Differences between Herbs and Pharmaceuticals

The Difference between Herbal Formula, Western Pharmaceuticals, and Nutritional Supplements

Chinese Herbal Medicine is the longest continually practiced medicine in the world. It has the benefit of thousands of years of clinical trial and error. The formulas offered by David have been part of this long, rich tradition. In fact, it is common for herbalists to categorize a formula as “new” if it is less than 200 years old.

One major difference with herbal formulas is the ability to manage potential side-effects. If there’s an uncomfortable side-effect from an herbal formula, this is a sure sign that the formula needs to be modified to fit the client’s constitution. This is a big difference from pharmaceuticals, where patients are conditioned to live with any side-effects caused by medication. In many cases additional drugs are given to treat the side-effects of other drugs.

Unlike natural supplements, a typical Oriental Medicine formula contains between four and twenty individual herbs. Each herb works together to magnify the effects of other herbs, counteract undesired effects of other herbs, or harmonize the effects of others. Think of the herbal formula as a sports team, where each member has a specific role to play. When all the members perform their roles well, the team achieves success. The fewer the number of herbs in a formula, the more global is its effect on the body. The more complicated the formula, the more targeted and localized the effect.