Traditional Chinese Veterinary Medicine (TCVM) is an ancient Chinese system of medicine that relates the philosophies of vital life energy, or life force (Qi), and Yin/Yang to the presence of wellness or illness. Ancient Chinese healing systems are built on the premise that enhancing and fixing Qi is the path to preventing and curing disease.

Mortar and Pestle with Chinese herbsHealth is present when Qi flows well through the body and there is balance between the Yin and Yang. Qi circulates in all forms of matter (animate and inanimate) and is the essential force that sustains life. When this balance is disrupted, health gives way to disease. Herbal medicine refers to the use of plant, animal, and mineral substances for restoring or manipulating the flow of Qi throughout the body.

There are more than 25,000 documented Chinese herbal formulas, used alone or in combination, to treat a wide array of disease states. The use of herbs (in a carefully prescribed, prepared, and administered manner) will correct excess or deficiency and ultimately restore the flow of Qi and balance the Yin/Yang within the body, restoring the body to its healthy state.

In Asia, Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM) has been in practice for over 5,000 years (and TCVM has been developed over 3,500 years), during which an extensive amount of research has been documented. The ancient Chinese were excellent at observing the interrelationships between living things and the environment, and they used their observations to build upon and continually test and reformulate herbal remedies. Throughout the years, they have produced a system based on scientific observation with deep roots in philosophy that has withstood the test of time.

Throughout the past 5,000 years of observation and testing, certain herbal formulations have been shown to have particular influences on specific organs. Chinese medicine has been used for thousands of years to treat almost every disorder and disease. Often the names of these herbal formulas sound strange to those unfamiliar with Chinese medicine, because they are often named in reference to the medical conditions they treat, such as "Ear Damp Heat," "Great Corydalis," and "Happy Liver."

The Traditional Chinese Veterinary Medicine practitioner will formulate unique prescriptions of herbal medicine according to the symptoms of the patient as well as the individual characteristics of the patient themselves. Each formulation contains a primary herb, several assistant and ancillary herbs, and a carrier herb that is responsible for directing the formulation to where it is needed.

While generally safe, herbal preparations are very potent and there can be contraindications. For example, some herbs may interact with others causing toxicity, undesirable side effects, or decreasing the overall effectiveness. Therefore, it is essential to consult reliable practitioners who have experience in prescribing herbal medicine, and to administer formulations exactly as they are prescribed.