Chinese Medicine Division

Pamphlet

Adverse Effects of Misusing Herbal Tonics

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Adverse Effects of Misusing Herbal Tonics

Herbal tonics are claimed to have the functions of health preservation and delaying ageing through strengthening body constitution and resistance. Are herbal tonics beneficial to health? Is it true that "the more tonics you take, the stronger you will be"?

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Health and disease

•In Chinese medicine, health is preserved when a dynamic and harmonious balance is maintained among the interior parts of the body and between the body and the external environment, when the physiological and psychological functions are being normal. This is called "yin and yang in equilibrium" in Chinese medicine.

•When the human body is affected by pathogenic factors, the harmonious states among the interior parts of the body and between the body and the external environment will be disrupted. Diseases may then occur easily.

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As the pathogenic factors weaken the body's resistance, adaptability to the external environment and rehabilitation ability, symptoms of deficiency state nay emerge.

•Proper use of the right kind of herbal tonics can restore various deficiency states according to their natures and locations. However, wrong assessment of the deficiency state, or the nature and the location of the deficiency state, leading to inappropriate use of herbal tonics is hazardous to one's health.

(Abusing herbal tonics is not beneficial but hazardous to your health!)

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Use of herbal tonics based on differentiation of syndrome

•In Chinese medicine, differentiation of syndrome based on professional assessment is emphasized when taking herbal tonics. One should first consult a Chinese medicine practitioner to determine the presence or otherwise of any deficiency state and for the location and nature of the deficiency before taking any herbal tonics.

•One should also know whether the herbal tonics selected are appropriate for one's own condition. Use of herbal tonics without professional supervision is dangerous and should be avoided.

(Taking herbal tonics based on differentiation of syndrome)

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Treatment for deficiencies

•The deficiency state can be divided into yang deficiency and yin deficiency. For example, patients of yang deficiency should take Radix Ginseng and Cornu Cervi Pantotrichum which help replenish yang and qi.

Symptoms of yang deficiency:

tiredness, fatigue

pale lip and complexion

weak voice

shortness of breath, excess sweat

poor appetite

cold limbs and back, fondness of warmth, modest oedema

clear and copious urine

loose stool, etc.

•A stomach-yin deficiency should be treated with unprocessed Radix Rehmanniae and Radix Ophiopogonis, etc. to replenish the fluid in stomach.

Symptoms of yin deficiency:

Stomach discomfort as if something is blocking it, agitation

feeling hungry but have no appetite, hiccup

dry mouth and throat

red tongue

dry and hard stool, etc.

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•If there is no yang deficiency, consumption of large amount of Radix Ginseng and Cornu Cervi Pantotrichum over a prolonged period of time may cause discomfort or harm to the body.

Don't take large amount of herbal tonics replenishing yang over a prolonged period of time. Otherwise, it may cause:

restlessness chest discomfort

palpitation, insomnia

dry throat and tongue

nosebleed

constipation, etc.

•If there is no yin deficiency, reckless consumption of large amount of unprocessed Radix Rehmanniae and Radix Ophiopogonis to replenish yin may cause discomfort or harm to the body.

Don't take large amount of herbal tonics replenishing yin over a long period of time. Otherwise, it may cause:

loss of appetite

abdominal distention

diarrhoea, etc.

Chinese Medicine Division of the Department of Health Enquiry Hotline: 25749999

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