Herbal Supplement Therapies: What Are the Options?
Shopping for supplements can be an overwhelming experience because there are so many to choose from.
Sometimes it’s helpful to have help sorting out which supplements will fit your needs and have been proven effective. That’s where a Integrative Medicine doctors can help. We can help sort out therapies that have scientific evidence to support the benefits. Dr. Sally Williams and I continually keep up-to-date on evidence-based functional and integrative therapies, herbals, and supplements via conferences and connections to holistic and integrative medicine communities.
Chinese Herbs Have Long History
Another option is Chinese herbal therapies, also offered through prescription at Avera Medical Group Integrative Medicine. Chinese herbal formulas have been passed down through practitioners and tested over thousands of years much like acupuncture.
Chinese herbals are interesting and different from taking a single herb such as St. John’s Wort because they are often a combination of four to 12 herbs created as a formula. The various herbs in the formula balance each other to provide the desired effect without side effects. For example, if one of the active herbs for treatment would typically cause stomach upset then another herb in the formula prevents the stomach upset.
Patients should take Chinese herbal therapies under the guidance of a trained practitioner. The formulas are prescribed like acupuncture based on meridian diagnosis or imbalance in a patient’s energy system. Herbal formula therapies and acupuncture often work together to help the patient regain energy balance and good health. Chinese herbal therapies do not need to be taken long term for acute issues that are expected to resolve. The practitioner manages changes with the herbal therapies for chronic conditions.
Evaluation for effectiveness should take place with your practitioner within four to eight weeks of starting the supplement. If patients are not noticing desired benefits with the supplement they should stop.