Different amounts of the same herb or medicinal substances can have opposite effects on the body.

When Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM) practitioners who specialise in Herbs prepare a formula for you, using either a single herb or multiple herbs forming complex formulas, different quantities of even a single herb in a formula will produce very different health effects.


For example if it contains Ginseng, which is a well-known for its invigorating primordial energy, Ginseng's main ingredient is ginsenoside. Studies show that small dosages causes high blood pressure in dogs and increase the strength of heart contractions. But large dosages cause transitional hypotension (low blood pressure), decrease the strength of heart contractions and lower the heart rate.


With a normal dosage of rhubarb; its main effect is diarrhea, which is caused by the active ingredient, quinone. However, when rhubarb is used in small dosages, it will benefit the stomach and stop diarrhea.


According to some studies, small dosages of astragalus can lead to noticeable diuresis (excessive urination), however when larger dosages are used, it inhibits urination.

These examples illustrates that, by using different dosages, the ratio of active ingredients that work for dual modulation may change, resulting in different effects.

The body's adaptation mechanism can be enhanced with TCM medicinal substances

Recent studies show that certain Chinese herbs such as ginseng, acanthopanax, rhodiolae root and Ganoderma lucidum, can improve non-specific resistance to negative influences when the body encounters harmful stimulation. This is due to the drug's enhancement of the body's own "adaptation" mechanism.

This kind of non-specific resistance only works in special circumstances, such as when the body's immune resistance is low, under stress or when it has to do extra work. When the body is in normal health, therapeutic dosages of these herbs do not interfere with physiological functions or cause any adverse effects. Russian cosmonauts carried these kinds of Chinese medicines with them as health supplements during their voyage into space.

These and other Traditional Chinese practices all form part of TCM, each adding a little to the history and methodology of Acupuncture and Herbs. Seeing a practitioner that has a full knowledge of each herb, and is fully certified is important to get the best from any prescription.

Eca Brady is a fully licensed physician of Chinese Medicine BSc(Ac) MBAcC PGDip(CHM), practicing Acupuncture and Chinese Herbs from Harley Street, London. Make an appointment for an acupuncture or Herbs treatment and we can discuss how we can help you, to read more about Eca click here.

This article includes excerpts from the original article by Shennong

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