David Teitlers pharmacy is unlike any other jars of pills and doctors scribble are gone, replaced by row upon row of herbs imported from China. The waiting room isnt cold and clinical, but cozy, thanks to hardwood floors and Eastern decor.Teitler practices traditional Chinese medicine out of the Carbondale Acupuncture Center Inc., specializing in herbal treatments. The herbal treatments are becoming more popular in the Roaring Fork Valley and across the nation, said Teitler, who is also a licensed acupuncturist.The herbs, which range from chrysanthemums to different types of ginseng, all have different effects when made into teas or concentrated alcohol solutions. Just about any combination is possible since it's rare that two patients will get identical prescriptions."If two people come in with a cough, you might get two different remedies," Teitler said. "At its root, Chinese medicine treats the client, not the name of the symptom."Respiratory problems like sinusitis, asthma and allergies are common in Colorado's dry climate. That's where Teitler gets much of his clientele, but he also treats everything from indigestion and menstrual problems to hepatitis C.
Developed over hundreds of years, Chinese medicine uses about 1,000 medicinal herbs. However, Teitler said there are about 200 to 300 common ones that are most typically used. This medicine centers around the idea of balance in the body - a balance that doesn't always come quickly."You can actually fix something rather than just put a Band-Aid on it," Teitler said. "But it might take me a month or two to restore balance in a person."Teitler frequently works in conjunction with traditional Western doctors, who provide important background about patients with testing and blood work. Plus, the herbal treatments can work well alongside drugs for ailments like hepatitis because the herbs keep the immune system strong.Doctors are also important for problems like muscle strains, tendinitis and back pains, Teitler said. Herbs can't do much to cure those, although acupuncture and massage sometimes can.
Although herbal therapy is popular, it has a catch - most insurance companies still don't cover it. Plus, some are still skeptical of the unfamiliar treatments and sometimes less-immediate cures."We're more busy, and we want a quick solution," Teitler said.But with some patience, Teitler says his clients will find themselves healthier in the long run."What I tell them," Teitler said, "is hopefully you'll need your drugs less and less."