Lana Farson, M.S., L.Ac., Licensed Acupuncturist and Herbalist
Herbal Medicine

Herbs That Are Commonly Used
Aloe
Barley
Burdock
Cardamon
Chives
Cloves
Dandelion
Dates
Dragon Eye Fruit
Fennel
Flax Seed
Frankincense
Garlic
Ginger
Ginseng
Gouji Berry
Hawthorn Berry
Honey
Kudzu
Licorice
Lotus
Luffah
Mint
Mulberries
Mung Beans
Mushrooms
Mustard Seed
Myrrh
Onion
Orange Peel
Pepper
Pumpkin Seeds
Quince
Radish Seed
Rhubarb
Seaweed
Sesame Seeds
Sour Plum
Tumeric
Yams

 

Flowers That Have Medicinal Value
Chrysanthemum
Gardenia
Honeysuckle
Lilly
Orchid
Peony
Safflower

Herbs pictured here: burdock root, mint, liquid amber seeds, tumeric & gardenia seeds.

The origins of Oriental Herbal Medicine date back to the Han dynasty in China (206BC - 220AD).  Since that time, for over 2000 years, this knowledge has been preserved and built upon, to the point that Oriental Herbal Medicine is now extremely complex and advanced. 

Herbal medicine draws on hundreds of traditional botanicals to tailor medicines for each individual and specific condition, as no general formula is good for everyone.

The dose of each herb is carefully considered based on the person’s body weight, state of energy (“Qi”) and the strength of the imbalance. Herbs commonly come in the form of teas, powders, pills, tinctures, external plasters and even soup broths.

These are important adjuncts to other forms of treatment in Eastern Medicine. For example longevity herbs such as mulberries, gouji berries, lotus seeds, and mushrooms can provide support to the body in between acupuncture visits.

Tasty vegetarian or chicken broth
is prepared using medicinal herbs.
Pictured here are lotus root, shiitake mushroom, black wood ear mushroom, gou ji berries, white wood ear mushroom, lotus seeds & kombu seaweed.

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Self-Treatment

Herbal Medicine is powerful medicine, therefore it is advised that you check in with a trained herbalist before self-treating.  It is unwise to use herbal medicine haphazardly, based on random advice that has not considered the whole picture.  I myself had made this mistake as a teenager when I was taking Chinese ginseng because I had heard it was a good remedy.  I didn’t realize that it was warming and that I needed neutral or cooling herbs at that time.  I thought that it was just an herb and couldn’t hurt me, but ended up exacerbating my condition and entire pattern, making my situation more complex.

I do think that with careful study and guidance it is possible become a lay-herbalist to support one’s own health.  If interested, click here for a list of class topics.

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Herb Quality

Since 1995, I’ve sourced out the best quality herbs that I can find.  I look for and choose local, premium, organic, wild-crafted, tested and sulphur-free herbs, although these are not always possible to find.

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Herb Bottles

Herb Bottles — Reusing and Recycling

If you have finished your herbs, you can wash out your bottle (or run it through the dishwasher) and reuse it for a refill of your prescription.

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Plants and sustainability of the planet

Choosing herbal medicine is a personal investment in the future of our bodies as well as the planet.  Plants make the earth sustainable because growing them converts carbon dioxide into oxygen.  As we support plant medicine, we support the sustainability of the planet.

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Ways to Use Herbal Medicine

Infusions
Decoctions
Powders
Granules
Tinctures (with alcohol)
Glycerites (without alcohol)
Pills / Tablets / Capsules
Medicinal Wines
Syrups
Injection
Suppository or Pessary
Enema or Douche
Topical plasters
Creams
Lip balms
Moxibustion
Linements
Salves
Soaks
Compress
Poultice
Inhailed aromatherapy
Breathing steam
Ear seeds

Cooking Herbs

Herbal Teas, also called decoctions, are made by placing an herbal formula into a pot and adding water to cover the herbs by about an inch.  The mixture is boiled for 20-40 minutes (depending on the herbs) and then strained.

Medicine cooking pot with herbal formula.
Pictured herbs include ginseng, red dates, angelica, cinnamon, foxglove, ginger & poria.

For Directions on Making Herbs, Download the Following PDFs.
Simple Decoction
Decoction with pre-cooking
Decoction with post-cooking
Decoction with pre-cooking & post-cooking
Herbal Steam

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Important Notes About Taking Herbs

Some herbal formulas may not be appropriate to take if you are catching a cold. If you feel you are catching a cold, call or email to discuss your symptoms and find out if it is appropriate to continue taking your current formula. For example, if you were originally taking strengthening herbs, such as ginseng or many others, the formula may need to be modified if a cold comes on so that the strengthening herbs do not accidentally strengthen the cold.

A little queasiness is not unusual when first getting used to the taste of herbs, but new symptoms may require modification of your formula. Please call or email with any questions.

If you have difficulty adjusting to the taste of your herbs, try swallowing them while holding your nose. It is also acceptable to clear the palette with a few raisins or juice after drinking your herbs.

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Local Markets That carry Herbs

Health Food Stores

Berkeley Bowl
2020 Oregon Street
Berkeley, CA
510-843-6929

Open Sesame
983 Moraga Road
Lafayette, CA  94549
(925) 283-2207

Whole Foods
1333 Newell Ave
Walnut Creek, CA
925-274-9700

East Bay Asian Markets

Country Square Market
510 Contra Costa Blvd.
Pleasant Hill, CA
925-685-8839

Golden Bay Market
1827 Willow Pass Road
Concord, CA
925-681-2468

Le Asia Market
9100 Alcosta Blvd.
San Ramon, CA  
925-560-9699

Ranch 99
1795 Willow Pass Road
Concord, CA 94520-2650
925-798-8899

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