Chinese Herbal Medicine

The Master’s in Science of Oriental Medicine (MSOM) degree is a 3-year full-time degree studying different aspects of the ancient art of Chinese Medicine. The study includes the vast world of Chinese herbs, acupuncture, Qi gong, Chinese philosophy, food therapies and some Chinese language. Chinese medicine has been used for thousands of years for healing.

Traditional Chinese medicine (TCM) originated in ancient China and has evolved over thousands of years. TCM practitioners use herbs, acupuncture, and other methods to treat a wide range of conditions. In the United States, TCM is considered part of complementary and alternative medicine (CAM). This fact sheet provides a general overview of TCM and suggests sources for additional information.

Key Points

  • Herbal remedies and acupuncture are the treatments most commonly used by TCM practitioners. Other TCM practices include moxibustion, cupping, massage, mind-body therapy, and dietary therapy.
  • The TCM view of how the human body works, what causes illness, and how to treat illness is different from Western medicine concepts. Although TCM is used by the American public, scientific evidence of its effectiveness is, for the most part, limited. Acupuncture has the largest body of evidence and is considered safe if practiced correctly. Some Chinese herbal remedies may be safe, but others may not be.
  • TCM is typically delivered by a practitioner. Before using TCM, ask about the practitioner’s qualifications, including training and licensure.
  • Tell all your health care providers about any complementary and alternative practices you use. Give them a full picture of what you do to manage your health. This will help ensure coordinated and safe care.