How to take your Chinese herbs

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At Balanced Life Health Care we prescribed various types of Traditonal Chinese Herbal Medicine, including; Granulated, Raw, Patent Pills and Tinctures. Your practitioner will have prescribed one of these forms based on your individual needs. They will have also given you instructions on your dose and how to take your herbs, but this page is here just in case you misplace your instructions.


How to Order More Herbs

If you run our of your herbs and need a repeat between or appointments you can order herbs via email us or call us on (03) 8719 7373

Once your order will be confirmed, you will recieve instructions for payment and collection. After hours collection will be available in our herbal collection lockers.

Herbal pills, capsules or supplements

Chinese herbal pills, capsules or supplements should be taken at the recommended dosage by your practitioner. If you are unsure of the dosage please contact the clinic. Commonly the full adult dosage is prescribed unless your practitioner believes you need a particular dosage.


Why do I have to take so many pills?


Often a prescription will call for ten to twelve pills to be taken AM & PM, and people are sometimes surprised at the number, since they are used to pharmaceutical drug forms of one or two tablets. On the one hand, these pills are quite small compared to the usual drug tablet, and on the other, these pills are not concentrated chemicals, they are simply plants, and a certain amount of plant material is needed before there will be an effect.


Some people have trouble swallowing pills, however; if this is the case inform your practitioner and an alternative can easily be arranged.


Why does the label on my pills tell me they treat one thing, when you prescribed them to me for something else?!


Labelling for all packaged medicines in Australia is restricted by the Therapeutic Goods Administration, and Chinese herbal pills have to be labelled as if they were Western over-the-counter drugs.


This means that a traditional formula which treats a wide range of problems, all of which stem from (for example) a “Liver” imbalance in Chinese medicine terms, cannot say this on the label, because the TGA is afraid that someone with a serious liver disease will try to treat themselves with the Chinese herbal pills instead of obtaining more suitable Western medicine treatment.


Thus usually one or two ‘allowable’ symptoms are chosen to represent the wide range of what the formula actually does treat. It does make it hard to explain to a man, though, why the pills which suit him best say “for PMT”.

Granulated Herbs

Granulated herbs are similar to instant coffee and are prepared in much a similar way. In most cases you will add the prescribed number of spoons into a mug then add 250mls of hot water.


The herbs taste quiet bad, so feel free to adjust the water amount as needed. For example some clients find it easier to add a small amount of liquid, dissolving the herbs then shot the liquid while holding their nose until you wash out your mouth or eat something small like a biscuit or piece of fruit. I personally dissolve my herbs in a larger amount of liquid thus diluting the flavour. Feel free to go with what works for you.


All of our Tinctures are made in-house from Traditional Chinese Herbs. We use a dual extraction process to ensure we obtain all the water active ingredients along with the volatile non-water-soluble constituents to create a highly concentrated bioavailable end product. We use a 2:6:3 ratio of herb:water:ethanol giving us a final alcohol content of 30%. The amount of alcohol in each dose is approximately 0.6ml or 4% of a standard 30ml shot of alcohol like vodka. You can evoporate the alcohol by mixing the tincture with boiling water and allowing it to cool. Keep in mind that it may not completely decrease the alcohol content to 0 but will greatly reduce it.


Standard Adult Dosage : 3 full droppers twice daily

Traditional Raw Herbs

Instructions for cooking your Chinese herbs


  • Empty the contents of one packet into your cooking pot. Add 4 cups of warm water (or enough to cover the herbs), and soak for 20 minutes. Bring the herbs to a boil, then reduce heat and simmer for 30 minutes with the lid ajar, or until 1 ½ cups liquid remains. It is easy to forget the simmering herbs, so use a timer. Strain the liquid into a container and set aside.
  • Add 3 ½ cups of boiling water to the herbs in the pot, and simmer for 30 minutes or until 1 ½ cups liquid remains. Strain the liquid into the container – there should now be approximately 3 cups of herbal liquid, mixed together to ensure even strength.
  • Keep the liquid in the fridge, but make sure to drink it warm or at room temperature, at the dosage advised during your appointment. Your herbs will stay fresh for approximately 5 days – if you haven’t finished them in this time then the remainder can be frozen.


Slow cooker instructions


In emergencies you can prepare your herbs in a slow cooker by adding 5 cups of water to each packet and cooking overnight. This is not idea but can be done if needed. See video here for more ideas.

Taking herbs during Pregnancy

If you become pregnant while taking Chinese Herbs we recommend contacting the clinic or your practitioner as soon as the pregnancy is confirmed. If you have been taking herbs for fertility the herbs will be safe in the early phases, but will be adjusted to more specifically support your pregnancy.

Traditional Chinese Herbs can be safely prescribed by a practitioner during pregnancy as needed. In the nausea of early pregnancy, one should feel free to take as small a dose as needed to avoid vomiting. In most cases, pills are provided as an alternative if one simply cannot face the herbs on any given day.

Timing of taking your Herbs

Generally herbs are taken twice per day (see your cooking instructions for your own instructions), and may be taken whenever it is most convenient. However some herbs can disrupt sleep so we recommend avoiding taking right before bed unless otherwise instructed.

Most herbs are recommended to be taken 2 hours away from medication and 30 minutes before or after meals. For those with weak digestion, or if the taste makes you feel nausous taking the herbs after meals may be best so discuss with your practitiuoner.

When to stop taking your Herbs

On the cooking instructions, many people notice that it says to stop your herbs if you catch a cold or ‘flu — but you only need to stop during the worst days, so probably only 3 or 4 days at the most. Also, if during the consultation you have already mentioned that you frequently catch colds, something will already have been added to your herbs to help with this, so you do not have to stop them at all (in fact you should not stop, but continue the herbs as usual in this case).

How to find out more about Chinese Herbal Medicine

For more information visit our Chinese Herbal Medicine page 

Is taking Chinese Herbal Medicine safe?

To find out more about the safety and facts about Chinese Herbal Medicine visit our FACTS page 

If your question isn’t listed here and you wanted to find out more email us or call us on (03) 8719 7373