What is herbal therapy?
Herbal therapy is the use of plants for both preventing and healing both chronic and acute health issues and is one of the oldest forms of medicine. To practice herbal therapy, a skilled herbalist is trained in an assessment system, like Chinese medicine, that guides both the selection of appropriate herbs and formulas for an individual, as well as the monitoring and adjusting of the individual herbs in the formula as the individual heals and progresses. Andres Vergara and Michele Collins Vergara are both trained in and use Chinese medicine, a wholistic system of medicine developed in China over 2000 years ago that is still practiced today.
Chinese herbal therapy seeks to alleviate the branch or acute symptoms, while also targeting the root patterns of disharmony or imbalance. Chinese herbal therapy can be used to prevent and address acute and chronic illness, as well as to reduce the side effects of western pharmaceuticals and medications. Michele has also received training in the Ayruvedica herbal system and integrates this with Chinese medicine. She uses herbs from a range of traditions, including western, Chinese, and Ayurveda.
Are there any side effects to taking herbs?
Because we match formulas appropriately with the specific conditions, side effects are rare. Herbal formulas usually use a balance of herbs with varying actions that are blended to balance any side effects that a single herb may have when used in isolation.
Are herbs safe?
Herbs are safe when taken in recommended dosages for the appropriate indications. In order to maximize herbal options for everyone, Michele and Andres maintain two separate and comprehensive herbal dispensaries of both raw herbs and of concentrated extracts that allow them to customize herbal formulas based on each individual’s needs. All of the raw herbs and concentrated extracts we use in our clinic are sourced from companies who do careful quality control and testing. For more information about herb quality and testing, see our recent blog post by clicking here. For our western and Ayurvedic raw herbs, as well as for many commonly used Chinese raw herbs, we use certified organic herbs whenever possible. This does mean we still use some conventionally grown Chinese herbs, mainly because there are not organic alternatives, however, we make sure that these adhere to strict quality control standards.
What types of health issues can herbs be used for?
Herbs can help to prevent and resolve acute and chronic illness. They do this by helping to gently regulate and facilitate good digestion, elimination, and sleep so your body is able to maintain and heal itself. Herbs can also help with a full range of physical and emotional issues, issues with menopause, migraines, dizziness, vertigo, all manner of pain, fibromyalgia, chronic fatigue, inflammation, dermatological conditions, menstrual problems, digestive problems, insomnia, headaches, depression, anxiety, asthma, and allergies. In fact Chinese herbal therapy is also helpful in addressing issues that do not have a specific explanation in allopathic medicine. This is because Chinese medicine identifies subtler indications of imbalance and offers a detailed explanation of imbalance based on these indications that allows the practitioner to develop specific herbal, food, and qi gong prescriptions based on the initial assessment.
What can herbal therapy do for me?
The use of plants for healing predates written human history and there is evidence that it is has been used for at least 60,000 years. It has a history of more than 2,000 years in China and has been used and continues to be used for all manners of ailments. In our trip to China to study traditional Chinese medicine we found herbs used for a wide variety of conditions in a hospital setting in Chengdu, China a city of 14 million people. We visited all the outpatient and inpatient hospital wards dedicated to the primary use of herbal therapy and found herbs used for practically every manner of health concern, including such areas as endocrinology, neurology, gynecology, pediatrics, oncology, osteology, urology, rheumatology, ophthalmology, respiratory, ears/nose/throat, and used very safetly alongside western medicine. When herbal selection is guided by the appropriate Chinese medicine pattern, herbs can help the body and its organs find a balanced state that allows for a deeper state of health and well being.
What can I expect from an herbal therapy consultation?
Herbal therapy consists of a comprehensive Chinese medicine inquiry from which the proper selection of herbs can take place. We typically discuss your goals for the treatment, as well as more details about your individual concerns. We will also discuss strategies to maximize healing and maintain health, including food choices and preparation and lifestyle. You receive an individualized herbal formula(s), based on this initial consultation process. After this comprehensive health inquiry has been concluded, we will mix the herbs in the form of concentrated extracts to which you can simply add hot water and drink or in the form of raw herbs that need to be cooked and strained before drinking.
We will help you select which preparation method will best suits your needs. We offer raw herbal tangs that consists of whole herbs. Herbal tangs are the traditional Chinese way of preparing herbal formulas and require that you follow preparation instructions of soaking them and decocting them in water, as a tea to be stored in the refrigerator and taken daily. While most people choose to take their herbs as concentrated extracts, there are people who prefer the herbal tangs.
Michele and Andres integrate herbal therapy with acupuncture, Chinese food therapy, and medical qi gong to offer a comprehensive approach that is grounded in Chinese medicine. Michele and Andres both provide herbal consultations in person at their office, as well as through phone appointments.
To schedule an appointment with Michele or Andres you can book online here. Or you can call 336-739-0317 or email using our contact form to schedule or for more information about the right service for you.