Chinese Herbal Medicine is the most commonly used therapy in TCM; in China approximately 80% of all medical patients are treated with herbs, while only 20% are treated with acupuncture or other manual therapies.
The herbs are always taken in carefully designed formulas, which aim at a specific treatment goal. Each formula contains herbs that perform the primary actions needed, plus other herbs to take the formula to the area of the body we want to treat, herbs that harmonize the entire formula, and herbs to reduce any potential toxicity. It is not advisable to take individual herbs unless prescribed by a practitioner who is trained in chinese herbology.
The herbs that I use in my practice come from Taiwan rather than mainland China, because quality is reliable and the companies are very careful to test the herbs that come in for contamination. Several herbs that have been shown to be toxic are banned from importation into the US. Federal law prohibits the inclusion of endangered species or pharmaceutical drugs in any formula.
Most often, I dispense herbs as extract powders which are a very potent form of the herbs and which allow for easy administration in food, in a tasty treat (such a babyfood, canned pumpkin, applesauce, honey etc), by syringe mixed with baby food or something the pet likes, or by placing into a capsule. For a few animals, I use teapills, small round pills that are easy to administer.