Herbs: Frequently Asked Questions

Please click on the following most commonly asked questions. If you have a question or concern that is not answered here, please call us!

Chinese Herbal Medicine has a very broad ability to promote and re-establish good health, but is most commonly used to treat the following:

* Chronic skin conditions, including eczema, psoriasis, acne and rosacea

* Respiratory conditions, including asthma, bronchitis, chronic coughs, seasonal allergic rhinitis (hay fever), perennial allergic rhinitis (year-round allergic reactions to pet hair and dust mites) and sinusitis

* Digestive complaints, including IBS (Irritable Bowel Syndrome), indigestion and ulcerative colitis

* Gynaecological problems, including pre-menstrual syndrome (PMT), painful periods, menopausal syndromes, endometriosis and some forms of infertility

* Urinary conditions, including chronic cystitis

* Rheumatological conditions, including rheumatoid arthritis and osteoarthritis

* Headaches and migraines

* Chronic fatigue syndromes, whether with a background of viral infection or in response to other situations

* Anxiety and depression

* Some metabolic disorders, including diabetes and thyroid conditions, may benefit from supportive treatment

The length of treatment will vary greatly depending on the condition. Anything between one and six months would be common, though in certain cases treatment may last quite a bit longer. Your practitioner should tell you how long you might need to take the herbs/apply a cream, etc. before they can assess how effective treatment has been.

Serious adverse effects from being treated with Chinese herbs are very rare, and as a discipline it has a very good safety record. Although the fact that Chinese herbal medicine treatments are 'natural' does not offer a 100 per cent guarantee there will be no side effects,  patients taking herbs are monitored carefully to check for any unwanted effects and formulas adjusted as required.

In addition, only authorised suppliers are used, committed to excellent quality and ethical standards.

These typically include some minerals and all parts of plants: Roots, rhizomes, seeds, fruits, bark and leaves. Whilst there are many herbs you maybe familiar with (eg: cinnamon, peppermint, ginger, sechzuan pepper, Chinese red dates), most of them are unique to the landscape, altitude, climate and herbal medicine practices of China.


Chinese herbal medicine has a great understanding of how the nature of each single herb can change based on how it is prepared.

Processing can moderate what otherwise might be overly-strong effects, diminish unwanted reactions, modify the energetic properties of the herb and dissipate disagreeable odors and tastes.

Preparation methods include stir frying, boiling/steaming and calcining (using a smokeless flame to heat the herb until it becomes crispy, brittle, or red-hot).

The majority of the time, treatment is based on formulas for internal use. However, it is not unusual for a external/topical formula to be created, that can be used as a mouth or skin wash, cream, balm, herbal plaster or liniment to aid healing based on your needs.

I create my own hand-made products that can be used very effectively alongside your internal formula where needed. Some of these are available for the public via the website, but due to various UK regulatory law, others can only be provided for patients who have been seen in person.

Many people now choose Chinese medicine (acupuncture and herbal medicine) as a trusted method to support their health and wellbeing and compliment to standard medical treatments.  Your specific needs are considered carefully and while in most cases treatment can safely be given alongside any prescribed medication that you may be taking, there are instances where either your acupuncture and/or herbal medicine treatment will need to be modified.

It is exceptionally rare that a person's condition and/or ongoing medical interventions mean that Chinese medicine treatment may not be suitable.

Some insurance companies now cover the cost of herbal medicine treatment, but please check your policy or contact your insurer first.

No endangered animal and plant species are used, and no substances are used from unethical sources.

As a minimum, you would need to be seen in person for the full consultation and traditional diagnosis. For follow-up consultations, it is always ideal to be seen in person as it enables me to make a more accurate assessment of how you are doing and what is changing. However, it is possible to have follow-up consultations online depending upon your situation and state of health - this can be discussed with you at your first session.

Whilst there are a few occasions where a single herb, or small formula with two herbs may be prescribed, typically, a formula will contain 10-15 herbs that work in a synergistic compound that is based on a classical formula and then modified specifically for you.

It is for this reason that off-the-shelf, pre-prepared pills and powders are not as effective as a tailored formula.