Chinese Herbal Medicine
Herbal medicine works primarily through the flavor and the thermal nature of herb combinations.
We must have enough “storage” capacity in our bodies to draw energy down and in and keep it until needed. The bitter flavor helps descend this energy in the body. The digestive system is aided by the pungent/spicy flavors, which help to distribute and move, and the sweet flavor, which helps to ripen and rot the consumed food. Water metabolism is aided in large part by the salty flavor (but is also controlled with bitter, sour, and sweet).
The digestive system is in constant communication with the liver, lungs, heart, and kidneys to manage the physiology in the body. And as noted above, the brain runs the show, so if any of these systems/organs are weak or blocked then the brain is affected. When the brain is affected, all kinds of strangeness can occur – hormonal imbalances, digestive upset, insomnia, mood disorders, unexplained pain, neurological issues, skin issues, etc.
Herbal medicine works to correct these internal imbalances, strengthening what is weak and restoring communication, function, and flow. Acupuncture is incredibly useful for conditions where there is a blockage due to stress, illness, or injury. When the functioning of the body has been more severely affected or weakened, however, herbal medicine (often in conjunction with acupuncture) is necessary for the resolution of symptoms and disease.
Photo credit: Kerri Sherman (kerrisherman.com)