Herbal medicine is the main treatment method within Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM) – the world's oldest continually practiced medical discipline. Its written history is more than 3,000 years old, and its practice likely dates back much longer. Chinese herbs have a balancing or regulating effect and are typically more gentle compared to pharmaceutical drugs. Side effects are possible, but usually minimal. Although acupuncture was the first Chinese method of treatment to gain wide acceptance in the West, Chinese herbal medicine is quickly establishing itself as one of the most popular and effective alternative therapies. It has a long clinical history of treating acute and chronic conditions – excelling in treating conditions that Western medicine has difficulty in treating, as well as those that do not have a definitive Western diagnosis. Chinese herbal medicine is based on a highly developed integrative – or holistic – approach to diagnose and treat medical conditions. All the diagnoses are made from the signs and symptoms your body reveals. The subtle variations in the pulse in the wrist, the sound of your voice, the condition and appearance of your tongue, face and skin – are all important indicators of your condition. Herbs are formulated according to your specific diagnosis.