Chinese herbal medicine

What is it?

Chinese herbs are a key part of traditional Chinese medicine (TCM)

Different parts of plants, such as the leaves, roots, stems, flowers and seeds, are used. Herbs may be taken as tablets or given as tea.

Why use it?

Herbs are given to unblock meridians, bring harmony between Yin and Yang, and restore organ function.

What to expect?

The practitioner will take a case history and may do a tongue and pulse analysis to help them assess how your body is out of balance. They will choose a combination of herbs and foods to help bring your body back into balance.

Chinese herbalists make a formula tailored specifically to your condition, or they can dispense prepackaged herbal medicines. 

What is the evidence?

As with Western herbal medicine, many Chinese herbs have been scientifically evaluated for how well they work for people with cancer.

Studies have found benefits for some herbs, such as American ginseng for cancer-related fatigue. Research is continuing to examine the benefits of different herbs and different herbal combinations.

Chinese herbal medicine is a complex area and it’s best to see an experienced practitioner rather than trying to treat yourself. Some herbs may interact with some cancer treatments and medicines, and cause side effects.

    − Esther (breast cancer)


This information was last reviewed in May 2018
View who reviewed this content
View our editorial policy

Support services

Coping with cancer?
Speak to a health professional or to someone who has been there, or find a support group or forum

Looking for transport, accommodation or home help?
Practical advice and support during and after treatment

Cancer information

What is cancer?
How cancer starts and spreads

Dealing with the diagnosis
Common reactions to a cancer diagnosis and how to find hope

View our publications
Guides and fact sheets for people with cancer, their families and friends

SHARE
TOP BACK TO TOP