Chinese herbalism

photo of eric grey making a chinese herbal formula

Chinese Herbalism is the use of botanical, mineral and ocassionally animal substances from the Chinese pharmacoepia to help prevent and treat illness. Chinese Herbs are usually prescribed in combinations called "formulas" and dispensed in pill, capsule or tea form.


Care & Keeping of Herbs (Coming Soon)

What can chinese herbs treat?

Menstrual Difficulties

Very heavy, light or painful periods, irregular periods, PMS, troublesome clotting

Digestive Issues

Chronic diarrhea, constipation & heartburn, food allergies, IBS, ulcerative colitis & Chron's


Menopausal Problems

Irregular or difficult periods, hot flashes, insomnia, anxiety, early or extended menopause

Headaches & Dizziness

Migraines, tension headaches, menstrual headaches, dizziness, vertigo, Meniere's disease

Cardiac & Circulatory concerns

High blood pressure, high cholesterol, irregular heart rates, palpitations, varicose veins

So Much More...

Chinese herbs can be used as a part of treatment for almost any condition

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Do Chinese Herbs taste bad?
The truth is that many Chinese herbs are an acquired taste. A significant number of Chinese herbs have a bitter quality to them, and particularly when taken at therapeutic strength, they can be a challenge for American palettes. That said, there are also herbs that are spicy, sweet, or very neutral in flavor and it entirely depends on the formula you are taking. Ask your practitioner what you can expect from your herbal formula before you take it.

You should not add any sweeteners to your Chinese herbal formula, as this may impact its effectiveness. If you find that a formula is too strong, you can dilute it with more water or divide your dose up into smaller doses through the day. If you simply cannot handle a particular formula, talk to your practitioner about encapsulated options where you will not have to taste the herbs.

What training do Chinese herbalists receive?
At Watershed Wellness, we only employ Chinese herbalists who are also acupuncturists - so the same information that applies to acupuncturists applies to herbalists!

US acupuncturists must first obtain a Bachelor's degree before applying for medical school. They then do a 3-6 year Master's or Doctorate program at a Nationally accredited institution.

The education includes a foundation in biomedical anatomy, physiology & pathology as well as significant information about safety, consent, privacy and other important ethical issues.

The remainder of the program consists of Chinese medical theory, acupuncture theory, and many programs also cover Chinese herbs and dietetics. The last year of education is typically devoted to clinical education.

In the US, acupuncturists are licensed by state medical boards or specialized state acupuncture boards. National certification through the NCCAOM is also available and requires significant training and recertification every 4 years.

All acupuncturists are required to do extensive continuing education in order to maintain licensure.

Are Chinese herbs safe?When practiced by a licensed practitioner, Chinese herbalism is safe.

Please read this article about Chinese herb sourcing & safety to learn more about this topic and to get tips about how to be safe when you are taking Chinese herbs.

Can I take Chinese herbs with pharmaceuticals?In most cases, the answer is, "Yes." There is a lot of fear and misinformation out there about the potential for Chinese herbs to interfere with pharmaceuticals. This fearfulness generally exists because there are not very many studies that explicitly examine the combination of pharmaceuticals with Chinese herbs.

However, these herbs have been used continuously since before pharmaceuticals existed in China and other parts of the world and very few documented instances of drug-herb interactions have occurred. 

That said, you should always take care to inform your herbalist of the pharmaceuticals you are taking so they can use the information at their disposal to assess the risk and share that information with you. Some pharmaceuticals that need particular care are blood thinners, SSRIs (a type of antidepressants) and some immunosuppressive drugs. Reach out to your practitioner if you have any questions!

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