This medical practice involves the combined use of herbal extracts, minerals and animal parts. Chinese herbal medicine differs from Western herbal medicine in that it uses a decoction with a much higher number of therapeutic agents, twelve, and sometimes even more than that. These agents are combined synergistically to create a formula for each patient.
Research on Chinese herbal medicine dating back to the distant past, produced an important and abundant bibliography of writings by traditional Chinese doctors, including medical notes, dating back 1000 and even 2000 years. These describe the characteristics of herbs taken individually, their effects, the active principles or their toxicity. Using an empirical-scientific method, these writings show the therapeutic effictiveness and the absence of significant side effects of Chinese herbal medicine.
Scientific knowledge of each herbal agent has grown significantly in the last 50 years thanks to significant investments in research done by both Chinese and Western organisations.
The most recent Chinese herbal formulas are created on the basis of traditional knowledge combined with the findings of clinical and laboratory research.