Achieving Wellness & Pain Relief through Ancient Traditions, Acupuncture & Plant-based Medicine


What is TCM?

What is acupuncture?

What does it treat?

How does a practitioner know where to put the needles?

What is TCM diagnosis?

Does it hurt?

Is it safe?

What can I expect at my first appointment?

How do I recognize a qualified practitioner?

What is TCM Herbology?

How many treatments will I need?

What training do you have in Acupuncture?

Training in Herbs?


Physicians Rate Acupuncture Most Effective Alternative Treatment

Arthritis, Knee Pain


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Menopause & Hot Flashes

Neck, Shoulders, & Related Headache


Chinese Medicine Herbal

Pharmacology and Therapy


Chinese herbal pharmacology is one of the most sophisticated and highly developed herbal systems in existence, and is a major component of Oriental Medicine. For more than 5000 years, the Chinese have been developing and refining herbal compilations. Thousands of herbal formulations have been recorded. Modern researchers have compiled volumes of materia medica detailing the pharmacopeia of Chinese herbs.

Many Western scientists, such as researchers at Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center, are analyzing and utilizing Chinese herbs. The World Health Organization has recently recognized a Chinese herb as the most effective for drug resistant malaria.

Chinese herbs are used in precise quantities and proportions and usually are combined in formulas to synergistically modify their active properties, rather than used singly.

Unique to Chinese medicine herbal pharmacology is the profound understanding of the energetic properties of each herb. Herbs are classified according to five tastes, temperature, the effects they have on movement of energy in the body, and the specific manner in which they treat disease. For example, the energy of an herb will be either hot, cold, warm, cool, or neutral, hence herbs that warm the body wouldn’t normally be given to a person with a fever. And each herb has an effect on the energy flow within the body, and will influence that energy to move downward, upward, inward, or outward. Herbs are thus carefully selected according the individual needs of the medical condition and the patient.

This understanding of herbal energetics is crucial to using Chinese herbs correctly, but has not been recognized or developed in Western herbology. For example, ginseng is an herb that strongly boosts energy and vitality, but is often used incorrectly in the West. Ginseng draws energy inwardly to the interior where it collects and consolidates to strengthen and protect the system, but if taken during a viral infection, the inward movement of energy draws in the virus, rather than expelling it. The proper herbs would be herbs which move outward in an exterior direction, releasing and expelling the virus to the exterior. After the illness subsides, ginseng might then be correctly used to strengthen and build the immune system to prevent future attacks. A simple Chinese adage says that using tonic (energy building) herbs when a person is already sick with a cold or flu (viral infection) is like locking the door too late, after the burglar has entered the house, thus holding the burglar in. It’s necessary to first expel the burglar to the exterior, then lock the door.

The complexities of Chinese herbal pharmacology are such that competent practitioners will not generally recommend an herbal formula for a patient without first evaluating that patient according to Oriental medicine principles. The herbs given are considered to be prescriptions.

Chinese Medicine Diagnosis: Tailored to the Individual

A common type of question often asked of an herbalist is, "What herb should I take for disease X (arthritis, kidney stones etc.)?" Many people looking for herbal alternatives have learned to define their problems in terms of Western medical disease labels. In Chinese herbology, a conventional medical diagnosis (or a complaint of a single symptom) does not impart enough information to the practitioner to select the correct herbal formula. Essential to the diagnostic techniques of a properly trained practitioner of Chinese herbology are pulse and tongue diagnosis, as well as an in-depth interview. After evaluating all of this information, the herbalist will select a formula specifically tailored to the individual's total body condition as well as to their primary complaint.

The precision and sophistication of Chinese herbal pharmacology is the key to its effectiveness, as well as its safety.

Are Herbs Safe?

In the hands of a competent, well trained practitioner, Chinese herbs are extremely safe and effective. Most herbs are as harmless as some of the foods we eat. In fact, the average holiday dinner may contain numerous Chinese herbs. Ginger, cinnamon, nutmeg, garlic, turmeric, cloves, walnuts, mint, and tea are all used in Traditional Chinese herbology. Chinese herbs, like everyday spices, are safe when used correctly, and are significantly safer than average over-the-counter pharmaceuticals. Contributing to the safety of the herbs is the careful, intelligent manner in which the herbs are prescribed by highly trained Oriental medicine herbalists. Over centuries a vast body of knowledge of the proper use of herbs, in the correct amounts and combinations, has been developed in China.

However, it must be stressed that Chinese herbs should only be used with the guidance of an Oriental Medicine practitioner who has the proper training. Only they will be able to differentiate the pattern of a patient’s condition and recommend the proper use and amounts of the correct herbal formula.

Comprehensive herbal Training

In the hands of a qualified herbal practitioner, Chinese herbs are effective and safe. Careful attention to dosage and combinations of herbs, as well as known drug-herb interactions, are covered in comprehensive Chinese herbal medicine education programs.

Not all licensed acupuncturists are herbal pharmacologists, although many will have some education in Chinese herbs. Some states require acupuncturists to have complete herbal training, along with NCCAOM board certification in Chinese herbology, but many states do not.

A well-trained Chinese herbal pharmacologist will have graduated from a 4 year graduate level program of Oriental medicine and will be board certified by the NCCAOM as a Diplomate in Chinese Herbology, or as a Diplomate in Oriental Medicine (which includes both the acupuncture and herbology certifications, and represents the most complete level of certification available).

It is important to be aware that professional practitioners of Traditional Chinese Medicine who have complete herbal training and NCCAOM board certification in Oriental herbology have received, by far, the most extensive education in the use of herbs when compared to that of any other licensed health professional in the United States, including naturopaths, chiropractors, and medical doctors

Board Certified Herbalist

Kent Addleman, M.S.O.M., L.Ac., is a board certified Chinese herbalist. He is a graduate from a four year accredited college of traditional Chinese medicine, which included instruction in all aspects of the extensive Oriental medicine system. All core classes were instructed by Chinese doctors fully trained in Oriental medicine. The M.S.O.M. degree stands for Master of Oriental Medicine, an advanced degree which includes four years of training in Chinese herbology. Kent Addleman also has been awarded the NCCAOM board certification of Diplomate in Oriental Medicine, which can only be attained by graduates from four year accredited Oriental medicine programs who have also passed the difficult NCCAOM Chinese Herbology examination. 

It should be noted that NCCAOM certification in Chinese Herbology demonstrates the most comprehensive herbal training (of any kind) available in the United States. Most medical professionals, such as M.D.'s, osteopaths, chiropractors, physical therapists, nurse practitioners and massage therapists, receive no formal medical training in herbology, and thus have little, if any, expertise in the field. What training they may have is usually obtained in short, abreviated, weekend courses. Physicians, when they bother at all with herbal information, usually refer to the decidedly pro-pharmaceutical PDR manuals (Physician's Desk Reference) for information on herbs. Even ND's (naturopathic doctors available in some states) receive less hours in herbal training than the NCCAOM Diplomates of Oriental Medicine

Herbal Consultations

In most cases herbs will only be dispensed upon proper evaluation of the individual's medical conditions and requirements. Chinese medicine herbalists take quite seriously the responsibility of dispensing herbs, and thus are careful to insure the correct herbs are being used by each patient. In Oriental medicine, herbs are considered to have potent energetic affects on the patient's health, and it is therefore important to perfectly match the individual to the formula which best reflects the diagnostic pattern of the patient, as determined by the herbalist. This is usually accomplished by receiving an herbal consultation. If a consultation is desired, please call for an appointment.

Herbal Pharmacy

The Aspensprings Acupuncture Clinic has a complete Chinese herbal pharmacy on its premises. Chinese green tea of excellent gourmet quality is also available. Our high quality herbal products are GMP certified, and are tested before shipping to insure the herbs are free from contamination.