FC: What are some profound results you’ve seen personally or with patients through the practice of TCM?
MTD: I have seen miracles through the practice of TCM. I have seen people walk normally after an acupuncture treatment who initially came in with the assistance of a cane and a pain level of 9 out of 10. With herbs, I have seen liver enzymes go from dangerous levels to normal levels in a period of a few months.
One particular case however really left an impression with me:
Brenda Bowman from Texas became a patient of ours in 1996. She was diagnosed with breast cancer at the age of 42. The cancer had spread to her lungs and she was told that her prognosis did not look good. The doctor said she had roughly 6 months of healthy days left to spend with her family, her husband and two children. Brenda came to the Dao’s family clinic after her doctor’s announcement at MD Anderson Cancer Center.
We immediately customized an herbal formula for her to use everyday. The cancer never went away, but it had stopped growing according to the MRI results she shared with us every six months. Brenda continued to live for the next 18 years after the prognosis and passed away in the fall of 2014. Her husband and children were grateful for this miracle of an extra 18 years to spend with her. This is the miracle of Traditional Chinese Medicine.
The most gratifying thing for me as a practitioner is that I get to help people have another chance to spend more time with their family. I truly enjoy watching people consistently achieve a better quality of life with our herbs.
FC: Common misconceptions to the practice of TCM abound, what are a few you’d like to clear up?
MTD: The most common misconception of TCM is that it is folklore and doesn’t work. We live in a climate where large drug company-funded studies dominate the market, and up until now, that is what has driven the western consumer. TCM hasn’t yet been publicized heavily in the West and that keeps people from utilizing it because they are unaware.
The reality is that there are literally thousands of years of clinical and anecdotal evidence out there supporting the efficacy of TCM. There are entire major hospitals in China where TCM is the exclusive and only form of treatment.
This is one of our biggest goals at Eastern Botanicals: to educate the western consumer on the history, functionality and efficacy of TCM. People are looking for natural medicinal alternatives, and we want to help them learn enough to trust those alternatives.
Herbal medicine is a gathering of plants, fruits, berries, seeds and roots, boiled together with fresh water. It can then be consumed like tea, or extracted into granule form for capsules. Herbs can help alleviate symptoms of a vast number of illnesses, build immunity defense and also act as preventative medicine. They are gathered from natural environments and are kept in their natural state until they’re ready to be consumed. They have potent healing properties with very little to no side effects. Herbs can be taken long term to promote longevity and overall vitality.
It should be noted that a typical herbal formula contains 10 or even 20 different herbs. Sometimes more. So it is absolutely crucial that the herbal doctor understands the precise ratios of each herb to be used. Once again, it is all about finding the perfect herbal balance to create the perfect balance in the body and mind.
Regarding acupuncture, the most common question is “Do the needles hurt? And do they really work?
Acupuncture needles rarely hurt because they are thinner than a strand of hair. With the proper training and skillful technique of the acupuncturist, one can come out of treatment pain free and relaxed without any worry about the needles. Acupuncture activates certain energy pockets in the body and stimulates the release of endorphin and serotonin (chemicals in the brain), delivering therapeutic effects to the patient.
FC: Every herb grows best in certain regions and affects the end quality, tell us about your products and how you select and source your ingredients.
MTD: It starts with selecting the right herbs and ratios, which is a process we have perfected over four generations of family practice. This is the most crucial step, as only the optimal balance of herbs can create ideal effects in the body and mind.
The next step is sourcing. Because each herb grows best in certain very specific regions and conditions, our manufacturing team takes great pride in their stringent standards of farming and manufacturing practice. Overseen by a team of PhDs, all of our farms are fully contracted and grow exclusively for us, so the crop is guaranteed to meet our extreme standards. We also use a number of scientific processes to guarantee correct species and quality.
From the farm, we use the highest quality technology and scientific personnel in the decoction and extraction process to ensure maximum herb medicinal efficacy and batch-to-batch consistency. Each production batch has a Certificate of Analysis, batch record, and lot number, creating a complete and clear link from finished product back to raw herb sample lot and supply farm.
Finally, manufacturing and packaging takes place in a state-of the art facility in the US that is GMP-certified by the Natural Products Association. All products are third-part tested. Every step of our process has been carefully considered and optimized for the benefit of our customer.
FC: What are the challenges to the practice of complementary medicine as it compares to its modern counterpart.
MTD: The main challenges we face today center around building the trust in our customers and informing the public of what options they have for healing their bodies. Modern medicine has the financial support for scientific research and data gathering, as well as media power. Meanwhile, complementary medicine is considered quite new and unknown in the western market. Modern medicine is highly promoted and endorsed by primary care physicians, while complementary medicine requires manual research efforts from the end users themselves.