Traditional Chinese medicine is about equality and balance. It encompasses yin and yang. They are two opposing, but complementary forces. Keeping the balance between yin,the feminine force, and yang, the masculine force, keeps a body healthy.
If something is out of balance, then the body is ill. Unlike Western medicine, TCM sees the body as a series of interlocking and interactive systems. Not only do the systems, or organs, interact with themselves and each other, they also interact with the world around them.
The body is the natural world made small, and it needs to be kept in balance. Each person has qi, or energy, that runs through channels in their body. This energy is more than just energy, it is the vital life force of that person. Qi runs through everyone and everything. It is part of how the human body interacts with the world.
Blockages of the qi can upset the balance of yin and yang inside a person’s body and cause them to be ill. The most common treatments in chinese medicine all involve getting the qi back into balance. Probably the easiest way to do this is to use herbs.
Traditional Chinese medicine recognizes well over 50,000 different herbs, however not all of them are regularly used. There are five different flavors of herbs. Each of the flavors does a certain thing, and works on a specific part of the body, and is used in certain cures. The five flavors are bitter, sweet, salty, pungent and sour.
Bitter herbs are used to help take heat out of the body. If the body is too hot, or cold, the qi is out of balance. Heat and cold don’t mean the particular temperature of a body, it is more the state of being. Bitter herbs are also used to help some stomach ailments as well as being good for the heart.
In Chinese medicine the sweet herbs are used for the spleen. They are also use to restore the body’s natural harmony, balance and energy. That is part of why they are also used in pain relief and control.
The sour herbs are beneficial to the liver, and can help prevent pus in an infection.
Salty herbs are to be used for kidney problems and thyroid issues.
Pungent herbs are good for the lungs and for the circulation.
Only an experienced practitioner should prescribe herbal medicines, because it can be easy to take something that wouldn’t help a person. Herbs and certain foods are prescribed to help balance the qi out.
In TCM, the foods aren’t picked out for any particular nutritional value they might have, but for their qi, or energy essences. This form of medicine is holistic, which means it looks at the entire body as a whole, and how it relates to itself and the world around it.
The body is a series of system that work together, ruled by the qi. Keeping the qi in balance keeps a person healthy.