Here at Scarsdale Acupuncture, we truly value our relationships with our patients. We know you have a choice when it comes to your healthcare and are honored that you continue to choose us to serve your needs. We think everyone deserves optimal health and wellness. It is with this in mind that we want to update you on our practices and protocols regarding Chinese herbal medicine.

Herbal medicine has always been a foundation of Chinese medicine and most of the prescribed formulas used today are the same ones developed centuries ago. This tradition certainly speaks to the safety and efficacy of their continued use when prescribed by a licensed herbalist.  Today Chinese herbs are being used more and more in U.S. clinics and hospitals. As a result of this expansion there is now a depth of information on these herbs made available to both practitioners and the general public. Numerous articles and research done on many of the herbs in our pharmacopeia outline their uses, side effects, contraindications and their interactions with other herbs and medications.

Since Chinese herbs are not under the jurisdiction of the FDA, anyone without a license or education can get access to them, thus leading to improper dosage or overuse. This resulted in certain herbs (like Ma Huang / Ephedra) being banned in the U.S. even though they are entirely safe and very effective when prescribed by a licensed herbalist. It is up to us as practitioners to stay informed on these latest developments regarding Chinese herbal medicines and their safety in our clinic.

What is Scarsdale Acupuncture doing to maintain safety and efficacy of Chinese herbal medicine?

We have always and will continue to source our Chinese herbs, both raw and patent formulas, from growers and distributors who show due diligence in their production standards. That means that all of our suppliers do third party GC-MS testing on every batch of herbs for metals, pesticides, fillers and other contaminants to ensure the components are pure herbs and nothing else. We are board-certified in Chinese herbal medicine which means we had to pass a national board exam after 4 years of rigorous study in both single herbs and their corresponding formulas. In addition, we regularly recertify our status by continuing education courses throughout our professional careers to stay up to date on the latest research, herb/drug interactions, and any changes that affect the dispensing of Chinese herbs. We continue to ask questions and do research regarding the latest news, what’s available to us, what’s been discontinued, and anything that shows promise for challenging disease states. Keep in mind this information is constantly changing on a daily basis with some unfortunately incorrect information being filtered down as well. While we may not find out everything all at once, we certainly strive to meet the demands in an ever-changing industry.

What can I do to get the full benefit from Chinese herbs?

Only take herbs from a licensed herbalist. Not all acupuncturists, chiropractors, nutritionists or doctors are licensed in Chinese herbal medicine. Therefore, they may not know the full scope of this medicine nor are they aware of the various nuances. As a licensed acupuncturists and herbalists, we would never even try to prescribe Western pharmaceuticals to you; we would refer you to a licensed MD instead. Please tell your practitioner any and all medications/supplements you take and any changes to this regimen. While there are only a handful of Chinese herbs that require caution with certain medications, it is important for your practitioner to know what you are taking in order to avoid any unwanted side effects. Ask questions. That’s what we are here for, we are happy to explain and discuss all protocols with you and let you know your options.

We hope this information helps you make informed decisions when it comes to your health. We encourage you to reach out to us when you have questions or concerns. We look forward to hearing your feedback.