FAQs about Chinese Herbs

Q: What is Chinese herbal medicine?

A: Chinese herbal medicine is the main treatment method within Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM). TCM is the world’s oldest, continually practiced professional medicine. Its written history stretches back over 2,000 years and its practice is probably much older than that.

Although acupuncture was the first Chinese method of treatment to gain wide acceptance in the West, Chinese herbal medicine is quickly establishing itself as one of the most popular and effective alternative therapies in the West.

Q: What is the difference between Western folk herbalism and Chinese herbal medicine?

A: Western folk herbalism primarily treats diseases or symptoms, such as headaches, runny nose, menstrual pain, etc. Chinese herbal medicine, when practiced as a part of TCM, is based on an individualized pattern diagnosis as well as a disease diagnosis. Your pattern is made up of your signs and symptoms, your emotional temperament and the overall composition of your body.

The TCM patient receives a custom written herbal prescription designed to treat their individual pattern as well as the symptom or disease.

Q: Are there any other differences?

A: Western folk herbalism usually focuses on one symptom or disease at a time and use a single herb or groups of herbs for treatment.

TCM formulas are crafted to treat your entire pattern as well as the symptoms or disease that prompted you to seek treatment. TCM formulas may include six to eighteen herbs to treat the symptoms or disease as well as your entire pattern.

Q: Are all the “herbs” vegetable in origin?

A: Chinese herbal medicine may include vegetable, animal, and mineral ingredients, however, the majority of ingredients are from vegetable sources. Leaves, flowers, twigs, stems, roots, tubers, rhizomes, and bark are among the parts of the vegetable used.

Q: Do all the herbs come from China?

A: The Chinese adopted and incorporated herbs from all over the world. Fifteen to twenty percent of the 500 ingredients considered standard originated from outside China. What makes these “Chinese” herbs is that they are prescribed according to Chinese medical theory and a TCM pattern diagnosis.

Q: Does Chinese herbal medicine work for Western patients?

A: Chinese herbal medicine may include vegetable, animal, and mineral ingredients, however, the majority of ingredients are from vegetable sources. Leaves, flowers, twigs, stems, roots, tubers, rhizomes, and bark are among the parts of the vegetable used.

Q: Does Chinese herbal medicine work for Western patients?

A: Yes, Chinese herbal medicine works as well for Westerners as it does for Chinese. Chinese herbal medicine has been used successfully in North and South America, Europe, Africa, Australia, New Zealand, and all throughout Asia.

Q: How are Chinese herbal medicines taken?

A: The traditional method of taking Chinese herbal medicine is drinking a liquid, prepared by boiling the selected herbs. There are also herbal pills, tinctures, and powdered extracts for those who do not have the time or taste for drinking the more traditional liquid form.

Considering most patients may not have enough time to boil herbs and may not accept bitter taste of herbal liquid, our TCM clinic uses powdered extracts and capsules as well as pills made in Taiwan. It is very convenient to be taken and suitable for either adults or children.

Q: Do Chinese herbal medicines have side effects?

A: Most of the components of Chinese herbal medicine have a very low toxicity compared to even common, over-the-counter Western drugs. When they are prescribed according to a correct TCM pattern diagnosis, they should have few, if any, side effects, only beneficial healing results.

If you experience any discomfort while taking Chinese herbal medicine, tell your practitioner who will modify the formula until there are no side effects.

Q: What is Chinese herbal medicine good for?

A: Chinese herbal medicine treats the full range of human disease. It is used to treat:

  • Acute diseases, like intestinal flu and the common cold
  • Chronic diseases, such as allergies, gynecological disorders, autoimmune diseases, and chronic viral diseases
  • Degenerative diseases due to aging

Chinese herbal medicine is especially good for promoting the body’s ability to heal and recover from illness.

Q: Can pregnant women take Chinese herbs?

A: A professional TCM practitioner can write prescriptions that are appropriate for pregnant women and lactating mothers.

Q: Can children take Chinese herbal medicine?

A: Yes again. Pediatrics is a specialty within TCM and children can be given reduced dosages. There are also specially prepared pediatric herbal medicines in pill and power form. Chinese herbal medicine can treat atopic eczema, colic, earache, diarrhea, cough, and fever in babies and children.

Q: How long does it take to see results with Chinese herbal medicine?

A: In acute conditions, results may occur in a matter of hours. In chronic conditions, some results should be seen within two weeks. Although chronic conditions may require taking Chinese herbal medicine for a long time, signs that the medicine is working should be apparent to the patient and practitioner alike almost from the very start.

Q: How do I know if a practitioner is professionally trained in Chinese herbal medicine?

A: Although Chinese herbal medicines are safe when prescribed by a trained, knowledgeable practitioner, they are strong medicine. Patients should ask about where the practitioner trained, how long the training was, how long he or she has been in practice, and what experience the practitioner has had in treating the patient’s specific ailment.

Chinese herbal medicine may be part of the testing done where acupuncture is a licensed and regulated healthcare profession. Ask your practitioner if your state requires a license to practice; more than 40 states (New York is one of them) in the United States do. In states that do not currently require licensing, patients should ask their practitioner if they are certified by the National Commission for the Certification of Acupuncture and Oriental Medicine (NCCAOM).


Other Conditions Commonly Treated by Dr. Zheng

  • Hot flashes, menopause, PMS, irregular menstruation
  • Stress, depression, anxiety, insomnia, fatigue
  • Hey-fever, sinusitis, asthma, bronchitis
  • Infertility, impotence
  • Dizziness, vertigo, Meniere’s disease
  • Hypertension, diabetes, obesity
  • Stroke, paralysis, Bell’s palsy
  • Indigestion, diarrhea, constipation
  • Quitting smoking, beauty & rejuvenation



  • We offer free initial consultation
  • We accept health insurance plans which cover for acupuncture treatment. We may contact your insurance company to verify your acupuncture benefits. If you need us to do so, please tell us your insurance information including your full name, birthday,insurance ID number, and insurance company’s Tel. number.