(At the current moment)
Stephanie has recently opened my eyes to the world of herbal medicine and I am so grateful. First I have to give her a shout out because any time I’m stuck on which herbal formula to prescribe to someone, she can tell me within minutes if it’s the right formula or give me an alternative off the top of her head. I strive to be that good one day. I still have to double check everything before I prescribe it.
What I like about herbs are that they are very gentle, have little to no side effects and are prescriptions you’re not meant to be on forever. In a world where we are often over medicated it’s nice to tell someone, “take this for 6 months and then come off of it, you should be good by then.” Even though I check everything before I prescribe a formula, its also nice to not have to worry too much about allergens, drug interactions or side effects. Since herbal formulas are all natural you don’t have to worry about things you would with pharmaceuticals. The biggest side effect I notice with herbs is digestive upset, which is usually not an issue if the herbs are taken with food. On the down side to herbs, most formulas are so gentle they can take a few weeks to a month to start working in the body. If you’re looking for something that’s going to help in 24 hours, for the most part (with some exceptions) herbal medicine should not be your go-to. The body takes time to heal itself and if you want to get to the core of the issue the herbs are going to help the body stay healthier in the long run.
Please don’t misunderstand, I also believe in western medicine and pharmaceuticals. I know that not everything can be cured by diet and herbs (although I would argue that more things can be helped by this than cannot). I personally take medications when absolutely necessary and I recommend my patients do when necessary as well. Balance is important in life. Herbs are also normally cheaper than western medicine. While the price can range, most herbal formulas are about $30 for a months supply.
Herbs always amaze me. There’s an herbal formula I love, but didn’t list here, that helps with colds. At the onset of symptoms you begin taking the formula and I swear it either completely prevents it or it’s gone in 2-3 days. I always keep it in my office and on hand for myself, my family and patients.
Please note that I will not be putting contraindications in my list of formulas. These formulas are some of my favorites but it’s really important to consult with an acupuncturist or an herbalist to find what formula is right for you. I do not want anyone self-diagnosing based on this article. Herbal formulas are not one size fits all and often it’s something subtle that helps us know which formula to prescribe.
- Ba Zhen Yi Mu Wan (also known as Women’s Precious Formula)- I love this formula for women trying to conceive that have a history of several miscarriages. It’s a nourishing formula, especially for the blood and a moving formula to help get rid of stagnation in the body. It works to help irregular periods and helps with anemia. As many women come in with blood deficiency (we bleed once a month, what do you expect) this formula is great to make sure you have enough blood to nourish yourself and your baby.
- Jia Wei xiao yao san- this is another great formula when trying to conceive or just trying to regulate your cycle. What I like about this formula is that it focuses more on the liver and moving the stagnation in that channel. The liver has a lot to do with our emotions and our hormones so getting things moving in that channel help everything to flow in the body better. This formula also works to “sedate the heart,” which basically means its good to help with anxiety and overthinking. This formula will also nourish the spleen and blood and help regulate menses.
- Gui Pi Tang- This formula is great for students- its all about tonifying the spleen! When we are stressed we injure our spleen and this formula is all about nourishing it and bringing it back to good health. It also helps to calm the mind, nourish the blood and nourish the heart. If you’re relying on sugar at the end of the day, chances are your spleen needs a little more love. This formula helps you strengthen the spleen to cut those cravings, reduce stress and find a better balance.
- Tian Wang Bu Xin Dan (TWBXD) & Chai Hu Jia Long Gu Mu Li Tang (CJJLGMLT). These are two separate formulas but I love to pair them together for patients. TWBXD is often referred to as an “herbal xanax” and works to help reduce stress and over-thinking. CHJLGMLT is also good in the same way but it helps to calm the mind and works to benefit sleep. While most people don’t feel groggy after taking it, it will lull you into a deeper, more restful sleep. I like to pair these together so you work to have a less stressful day and a better night sleep at night.
- Juan Bi Tang- last but not least! This formula is great for pain, specifically arthritis of any kind. I have given it to patients young and old who have needed that extra boost between treatment and it has worked so well for them! Some of them take the formula for a few weeks and then use it like advil when they need it, while others take it for a few months and come off of it completely.
Please feel free to let us know if you are interested in herbal medicine, we would be happy to help you on your healing journey!