Chinese herbal medicine is part of a larger healing system called traditional Chinese medicine (TCM), which also includes acupuncture, massage dietary advice and exercise. TCM is a popular method of treatment, with nearly three million Australians visiting TCM practitioners every year.
The underlying principles of TCM are very different from traditional Western notions about health, illness and the workings of the body. Chinese herbs are prescribed to normalise imbalanced energy, or Qi, that runs through invisible meridians in the body. Whether or not the philosophy is believed, studies have shown Chinese herbal medicines to be successful in treating a range of disorders, particularly gynaecological and gastrointestinal disorders.