Does Herbal Chinese Medicine Work?

Does Herbal Chinese Medicine Work?

As the head of the wellness coach team at, I aim to provide research-based evidence on whether Chinese herbal medicine works or not.

Chinese herbal medicine, which is rooted in Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM), has been used for centuries in China and many other Asian countries. It includes a vast variety of medicinal herbs and natural substances to treat several ailments

The research team at has found that treatment with Chinese herbal medicine takes a holistic approach and treats not only the symptoms but also the underlying causes of the disease.


Even though there is growing scientific evidence to support the use of Chinese herbal medicine, we need more research to fully understand the safety and efficacy of this oriental medicine practice. One must use caution when taking Chinese herbs and always consult with a healthcare professional first.

Do Chinese Herbs Work?

Chinese herbs have been extensively researched for their therapeutic benefits as an alternative to Western medicine. Scientific research has been conducted to investigate the pharmacological qualities and therapeutic benefits of numerous Chinese herbs, and it has proven to be effective in treating a variety of health issues.

Common Chinese Herbs and Their Healing Power

Chinese herbal medicine is used to balance yin and yang and restore the flow of qi. It relies on herbal medicine preparations that have distinct therapeutic properties.

Ginseng is well-known for its stimulant characteristics, which include boosting energy, cognition, and the immune system.

Astragalus boosts the body’s defenses, whilst Dang Gui helps women’s health, regulates menstrual cycles, and increases blood flow.

These are just a few examples of what these herbal remedies can do for your health, and different combinations of these and several other herbs are used to bring about a healthy balance to bodily organ functions and an unobstructed flow of body fluids like blood and lymph. 

Scientific Evidence for the Effectiveness of Chinese Herbs

Chinese herbs have proven to be useful in treating various conditions, such as chronic pain, sterility, and many other health issues.

It can be used as a complementary medicine as it also increases the effectiveness of acupuncture when used together. 

For instance, a study published in the Journal of the American Medical Association showed the efficacy of Chinese herbs in treating irritable bowel syndrome (IBS). Another study published in the British Journal of Clinical Pharmacology highlighted the effectiveness of Chinese herbs in treating osteoarthritis

What is Chinese Herbal Medicine?

Chinese herbal medicine is based on the belief that health and illness are determined by the balance of two opposing forces, yin, and yang. Another factor involved is qi, which is the body’s life energy. When the qi flows smoothly and evenly, the yin and yang are balanced, and the human body is healthy.

When qi becomes blocked or sluggish, yin and yang fall out of balance, and that is when illness occurs. Through the use of herbs derived from different plants, animals, and minerals, TCM removes these blockades and gives a healthy balance to the body’s vitality.


What Does Chinese Herbal Medicine Treat?

Chinese herbal medicine (CHM) has been used for centuries in Chinese patients to address a wide range of health conditions.

Acute and Chronic Illnesses

Chinese Medicine is effective in treating both acute ailments, such as the common cold or flu, and chronic illnesses like cancer and heart disease. We can benefit from its comprehensive approach that targets the underlying causes of both common ailments and serious issues.

Pain Relief

Traditional Chinese medicine provides natural pain relief for various conditions, including arthritis, kidney stones, headaches, fibromyalgia, and carpal tunnel syndrome.

Herbal formulas are made so that their analgesic effect addresses both the specific type and location of pain, unlike Western medicine. 


Traditional herbal medicine possesses anti-inflammatory properties that can help alleviate inflammation, which is the culprit in many chronic diseases. Herbal remedies reduce the symptoms associated with conditions like rheumatoid arthritis and inflammatory bowel disease, and inflammation of many other organ systems, thus balancing the flow of qi in the human body. 

Digestive Disorders

Traditional Chinese remedies are beneficial for treating many digestive problems such as constipation, diarrhea, and flatulence. It can regulate digestion, improve gut health, and address the underlying imbalance that contributes to gastrointestinal discomfort.

Mental Health Problems

Chinese medical practice also offers support for various mental health conditions, including anxiety, depression, and insomnia. Gingko is being studied for its potential therapeutic effects on ADHD.

Traditional Chinese medicine’s holistic approach, combined with its wide range of applications, makes it a versatile and valuable alternative to Western medicine for individuals seeking natural and comprehensive healthcare solutions.


How Do Chinese Herbs Work?

To understand how traditional medicine works, we must first learn the ways these natural remedies interact with our physiology

Herbal Formulas and Holistic Approach 

In Traditional Chinese Medicine, different herbal formulas are carefully crafted to achieve synergistic effects. These formulas are tailored, so they can address an individual’s specific symptoms and underlying imbalances. The herbs in classical medicine work together and create a comprehensive healing effect that goes beyond simply targeting symptoms.

Qi and Energy Balance

Chinese herbal medicine is based on the belief that qi is the vital energy that flows throughout the different organ systems. According to this ancient concept in Chinese medicine, illness arises when the flow of qi becomes imbalanced or obstructed in the blood vessels. Chinese herbs are used to regulate and harmonize the qi, allowing it to flow freely and restore energetic balance within the body.

Pharmacological Effects

Chinese herbs used in traditional Chinese medicine possess complex chemical compositions, making them effective drugs for various ailments. Modern scientific research has identified active compounds in Chinese herbs that contribute to their healing properties. These compounds exhibit antioxidant, anti-inflammatory, antimicrobial, or other beneficial effects like the pharmaceutical drugs of Western medicine. 


Safety Of Herbal Medicine

As compared to modern medicine, traditional Chinese medicine is a natural and holistic approach to healthcare that has been used for centuries in Chinese patients. 

Natural Origins 

One of the primary advantages of herbal medicine is its natural origin. Herbal remedies are derived from plant and animal sources, making them inherently gentler on the body as compared to synthetic pharmaceutical drugs.

Reduced Side Effects 

The natural composition of traditional medicines often translates to reduced adverse effects as there are no toxic chemicals involved.

The chemical complexity of Chinese herbs is often balanced by nature, minimizing the likelihood of severe adverse effects as compared to prescription drugs

However, it is crucial to know while considering Chinese herbs that individual variations can influence how each person responds to herbs.

Disadvantages Of Herbal Medicine

Despite its many uses, herbal medicine, like modern medicine, has limitations and can also cause harm if not used properly and carefully. 

Interactions with Other Medicines 

If you are taking any prescription or over-the-counter medications, herbal medicine can interact with them and can lead to serious health risks. That’s why it is important to talk to your doctor before starting Chinese herbal medicine. 

Difficult to Find High-Quality Products 

Many herbal products on the market are not regulated, which means that you cannot be sure of their purity or potency. This is why it is important to buy your herbal products from a reputable source.

Not Suitable for Everyone 

Some people may not respond to herbal treatment, and others may experience side effects. If you are considering using Chinese herbal medicine, it is important to talk to your doctor first.

Summary of Herbal Medicine

Chinese herbal medicine is based on the principle of balance. It is believed that health is achieved when the body’s qi, or vital energy, is flowing smoothly. Herbalists use a variety of herbs to help restore balance and promote healing.

Herbal medicine preparations are generally safe and effective, but due to their interactions with modern medicines, it is important to talk to your doctor before starting any new treatment Frequently Asked Questions

Do Chinese herbs help? 

Yes, it is shown through several scientific studies that these conventional drugs made from Chinese herbs have a positive effect on your health and wellness and can bring you vitality through the balance of Qi, the body’s life energy in the bodily organs. 

Traditional Chinese medicine is a safer alternative to Western medicine as Chinese herbs have little to no side effects. 

What are the disadvantages of Chinese herbal medicine?

Disadvantages of herbal medicine include interactions with different over-the-counter and prescription medications, difficulty finding high-quality herbs, and the variability in the effectiveness of herbal medicine. It is important to consult with a professional herbalist or a TCM clinical practice before starting any herbal or complementary medicine to prevent adverse effects. 

How long does it take for Chinese herbs to work?

The length of time it takes for traditional remedies with Chinese herbs to work can vary depending on the condition being treated, the individual’s body, and the dosage and quality of the herbs. In general, however, it can take anywhere from a few days to a few weeks for Chinese herbs to start showing results.

Do healing herbs work?

Treatment through healing herbs is backed by scientific research and centuries of practice. It has consistently shown to be effective and more research is needed to confirm its effectiveness as these herbs are without the toxic chemicals present in modern drugs. 


The research team at has found that Chinese herbal medicine is an ancient system that utilizes plants, minerals, and animal substances to restore balance and treat various ailments of the human body. It is based on the concept of yin and yang and qi.

Scientific evidence supports its efficacy for pain, anxiety, depression, and cancer, though further research is needed. Chinese herbal medicine offers a valuable and time-tested alternative approach to healthcare. 

Find It Health Editor in Chief Luz Chacon Health and Wellness Coach Giving You Advice

Luz Chacon

Luz Chacon is a Health Educator, Wellness Coach, and EFT Tapping Practitioner with 30+ years in health advocacy. Specializing in stress management, wellbeing, and holistic health, she created a 40% stress reduction employee program. Luz is dedicated to helping busy individuals prioritize self-care, break patterns, and reach goals. She offers programs for organizations and individuals. Luz is passionate about sharing her health research and guiding informed choices!

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Luz Chacon Health Coaches at Find It Health and Stress Management and Natural Holistic Health Coaches