The Chinese herbal cornucopia is vast, some say more than 3000 commonly used herbs. The way these herbs combine into formulas is a science unto itself. There are some herbs that do pretty well on their own but most do better when combined with other herbs. There are many great formulations, some of which are over a thousand years old, that have stood the test of time as to their effectiveness. The way that we decide on a formula to prescribe is that we first need to have a diagnosis. Diagnosis in our medicine works a bit differently than a Western diagnosis. In Chinese medicine we look for patterns of illness in the body, usually the root of the condition of disease. There are some common patterns of illness that are found in many disease such as fibromyalgia. So depending on the pattern than led to the condition called fibromyalgia in a patient, there might be several ways to treat it herbally. But I find that patients often do well on the single herb dang gui (Chinese angelica root). Some formulas that are often used are classics such as liu wei di huang wan or the slight modification zhi bai di huang wan. If the patient is willing to take powdered herbs (which are made into a strong tea) we can mix and match formulas and single herbs to treat the patients individual condition more accurately.
Monte Jackson, owner Acupuncture Center of Richmond