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Arranging a treatment

As there are currently no restrictions to prevent unqualified people setting themselves up as Chinese herbalists, it is important that you verify the qualifications of a prospective practitioner.  Members of the Register of Chinese Herbal Medicine have satisfied strict criteria as to their  training and qualifications.  In this way you can be more certain that you will receive treatment by a properly trained and qualified practitioner, who is governed by a strict code of ethics and practice and covered by full liability insurance.


Safety of herbal treatment Herbal treatment is very safe, providing the treatments are prescribed by a trained practitioner.  It is the advice of the Register of Chinese Herbal Medicine (RCHM) to buy preparations only on prescription. This even includes, for example one of the better known herbs, ginseng.  The practice of traditional medicine requires years of knowledge, expertise and experience.  The patient is advised, as a safety precaution, to have liver function tests before, during and after a course of treatment.  This is to allay any concern regarding herbal toxicity and also to help us as a profession to build up clinical evidence to vouch for the safety of Chinese herbal medicine. Liver function tests are available for a small fee.

Informing your doctor It is recommended that you inform your doctor that they are seeing a practitioner of Chinese herbal medicine.  If you consent your practitioner can also send a letter informing their G.P. of the herbal treatment.  Your practitioner will ask for details of any other medicines that you are taking. 

Normally there should be no reaction between Chinese herbs and Western medication.  However, it is recommended that a time difference is maintained between taking the two types of medications.  You should not cease taking medication prescribed by the doctor, unless specifically advised to do so.