imbalances and restore health. Today’s discussion focuses in particular on the many ways an individual herb can be prepared (paozhi) to produce substances having unique and predictable medicinal actions.
In contrast, Western medical science has developed individual pharmaceutical drugs that have predictable biochemical actions aimed at symptom abatement. They can alleviate suffering and treat disease—but their use is not based in a deep understanding of what it takes to truly restore health.
We advocate that the deep wisdom and true science of Chinese medicine be recognized and honored, and used in a truly integrative manner with the brilliance of biomedicine for the benefit of all in need.
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