Some Chinese medicine can seem a little quackish. We have our own version of quackery in the West, though, too.
Western medicine, in general, takes a more aggressive approach to recovery by shocking the body back to health with strong drugs. Chinese medicine tries to heal the body by using natural methods, via acupuncture or through the healing properties of herbs.
The benefits of natural remedies for an ailment are theoretically better. Generally, there simply aren't any of the horrific side effects which often accompany Western remedies and it's cheaper. Chinese medicine takes a more cerebral approach to recovery which relies, in part, on the patient's confidence in the rememdy. Mind over matter. This is a good thing, as it requires that the patient take a more active role, more responsibility, in recovery.
I had a cold sore a few months ago and fought a losing battle with the virus, partly due to maltreatment. One of the disadvantages of living in a foreign country. I have a lovely scar on the corner of my mouth as a souvenir. The symptoms returned about a week ago much to my displeasure. At the first signs of inflammation, I started drinking tea made from honeysuckle (Flos Lonicerae) which one of my coworkers recommended drinking when I was previously stricken, but the symptoms have not declined. I'm not sure if the tea helped before or if the virus had simply run its course, but I'm still using if for lack of anything better.
It's very stressful and uncomfortable. My chin and the corner of my mouth itch incessantly. I have a softball game this afternoon, and following the game, I'm going to a large pharmacy in the center of Beijing to look for something stranger than honeysuckle.