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31Aug/09Off

Things to be aware of when taking traditional Chinese medicine

Some people think Traditional Chinese herbal medicine is more "mild" than Western medicine in terms of the healing process. Although it's somewhat true, there are still something we need to be aware of when taking Chinese herbs.

1. When taking Traditional Chinese Medicines, try to avoid foods like beans, meets, anything cold and hard to digest. These will increase the burden of the digestive system and slow down therapeutic effects of the herbs. Especially people with weak spleen and stomach should avoid these foods.

2. When treating illnesses that belongs to "hotness" type, the patient should avoid or stop alcohol, spicy foods, fish and meat. These foods produce more heat and hence help the growth of that "hotness", making the illness worse.

3. For herbs that heal through "sweating", like healing cold or flu, the patient should avoid cold and sour food. These food will slow down the therapeutic effects of these kind of medicine.

4. For herbs that heal through "warmness" and highly nourishing, like Ginseng and Lingzhi, the patient should avoid drinking tea and carrots - these would "cool down" the effects of these medicines. However, if somebody doesn't feel very well after taking too much Ginseng, eating carrots can help relieve the nausea or lack of appetite.

5. Don't use tea (made of tea leaves) to drink along with herbal medicine, like patent medicine in pills or tablets. The acid in tea may neutralize the biotic alkaline or protein and the chemistry may ruin the effects of the herbs.

6. For herbs that heal through "blood cooling" and "Yin nourishing", avoid any food that is spicy. These medicine can heal diseases that relates to constipation, thirsty etc, which are considered as "hot" diseases. Spicy food definitely is going to make it even hotter and neutralize the cool down effects of those herbs.

7. Know more about the forbidden combinations, like China-root (Poria cocos) can't take with vinegar,  honey can't eat with fresh spring onions...etc.

8. Pregnant women have to be very aware of the forbidden Chinese herbs, like "blood motivating" herbs (such as Red flower), "detoxifying" herbs such as Job's Tears Barley, "scented" herbs, "hotness" herbs and "poisonous" herbs.

9. The break in between taking Chinese herbal medicine and Western medicine should be at least two hours apart.