herbal medicine


herbal medicine
Herbal medicine is the most popular form of ‘traditional’ health care in modern China. Bolstered by official government support since the mid 1950s, institutions of traditional medicine generate a great deal of health care knowledge and deliver modern medical services to at least 10 per cent of all clinic visitors in the PRC. The earliest materia medica (bencao) literature in China dates from the first century, and a vast systematic literature of herbal medicine has flourished since the sixteenth century. Since publishing returned to full activity in the 1980s, many popular ‘self-health’ publications have marketed information on the uses and benefits of herbal medicine.
Although specialist Chinese medical physicians are often consulted for custom-made prescriptions, it is possible to buy medicinal herbs without a prescription in street markets, pharmacies and street-side clinics. Users generally decide for themselves when herbal medicine is needed, either to supplement biomedical treatment or in place of it. Those who prefer Chinese medicine explain that ‘Western medicine cures the symptom, Chinese medicine cures the cause’. Herbal medicine is widely acknowledged to be especially effective for chronic complaints that are not well managed by biomedical means: digestive disorders, chronic pain, infertility and other functional disorders. People also realize that herbal treatments take a long time; they say, ‘Chinese medicine is slow but it cures the root.’ Herbal medicine is available as loose herbs, which must be decocted, or in patent medicines that can be taken as pills, tonics, compresses or lotions. Some herbal medicines are now exchanged as prestige gifts, and even the most Westernized consumers know a few helpful hints for maintaining everyday health through the use of Chinese medicine.
JUDITH FARQUHAR

Encyclopedia of contemporary Chinese culture. . 2011.

Look at other dictionaries:

  • herbal medicine — n 1) the art or practice of using herbs and herbal remedies to maintain health and to prevent, alleviate, or cure disease called also herbalism 2) herbal remedy * * * herbalism …   Medical dictionary

  • herbal medicine — n 1.) [U] the practice of treating illness using plants 2.) [U and C] medicine made from plants …   Dictionary of contemporary English

  • herbal medicine — noun 1. ) uncount the treatment of illness with medicines made from plants 2. ) count or uncount medicine made from plants …   Usage of the words and phrases in modern English

  • herbal medicine — UK / US noun Word forms herbal medicine : singular herbal medicine plural herbal medicines 1) [countable/uncountable] medicine made from plants 2) [uncountable] the treatment of illness with medicines made from plants …   English dictionary

  • herbal medicine — noun Date: 1848 1. the art or practice of using herbs and herbal preparations to maintain health and to prevent, alleviate, or cure disease 2. a plant or plant part or an extract or mixture of these used in herbal medicine …   New Collegiate Dictionary

  • herbal medicine — noun a) herbalism b) A herbal drug or similar preparation …   Wiktionary

  • herbal medicine — herbalism the use of plant or plant extracts for medicinal purposes in order to improve the body s natural functions and restore balance. Herbal medicines are given in many forms (liquids, infusions, tablets, topical preparations, etc.) and form… …   The new mediacal dictionary

  • herbal medicine — noun 1. a medicine made from plants and used to prevent or treat disease or promote health • Hypernyms: ↑medicine, ↑medication, ↑medicament, ↑medicinal drug 2. the use of medicinal herbs to prevent or treat disease or promote health • Hypernyms:… …   Useful english dictionary

  • herbal medicine — noun 1 (U) the practice of treating illness using plants 2 (C, U) medicine made from plants …   Longman dictionary of contemporary English

  • herbal medicine — /ˌhɜbəl ˈmɛdəsən/ (say .herbuhl meduhsuhn) noun 1. a branch of medicine which deals with the medicinal preparation of herbs. 2. such a preparation …   Australian English dictionary


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