As Chinese medicine becomes more and more integrated into the fabric of health care in economically developed countries, it runs into a variety of problems. These relate to education, licensing, and communications. In this article, we would like to focus on one important aspect—what does it mean to prescribe Chinese herbal medicines (CHM) responsibly at the present time? This issue confronts all Chinese herbalists (CH) in almost every patient encounter, and involves two major points that medical practitioners of all persuasions have to be cognizant of and which could be approached in a number of ways: safety and efficacy. How do we prescribe in a way that promotes the health of the patient without doing harm? We need to remember that all medicines, herbal or otherwise, have potential side effects and risks to patients, and that we need to take appropriate measures.
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