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May, 2004, Vol. 05, Issue 05
By Editorial Staff
The Acupuncture Poll's question for February 2004 was:
When you provide your patients with herbal remedies, what form do you use most often?
Results are as follows:
These results are based upon 857 responses. As this is a voluntary, non-scientific survey, caution should be used in generalizing the results. Here is a sample of the comments made by those who took the survey and how they voted:
Pills or tablets: I would rather prescribe granulars or raw herbs, but I find that the pills can be easily taken to work or play; therefore, compliance is better. Also, I live and work in south Florida, where the weather is warm and damp, and raw herbs sometimes get moldy.
Pills or tablets: In this region, I find that clients tend to decline the use of raw or dried herbs. The reason tends to be the taste. They prefer the use of pills or tablets, and I have better compliance with the pills or tablet forms of herbal use.
Pills or tablets: When I began my practice, I used only raw herbs and discovered a number of people had trouble in that it was too much work, tasted bad or smelled up the house. Then, I cooked the herbs and gave out the cooked herbs in half-gallon jars. Over the years, I eventually started using patent formulas made in the U.S. as they became more available and were "clean," and there were enough formulas being made to cover most situations. I then used granules to make specific formulas as needed. In the patents, I use equal (amounts of) liquid extracts (where I can combine them myself) and pills depending on the formula and the client. I generally start someone with a basic formula, and make specific granule formulas after.
Raw or dried herbs: The professional standard of practice in China is an individualized raw decoction (of course, not in all cases, but in general, this is the case). It is professionally irresponsible for us to claim that we are practicing the professional level of Oriental medicine while giving our patients patents (which are really the over-the-counter versions of our formulae).
Practitioners should remember that we are the doctors and the patients are the patients. If we tell them what to do, in most cases they will do it.