Imagine, just over 100 years ago plant based medicines were the main treatment for pretty much every type of illness. At least this was the case for Asia, where a trip to see the doctor usually meant that you were given a prescription of roots, leaves, flowers and seeds to be brewed into a strong tea at home. And you know what? Those herbal medicines worked very well. Many millions of people over the past several thousand years of time have received benefit from herbal medicines and continue to do so even in our modern world of fancy gadgets and technology. As the saying goes, ‘good things never grow old’.
When I treat patients for chronic skin disease, just like those doctors of old, I always prescribe herbal medicine as the primary treatment and over the past 8 years of practice I have now seen hundreds of people’s skin improve. The main issue with herbal medicine is not to do with how effective they are, but is to do with their preparation. As anyone can attest to who has used herbal medicine before, cooking them demands a lot of time and patience, at least 1 hour every 1 to 2 days. It is often hard to gauge the appropriate amount of water needed for cooking and thus many people complain about having way too much liquid to drink each day. While these shortcomings are not that difficult for the short term of a couple weeks, those suffering with chronic health issues often require herbal medicines for 5 to 8 months, or longer, making the cooking procedure challenging to commit to. Patients always ask me if they can take their herbal medicine in a pill form, as a means to simplify things, but history has shown that the best way to treat chronic skin disease is through the fresh tea as I describe above.
Luckily, in our modern world, the issue around herbal medicine preparation has long been remedied. In many countries where herbal medicines are used to a large degree, hospital and private clinic pharmacies will prepare the patient’s herbs for them. Using large pressure cooking machines, 2 to 4 weeks of herbal medicine can be prepared all at once. The tea is then packaged in individual satchels, requiring the patient to simply open and drink, making life so much easier. Just recently I was able to set up some of these same pressure cooking machines at my skin clinic here in White Rock. This has brought great joy to the majority of my patients, for now they can enjoy the benefits of a custom mix of herbal medicines, while not having to worry about the time needed to prepare them, nor the aroma that stinks up their house while they cook!
Dr. Erikson uses Chinese herbal medicines to treat a variety of skin.