How Long Do Chinese Herbs Take To Work?

When it comes to treating aches and pains, many of us are prepared to try anything.

How Long Do Chinese Herbs Take To Work?

Whether it’s a cold that makes breathing through your nose next to impossible, low-level back pain or fatigue, or even chronic conditions like arthritis, pain or discomfort like this can make even the most basic tasks feel impossible to accomplish.

So, of course, people are going to try different solutions to help cope with this problem.

And while we would probably recommend seeing a trained health professional first, that shouldn’t stop you from looking elsewhere for extra advice to help alleviate these health problems.

One of the most popular methods of treating aches and pains like this is Traditional Chinese Medicines (TCMs) and Chinese herbal remedies. Especially in the last 50 to 60 years, when the popularity of these treatments has skyrocketed across the world.

However, like with any kind of treatment, the proof is in the results. And most people will expect these medicines to start treating their pain at some point.

In this guide, we explain how long that time is!

How Long Before Chinese Herbs Start Having Any Effects?

So, let’s get to the main question that you clicked on to this guide for: How long can you expect these remedies to take to start working?

Well, that generally depends on the type of pain or effect that you’re looking to treat with Chinese herbs.

Illness/Short-Term Pain

If you’re looking to use Chinese herbs (see also: Best Chinese Herbs For Inflammation In The Body)to treat short-term issues or illnesses, such as flu, or injuries you’ve sustained, then the results are usually pretty easy to see.

If you’re taking something to help clear inflamed sinuses or relieve immediate pain, you should also start to see results for that treatment pretty quickly too, within a few hours, at most.

Chronic Pain/Discomfort 

If you’re looking to use Chinese Herbs to help treat chronic pain that you’ve had for a while, this is where things can get a little more difficult.

Taking herbal remedies for long-term pain usually involves taking that medicine regularly over some time, in the same way, that you would with traditional Western medication. This can take anywhere from 1 week to up to 3 weeks to 

If the pain continues after this period or has got worse, then you should consult a doctor or other health professional to inspect your issue. Whatever it is, if it hasn’t gone away by this point, there’s a good chance that there is an underlying health issue at play.

Traditional Chinese Medicine Theory

TCM and Chinese medicine are considered very different types of medical treatment from Western practices, largely due to the philosophy and approach behind them.

In Western medicine, pain and other ailments are often treated (see also: Can Meditation Be Used To Treat Pelvic Pain?)by examining the parts of the body that are suffering, and then trying to establish potential solutions to the problem.

It’s incredibly thorough, but it also means that it’s highly reactive, and isolates treatment to just one part.

Meanwhile, TCM treats the whole body as interconnected pathways of energy, known as Qi.

Qi must be balanced within the body between yin and yang for the body to remain healthy. When it becomes unbalanced, whether it’s through stress, overworking, or other causes.

Because of this, solutions to maladies through TCM are meant to aid and assist the entire body in healing, rather than just one area, which can yield some surprising 

Not only that, but TCM also encourage lifestyle choices that are designed to help keep you fitter and healthier for longer, making it a preventative way of treating health issues too. 

Practising tai chi, and incorporating some Chinese herbs into your regular diet are both low-risk additions to a routine and simple and easy enough to keep up over a longer period before they become routine themselves.

Issues Using Traditional Chinese Medicine & Herbs

How Long Do Chinese Herbs Take To Work?

However, despite the praise that we’ve given TCM so far, it isn’t a perfect solution. All forms of health treatment come with risks and issues, and Chinese herbs and remedies are no different.

Hard To Quantify

One of the most difficult things that can be difficult to understand or come to grips with in TCM is how hard it is to quantify the results of treatment.

Western medicine establishes both cause and effect and the success of different treatments through the scientific method, meaning that you can prove, both from personal experience, and statistical and scientific analysis, that treatment is or isn’t working.

While the Western model has other issues, this is also one of its greatest strengths.

Meanwhile, TCM, with its spiritual approach to treating issues, is difficult to analyse and demonstrate the effects of, by its very nature.

As a result, it can be hard to tell whether or not a treatment has worked because of the herbal remedies (see also: Herbal Remedies For Anxiety – 10 Calming Options That Will Work)that you have added to your daily routine, or simply through a placebo effect.

As an example, if you have flu, and you start taking ginger-based herbal tea to help treat it, there is a good chance that you might attribute the flu disappearing after a week to the herbal remedy at least a little.

But if the symptoms were unlikely to last past that long anyway, how much did that remedy help?

That’s not to discredit Chinese herbal remedies altogether. It’s just something that you’ll need to keep in mind when looking for TCM treatment.

Quality Control Of Dangerous Substances

This is particularly an issue with herbal remedies that have been purchased from poor-quality sources.

Many lower-quality Chinese herbs contain trace elements of toxic minerals and compounds, such as arsenic or even lead.

And given that the control and regulations on Chinese herbal remedies are much lower than Western medicines, quality control of these remedies is very difficult to gauge.

So, if you are going to purchase herbal remedies to treat problems, make sure that you can trust your seller!

Can You Take Too Much Chinese Herbal Medicine?

Overdosing on herbal remedies is just as much possible as overdosing on a prescription given to you by your doctor.

Given that some Chinese herbs can contain toxins that build up if taken in too many quantities, you should avoid taking more than you need to.

Final Notes – Are Chinese Herbs Good/Safe For You?

So, in the end, what are our thoughts on Chinese herbal treatments? Do they work well and fast enough? Are they safe for you to use?

Well, Chinese herbs (see also: Best Chinese Herbs For Heart Health)certainly have a role to play when it comes to self-medication and treatment. They can help speed up the healing process or alleviate long-term issues in the right amount.

Generally speaking, if you’re getting your Chinese herbal remedies from reputable sources, such as pharmacies, or qualified TCM practitioners, then the worst that many herbal treatments will do is nothing at all, so it’s worth a chance.

But make sure to watch out for poor-quality herbs, which can be dangerous.

In short, if you’re looking for a long-term plan to help treat pain and illnesses, incorporating Chinese herbal medicine and practices with Western medical advice might be the best way to see get the best effects for treating that bad back that you’ve had for a few weeks or months.

After all, if it’s not going to hurt you, don’t knock it until you try it!

Clare McAfee
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