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How do I Choose the Best Chinese Herbalist?

By Angela Crout-Mitchell
Updated May 17, 2024
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Many people choose to seek medical care that uses traditional ancient practices, such as those found in Chinese medicine. One of the essential components of traditional Chinese medicine is the use of herbs for healing, establishing balance in the body, and reducing the likelihood of illness and disease. There are several factors to consider when choosing the best Chinese herbalist for the person's individual needs, including the herbalist's education, experience, and how he or she chooses to dispense the herbal remedies. It is not uncommon for patients to use the services of a Chinese herbalist and doctor in place of more conventional Western practices, though others choose to use these types of treatments in a complementary capacity. Most medical practitioners of both traditions recommend the patient is well educated on the various treatments offered before choosing a medical path for their needs.

The first factor that must be considered when choosing a Chinese herbalist to work with is his or her education and training. In many countries, this medical field is not as carefully monitored as other disciplines, and many people claim to be Chinese doctors when in fact they are not. Before the patient allows treatment or takes Chinese herbs, it is suggested the herbalist disclose his or her credentials. Most reputable Chinese doctors and herbalists will have attended specialized courses in Chinese medicine for no less than 3000 hours, and will also have passed in-depth exams on the subjects to receive proper licensing.

Experience is another factor to consider when selecting a good Chinese herbalist to work with for improving health and eliminating disease. He or she should be able to show the potential patient examples of illnesses and dysfunctions they have successfully treated. This information is used by the patient to determine if they feel the Chinese medicine professional is qualified to treat specific illnesses and health problems.

Holistic care experts also suggest patients pay attention to how the practitioner dispenses herbs for therapeutic use. If the herbalist gives patients previously made or packaged herbal mixtures, he or she is thought to be less dedicated and knowledgeable about the craft than those that carefully measure and create herbal remedies for each client. Patients are encouraged to ask about the age of the herbs, as some lose potency with time and may not be as effective. Reputable Chinese herbalists are comfortable answering patients' questions and are willing to discuss the quality of the traditional Chinese medicine herbs they prescribe.

WiseGEEK is dedicated to providing accurate and trustworthy information. We carefully select reputable sources and employ a rigorous fact-checking process to maintain the highest standards. To learn more about our commitment to accuracy, read our editorial process.

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