A: The Chinese Medical System is one of the oldest holistic paradigms of health in the world. It is based on the observations of ancient Taoist philosophers watching the effects of human health in relationship to the seasons, the aging process, and one's environment. Traditional Chinese Medicine includes a simple style of living centered on moderation and attunement to natural cycles as the key to a long and harmonious life. This system of medicine focuses on preventing disease as well as curing it, and it comprised of a variety of modalities such as herbal medicine, moxibustion, cupping, Qigong, Tui Na acupressure massage and dietary therapy.
In Western herbology, herbs are used according to their reputed health benefits without necessarily referring to a complex syndrome to be treated, or to an integration of herbal properties within a formula. Chinese herbalists have sought out special tonic herbs that can be taken daily in combinations for improvement of physical condition, enhancement of energy, increase in disease resistance, and prolongation of life.
A: Traditionally, Chinese herbs were often taken either in decoction (a tea made by simmering raw herbs for at least 45 minutes) or as a coarse powder. Today, patients also have the option of using Chinese herbs in the form of concentrated granular extracts that can be quickly dissolved in water (similar to instant coffee).
We recommend brewing a tea from raw herbs when patients desire quick-acting results for acute conditions like the flu, colds, or infections, or for very serious conditions. Granulated extracts are more convenient than brewing a tea from raw herbs, and do not have as strong a taste.
Chinese herbs can also be taken in the form of capsules or tea pills.
A: The most common method of taking Chinese herbs is as a decoction or tea made from raw herbs (roots, barks, stems, etc.). This involves boiling the herbs for at least an hour and fifteen minutes. The ideal pot to use is a Chinese Herb Pot, but a glass, pottery, enamel, or stainless steel pot is fine also. Do not use a pot made of iron, aluminum, copper, or a pot that is Teflon coated. You will also need a glass bottle to hold the tea, a wooden spoon, and a tea strainer. Only one package of herbs will be boiled at a time. One package of herbs usually consists of one bag of herbs, which may contain a second or third bag of leaves and/or flowers.
Making a decoction or tea involves covering the Chinese herbs with water and boiling them twice. To make the tea, you will boil your herbs once for 45 minutes, strain them, and pour the liquid into a glass jar. Then, you will boil the herbs a second time for 30 minutes, using fresh water. After straining the herbs a second time, the liquid from the second boiling will be added to the glass jar with the liquid from the first boiling. This is what you will drink.
Please note that these are only general guidelines for boiling Chinese herbs. Certain herbs require different methods of decoction and each patient is different. If you are prescribed raw Chinese herbs, you will be given instructions that are specific to your formula.
IMPORTANT: Do not add honey, sugar, any artificial or natural sweeteners, or anything else to the herbs. If you find the taste of the herbs unpleasant, you may suck on a lozenge after drinking the tea. While drinking the tea, please sit down and relax. After finishing, rest and conserve your energy for 5 to 15 minutes. Try to keep still and calm and do not engage in any activities that demand a great expenditure of energy right after drinking the tea. This will allow the herbs to be of greater benefit to you.
A: The 5:1 concentrated herbal powders at the Green Lake Healing Center are some of the finest extract powders available today. The crude herbs are carefully selected, cooked into a tea according to traditional methods, and then spray-dried at reduced temperatures to produce tiny granules. Compared to the original herbal materials, the extracts are about five times as concentrated.
Granulated herb powders will dissolve in hot water like instant coffee. To take the granules, stir the recommended dosage into 4 fl. oz. of hot water, let sit for a few minutes, then drink down. Preferably, the herbs should be taken on an empty stomach, either 20-30 minutes before meals or at least an hour afterwards.
A: The price of Chinese herbs varies greatly from formula to formula, but the tonic herbs, which are the most important and unique feature pf this herbal system, tend to be expensive. Since such ingredients are included in most of the formulations, the product price may be relatively high. However, they are very cost effective. The average consumer can obtain many benefits. Compare this with the amount most people are willing to spend on unhealthy practices (such as cigarette smoking) and it is easily seen that Chinese herbs are not expensive.
A: With the recent rise in alarming reports regarding Chinese imports, some patients may wonder if Chinese herbal medicines are at risk. Questions might arise, specifically, regarding the possibility of pesticide, radiation, and heavy metals contamination (e.g. lead) and the oversight regarding the cultivation, harvesting, and processing of natural materials used in Chinese herbal formulas. We choose American distributors of Chinese herbal medicines who comply with the stringent Chinese Good Manufacturing Practices (GMP). GMP certification means that the site and methods employed in the production of products have been subject to a thorough quality control investigation. All aspects of the manufacturing facility are taken into account with this certification process, including inspection of the building and grounds, the air and water purification systems, the handling and processing of raw herbs, the operation and cleaning of equipment, the training of personnel, and quality control testing and documentation. Each product is licensed, as drugs are here in the U.S., and manufactured according to official Chinese Pharmacopoeia guidelines or other government-sanctioned references. In addition, our distributors use third-party laboratories for verification testing of heavy metals, pesticides, and other contaminants.
A: We require 24 hours notice if you are unable to keep your appointment. This means that if your appointment is at 10 a.m. on Thursday, we should hear from you no later than 10 a.m. on Wednesday. Though we make a courtesy call the day before your appointment to remind you, we ask that you be responsible for your own schedule.
Our charge for "no-shows" or cancelled appointments that don't meet the 24-hour deadline is the full appointment fee of $85. Exceptions for medical emergencies, car breakdowns, or snow and ice storms are of course granted. It is necessary for us to enforce this policy in order to serve all of our patients fairly and effectively. Our appointment book is often full 4 weeks in advance and our waiting list can get quite extensive. A last-minute cancellation generally means that we are unable to fill the appointment, resulting in a loss for us as well as for those patients on our waiting list.
A: Our office hours are: Monday - Friday 9 am - 5:00 pm. If necessary, after-hours pick-ups are available Sunday - Saturday, 8 am - 8 pm. Please make checks out to “Paul Olko.” There is a pick-up box available for after-hours pickup of herbs. Please call 434-973-1700 if you wish to pick up your herbs after office hours.
When picking up your herbs, please park towards the back of the house and enter through the sliding glass doors (downstairs). Walk right in. If the door is locked, please look in the pick-up box outside the door. We have a payment envelope for you to leave your payment (cash or check made to Paul Olko) located in the pick-up box.