My Experience with Chinese medicine-Part I

As I talked about my treatment experience, I cannot ignore Chinese medicine. Chinese medicine has been in practice of more than 2,500 years. It includes medications (草药 or 中药), acupuncture (针灸), massage (推拿or按摩), exercise (气功), and dietary therapy (食疗 ). Although Chinese medicine is influenced by the Western medicine, its ideas are mainly followed the Chinese thought patterns. While I have little knowledge about the Chinese medicine, I have much respect for it.

When I started the treatment, I didn’t think much about the Chinese medicine. I was quite sick and the Western medicine was limited. I didn’t know targeted therapy and other development in 2016. Under my mother’s encouragement , I agreed to also try the Chinese Medications or Chinese herbs. Through some relatives, I got a hold of Chinese doctor, Dr. Z. My mother and brother did their investigation through the internet and my relatives in China also approached Dr. Z’s clinic. My mother contacted Dr. Z, and described my case to him. I haven’t met Dr. Z before. I have a friend who is a Chinese doctor and told me that the Chinese medicine might not work, but it will not kill you, anyway it is all herbs. It may explain why Dr. Z can treat me without seeing me.

I started to use the herbal medicine in November 2016. I had the same batch of medicine for every weekday and I took breaks at weekends. Each batch of herbal medicine lasts for 3 months as 1 prescription. After 3 months, Dr. Z asked my mother about my symptoms, and adjusted the medicine accordingly. I have been having the Chinese medicine till now, 7 prescriptions.

Each batch of my Chinese medications consists of different plant parts, e.g., roots, leaves, stems, flowers and seeds. I don’t know their names. In addition, there is 1 bag of powder, 10-20 pills, and 1 skin patch (see Figure below) associated with each batch of medication. The herbal medicines contains sands that needs to be filtered carefully; this is a demanding task.

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One thing my mother insisted, after every prescription, to ask Dr. Z what was the function of the medicine and the side effects. In the following months, she would observe me and see my signs and symptoms.

Several things I should mention:
1) Chinese herbs or Chinese medications are the only Chinese medicine I have used. I have not used acupuncture, Chinese exercise, dietary therapy and massage. So I am not to talk about them here.

2) Preparation of the Chinese medications is a demanding job, it starts with i) soaking the Chinese herbs for 30-40 minutes in the morning, ii) boiling the soaked herbs in a special pot for 40 minutes (see the above Figure), iii) emptying the liquid from medicine pot into a different pot, adding the powder and iv) boiling the mixed liquid for another 30 minutes, v) finally, filtering the sands from the liquid. Meanwhile the Chinese herbs should be boiled for the second time, and the same procedure be repeated. I’m drinking the Chinese medication in 350-400 ml each time and 2 times per day.

3) I am very carefully to eat Xalkori and the Chinese medications, both twice per day, but at separate times. Dr. D was neutral on using the Chinese medicine.

4) Chinese medications I use is very bitter. I curse at this medicine every time I used it.

5) It is not cheap to get the Chinese medications – about a full professor’s 6 month salary in China ($9,000 USD) for 1 prescription medicine for 3 months. I totally have 7 prescriptions.

Eating Chinese medications for a long time is not fun and requires discipline. That is up to me. Making Chinese medications for more than 2 years requires incredible love and patience. That is my mother.

I am always thinking whether the Chinese medicine is working or not. Is the Chinese medicine and the western medicine conflict with each other? Is the western medicine superior to the Chinese medicine or vice versa? I don’t have enough knowledge to judge. But based on my experience, I will give my 2 cents and I will blog it next time.

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