santa monica herbs

herbal medicine FAQ

Immediate Concerns:

Do herbs cause side effects?

The herbs hurt my stomach.

Everything is terrible and I fear for my life!

My child (or pet) got into my herbs!

Symptom Management:

My symptoms haven't gone away yet!

Some of my symptoms have gone away, but not all.

Some symptoms are better, others are worse.

All of my symptoms are gone, what now?

Other Concerns:

Eagle Herbs' Prognosis-O-Rama

I think you're a quack!

My question doesn't show up on this page.


Herbal Medicine Side Effects

Herbs aren't as strong as drugs so we don't often think in terms of side effects. However, if a misdiagnosis has been made or the percentages of ingredients in your herbal formula aren't quite right for you, new symptoms can arise or old symptoms can be aggravated.

On this page, I hope to answer some questions as to what you should do if problems arise after taking the herbs sent to you from Beyond Well Being.


Problem:

My stomach hurts after I take the herbs.

Solution:

Lower the dosage of your herbs. If you're taking five capsules, three times per day; take three capsules, five times per day. That way, you're still getting the right dosage, but we're making it a little bit easier on the stomach. Some of our herbs are difficult to digest, many are very easy to digest.

Also, be sure and drink a full eight ounces of water when you take your herbs. That way, when the capsules melt in your stomach, the powder will turn into a tea, rather than a sludge. That will help your stomach feel better too.

If this is the case, that the herbs hurt your stomach, be sure and bring this to the attention of the herbalist during your next consultation. We can add herbs to help prevent the heavy feeling in the stomach you can get with some formulas.


Problem:

Everything has gotten worse, and I fear for my life.

Solution:

If you're really feeling bad, go to the emergency room. Take matters into your own hands. MD's who are ignorant as to herbal medicines prescribed by a trained herbalist may point their stethoscope at your herbs and tell you that they are the cause of all your problems. Feel free to ignore that part. However, while under the care of an emergency physician, do what they say. The important thing is that if there is a life threatening problem that needs to be addressed right now, then by all means get help.

We'll sort out what caused the problem later. If you would like to give my phone number to your physician, I'd be happy to discuss your case with them as is appropriate with your written permission.


Problem:

My herbs didn't have any effect on my symptoms.

Solutions:

1) Try the Beyond Well Being herbs again.

Give it another month. Negative feedback is as important a diagnostic tool as positive feedback. In this case, it is simply a matter of writing a different formula to fine tune the herbal medicine.

Prescription refills with slight modifications are a very important part of the process. The refill price is $40 less for the second and each additional month. Reorder herbs here.

By the time people are talking to TCM practitioners through their computers, they've usually exhausted the possibilities in biomedicine or other more accessible therapies. This means that the problem has had more time to develop, become more fixed, deeper in your constitution and generally more complicated and difficult to treat.

Sometimes, you'll find symptoms that you may think completely unrelated to your chief complaint are improving. For instance, you may complain of insomnia and the only thing that has happened is that your menstruation has returned. Depending on what we're really trying to achieve, this may be a significant improvement and with a little more time, the insomnia that you're attempting to remove will be positively effected.

The bottom line is that sometimes we need to just keep going, especially if the symptoms are beginning to go away, even if they're not the symptoms for which you had originally sought out help. Our goal for you is health, not just the end of your symptoms. Seeing unrelated symptoms abating indicates that we're on our way.

For more information on how long this herbal medicine process is going to take for you, please see the Eagle Herbs Prognosis-O-Rama.

2) Take the herbs as directed.

It is important for you to give the herbs a chance to work. That means taking the herbs in the dosage and at the times that we've directed you to take them.

3) Stop engaging in unhealthy lifestyle choices.

During the telephone consultation, information such as obsession with one's appearance or substance abuses do not always get the attention that is needed. If there are things going on in your life that you don't like to talk about, it may be that one of these things is getting in the way of the efficacy of the herbs, or even causing the problem that the herbs are trying to treat. As long as you continue to cause the problem, the herbs will continue not to work.

Solution: Let's talk. If there is something that you absolutely don't want to talk about, that's a good sign of something that needs to be addressed. Perhaps not with your TCM practitioner specifically, but with someone. I'll let you decide who that person is.

4) Try another doctor and therapy.

Nothing works for everybody. Perhaps you're one of those who need a different kind of medicine.

The TCM diagnosis and prescription may be right on target, but for one reason or another, your body just doesn't like what's going on. I don't know why this happens, but there's a percentage of people who simply don't respond. Call it karma, call it destiny, call it the laws of nature.

Sometimes, it helps to look at pathologies as introduced into a person's life to present an opportunity for personal growth. Generally, when we lose something, we end up receiving something of equal value.

Other theories suggest that illness can provide you with things you might otherwise be unable to obtain. This could be anything from love and attention to a disability type insurance claim with a large settlement. If you profit from your illness in any fashion, you may have difficulty in letting go of your problem. There is more about this in the Prognosis-O-Rama.

Finally this: TCM says that yin and yang arise together. Among other things, this law states that in every blessing there is a hidden curse, and in every curse, there is a hidden blessing. If the herbs don't take away the curse, find the blessing instead


Problem:

Some of my symptoms have gone away, but not all of them.

Solution:

1) Stop complaining, you're doing great! : )

2) Try the Beyond Well Being herbs again.

Give it another month. The best thing that we can expect is to see change and if that is what we're seeing, then we should absolutely keep going.

Prescription refills with slight modifications are a very important part of the process. The refill price is $40 less for the second and each additional month. Reorder herbs here.

Some pathologies get better quickly, others get better slowly. To find out which are which, please see the Eagle Herbs Prognosis-O-Rama. The rule of thumb that we often use is that it takes one month of treatment for every year that you've had a pathology. So, if you'd had a problem for three years, expect about three months of treatment to fix the problem. Now, like I said that's just a rule of thumb, there are after all, four other fingers, all with their own rules.

To get a sense of how long this process will really take, look at the percentage of improvement you've seen during your first month of herbal therapy. If you've seen 33% improvement, then you'll likely be through with the therapy in two more months. If one month fixed one third of the problem, then two more months will likely fix the remaining two thirds.

Seeing improvement, even if it is small, is good news really, especially if this is a complex or otherwise stubborn pathology.

There is also an order in which symptoms tend to go away. The symptoms that were more recent is arising, tend to be the first to go away. Its like going back in time when we're unraveling a complicated disease process.

By the time people are talking to TCM practitioners through their computers, they've usually exhausted the possibilities in biomedicine or other more accessible therapies. This means that the problem has had more time to develop, become more fixed, deeper in your constitution and generally more complicated and difficult to treat.

Sometimes, you'll find symptoms that you may think completely unrelated to your chief complaint are improving too. For instance, you may complain of insomnia and the only thing that has happened is that your menstruation has returned. Depending on what we're really trying to achieve, this may be a significant improvement and with a little more time, the insomnia that you're attempting to remove will be positively effected.

The bottom line is that sometimes we need to just keep going, especially if the symptoms are beginning to go away, even if they're not the symptoms for which you had originally sought out help. Our goal for you is health, not just the end of your symptoms and seeing unrelated symptoms abating indicates that we're on our way.


Problem:

One problem has gotten better, but another problem has gotten worse.

Solution:

Many patients who arrive at Beyond Well Being have very complicated disorders with 18 different symptoms and three or four underlying pathologies. It can be difficult to create an herbal formula that fixes everything at once. Everything in your body is attached to everything else and so we do our best to unravel the knot in a very specific order.

What we tend to do is this: we attack the most superficial problem first. If you have one symptom that has been around for a month, and another that has been around for a year, it is traditionally considered a good idea to take care of the most recently arriving symptom first. The long term issues are addressed only after the more recent things have been removed or managed.

If both the recent and the long term issues arise from the same cause, you'll likely not be reading this, as both symptoms will get better, or the more recent one will go away and the chronic problem will not. Chronic issues do tend to take longer.

However, in some cases, you may have a recent problem of heat as in an infection, but the underlying chronic issue is cold in nature. To treat the heat, we have to give you cold herbs, but that aggravates the condition beneath which is cold in nature. This is where things get difficult. There are a variety of traditional formulas that do take this into account, but not everybody's pathology fits into a pattern that herbalists from the beginning of time have been treating, so we have to try new things sometimes. That may be what is going on here.

The solution is simple. Lower the dosage, and when you run out of herbs, be sure and explain to the herbalist what happened. Knowing which symptoms got better and knowing which symptoms got worse is very useful information to better understand your internal environment.

For more information on how long this herbal medicine process is going to take for you, please see the Eagle Herbs Prognosis-O-Rama.

Prescription refills with slight modifications are a very important part of the process. The refill price is $40 less for the second and each additional month. Reorder herbs here.


Problem:

All of my symptoms are gone, what now?

Solution:

Let's talk and make sure that the underlying cause has been managed as well as the symptoms. Sometimes we keep going with the herbs for another month after the symptoms are gone to insure that the problem doesn't return. This really depends on the problem that we're treating and its cause. Sometimes when the symptoms are gone, so is the cause. Sometimes that isn't the case.


My child (or pet) got into my herbs and ate a bunch of them.

Solution:

Most of the herbal medicines that are used are really rather benign and require more than one dosage to have much of an effect. However, if you're overweight and run cold, chances are you've been given some hot stimulating herbs and that might mess with your hyperactive two year old or shitzu a bit.

If they develop any symptoms such as a high fever, take them to the E.R., beyond that, there is likely not much that's going to happen. Worse case scenario, you might see some throwing up or some diarrhea in a few hours.

Again, should the need arise, we'd be happy to provide your local ER physician with whatever information is needed, with your written permission.


Problem:

I think you're a quack.

Solution:

Send duck feed to the Star Eco Station c/o http://www.ecostation.org

Funny story: While a student at Emperor's College, I brought a stuffed duck into school and attempted to establish the duck as the school mascot. I wanted us to be known as the Emperor's College quacks.

The concept didn't fly. : (


Problem:

My question wasn't addressed on this page!

Solution:

Contact the Herbal Guy


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