The Chinese medical concept of indications and contraindications has no real equivalent in Western biomedicine. Pharmaceuticals are often contraindicated relative to specific conditions, such as avoiding anti-coagulants when there is risk of bleeding. However, in Western medicine there is no fundamental concept of physiology that describes a person’s overall make-up, and that includes treatments that would be appropriate and inappropriate based on this understanding. For example, if a person has a deficient Spleen and a subsequent accumulation of dampness, it would be contraindicated for them to ingest cloying Blood tonics even though they would likely be Blood deficient secondary to Spleen deficiency.
Because there is consideration of unique and underlying physiology, Chinese medicine is precise and individualized with regard to treatment. Single herbs are never administered, and instead complex formulations that address the entirety of the individual’s physiology are prescribed.
The concept of contraindications in Chinese medicine allows for exacting treatment that is without harm and side-effect.