The goal of Chinese herbal medicine is to construct an herbal formula that most accurately matches the patient in question and most effectively moves them to a place of greater balance and harmony. Formulas are individually tailored to reflect the unique idiosyncracies of each patient and the circumstances under which they became ill. For example, imagine two patients with low back pain. One person developed their pain from lifting boxes, the other had a more gradual onset of symptoms. For one, the pain is sharp, worse with pressure, better when lying down , whereas the other patient has a gradually worsening low back pain that is dull and better with the application of heat and pressure. While Western Medicine would probably prescribe the same medicine for these two patients, perhaps a muscle relaxant and a pain killer, each of these patients would receive a dramatically different herbal formula based on differing Chinese diagnoses.
The typical Chinese formulas contain between 6 and 18 herbs and are used to treat a wide range of illnesses including but not limited to: high blood pressure, depression, bronchitis, infertility, painful menstruation, digestive disorders, fatigue and stress.