Are Chinese herbs safe?
YES, and much more so than Western medications in many, many cases. The side effects may be slight diarrhea if the formula is taken in too large a dose or is not adapted to the patient's individual sensitivities. This is easily corrected and a good herbalist makes a proper formula. Western drugs have severe effects on the liver and kidneys, and Western protocols keep many patients on drugs forever; often they need not be if we can correct the root disorder.
Stabilization is important, so a TCM practitioner would not take a patient off their drugs. Many patients begin feeling better and then meet with their doctor to discuss prescription changes. Drugs used for hypertension, cholesterol, or blood thinners for stroke or brain injury patients serve a critical purpose in the patient's life and are addressed very appropriately. A TCM practitioner is familiar with drug interactions and herbs so caution and airing on the side of prudence is always respected and warranted.
The herbs I use are FDA compliant and of very high grade. They are dispensed in powder or capsule form. I give the patient a list of what is in the herbs and I explain the functions with them. There are no proprietary rights on herbs - they are plants - and when used properly they can have tremendous positive impact. But the FDA and the AMA know little about the Chinese herbs and if there's no profit to be made by the drug industry, they simply have no interest in saying anything positive about them and they usually get a bad rap. When used wisely, in the right situations, they are amazing as patients will attest. Everything from sinus infections, bronchitis, headaches, pain and injuries, digestive issues, menstrual problems, infertility, fatigue, insomnia, anxiety and stress are common problems successfully addressed with a combination of acupuncture and herbs.