Chinese herbal medicine can be traced back over three thousand years in the written historical record. While some of the herbs used are also found in Western herbalism, they are prescribed by significantly different methods. First, the same principles of Chinese medicine that underlie effective acupuncture treatment are also used to guide the construction of Chinese herbal formulas. Second, in Chinese herbal tradition, the herbs are almost never prescribed singly, but rather in balanced combinations in carefully designed formulas. These herbal prescriptions are tailored to the individual patient. They reflect not only the individual properties of each herb but also how all of the herbs interact together and function in concert to produce the desired therapeutic result. The elegance and sophistication of this system arises partly from the fact that it has been in continuous development in China for thousands of years, and also that it is still the subject of refinement today as a living discipline in China and around the world.