Herbal Medicine - To be in Harmony with Nature
What is herbal medicine?
Herbal medicine is also known as medical herbalism, botanical medicine, herbalism, herbology and phytotherapy.
Herbal medicine is the most ancient form of medicine. It refers to using plants for healing and has few side effects. It uses the plant’s seeds, berries, roots, leaves, bark, or flowers for medicinal purposes. Each plant contains a group of valuable constituents and crucial mineral material in its natural context.
Plants have been used throughout history for healing and nourishment; making major contributions to human health through curative and rehabilitative properties, revitalizing and balancing well-being and is also used in the prevention of illnesses. The long traditions of use of many herbal remedies and experiences have been passed on from generation to generation.
Herbal medicine comprises a wide range of remedies that are based on plants and has been used around the world for thousands of years. It is the most widely practiced form of medicine with over 80% of the world's population relying on herbs for health.
Herbal medicine is a proven, natural, and highly effective form of treatment for both long term and sudden onset conditions.
Herbal remedy is based on whole plants and in contrast to synthetic pharmaceutical drugs the active component of the plant is balanced by other constituents which support its action and reduce its side effects.
Herbal medicine is an holistic therapy.
The health of your whole body is considered with the aim of identifying and resolving any underlying health conditions that might be contributing to your symptoms. Therefore, dietary, nutritional and life-style advice often form an important part of the therapy. This allows you to take control of your health in a much more positive way.
The emphasis in herbal medicine is not about your illness, but your wellness. Herbalists work on the premise that we have an innate ability to heal ourselves and that any medicine should be used to support the body’s very own capable defensive and restorative mechanisms, rather than by trying to replace them. Herbal medicine works by restoring body function and stimulating the healing process.
A qualified Medical Herbalist uses herbal medicine to renew organ reserve and boost the immune system so vital to the demands of modern life. Sometimes it is only the subtle complex of chemicals found in plants which can heal.
Herbal Medicine - Uniquely formulated for you
As herbal medicine takes your specific health profile into account, the herbal remedies that you will be given as a result of your consultation will be uniquely tailored and individually formulated for you using a variety of different herbs taken from the huge number available to me as a trained medical herbalist.
A trained medical herbalist will use a careful selection of herbs to make up a medicine which is designed to give you, not only symptomatic relief, but also to assist you towards regaining and maintaining a future 'healthier you'. This medicine may be adjusted as you progress with treatment. This is only one of the reasons why visiting a medical herbalist can often be much more effective than using over the counter herbs and proprietary herbal remedies.
Visiting a trained Herbalist or Self - Treatment?
Self-treatment with over the counter herbs and herbal remedies can be effective for treating some conditions, much like the conventional medicines you would buy directly from your pharmacist for minor ailments.
However, just as you might visit your doctor, for more complex and serious problems, consulting a trained herbalist has a number of advantages. Over the counter herbal remedies can be variable in quality and efficacy and sometimes it is difficult to identify the right ones for you. Also, although herbs are generally gentle in action and have few side effects, care is needed, as some are not suitable for use with certain conditions and have known interactions with conventional pharmaceutical drugs.
Most importantly, herbal medicine, although firmly rooted within conventional medicine, has a very different therapeutic approach which can be very helpful for some long term chronic conditions.
Herbs are used for more than the relief of symptoms, underlying health problems, such as the state of the digestion, inflammatory processes going on within the body, stress, lifestyle and diet and so on, can all have a significant impact on the manifestation of symptoms in many conditions. A skilled medical herbalist will seek to identify and redress these by matching what is going on within your body with the appropriate herbs for you. They do this by using their extensive knowledge of the actions of individual herbs and of blending herbal formulas. Therefore, the herbal medicines made up for you at the end of a consultation, will be specifically aimed at helping these underlying problems with the objective of relieving symptoms and promoting health at a deeper level. This is something much harder to achieve by using generic over the counter herbal remedies.
Benefits of consulting a trained herbalist
- In depth knowledge of herbs and plant medicines
- Diagnostic and clinical expertise
- High quality herbs and herbal preparations from reputable suppliers
- Safe prescribing of herbs and knowledge of contraindications and drug interactions
- Ability to assess your individual needs by looking at your whole health profile
- Access to effective herbal remedies unavailable to the general public
The consultation is a patient-centered process. You will be given time and a sympathetic, confidential environment to talk about your health concerns in-depth. Consequently, the first consultation will normally take between one and one and a half hours.
A medical herbalist will discuss your health in detail, including your present condition, past medical history and family medical history, and any conventional drugs and supplements you are taking. Your life-style and diet are also taken into account. This enables me to assess how any of these things may be impacting on your current state of health. Also, because herbal medicine takes an holistic approach, it allows me to know more about you as a person.
After your consultation, a treatment strategy will be drawn up, which may include dietary and life-style advice and a herbal remedy will be individually formulated and dispensed for you.
Follow up consultations
- You will normally need a follow-up consultation in about 2 to 4 weeks time, so that the medical herbalist can see how you are progressing and to see if your treatment plan needs adjusting. Follow-up consultations normally last about 30-45 minutes.
- In most cases between 2-4 consultations will be needed, this does, however, depend on the complexity of your condition.
How long might I have to take herbal medicine?
- This very much depends on the type and severity of your condition. Some problems and people respond very quickly to herbs, whereas others take more time, just like in conventional medicine.
- As a very general guide, a typical course of herbal treatment may take from 6 weeks to 9 months, but more immediate relief of symptoms can be expected.
- If you would like to know more about what to expect for your condition, contact a fully trained medical herbalist.
How can herbal medicine help?
Herbal medicine can be helpful for a wide range of chronic conditions. It may be useful for managing problems which do not always respond well to conventional medical treatment.
With expert advice from a trained practitioner, herbal medicine can often work well and be used safely as an alternative, or as complementary to orthodox medical treatment. Although great care needs to be taken as herbs can interact with conventional drugs.
Even if you are already on medication, you may still be able to take some herbal medicines, but you must consult your doctor first. As a matter of course, your herbalist will always check for interactions with the medication you have from your doctor.
Although certainly not curative, herbal medicine can sometimes be used to give support for conditions such as cancer and type II diabetes, alongside conventional treatment.
Herbal medicine may will help you to:
- Increase immunity and help coughs, colds, flu and asthma
- Improve digestion and elimination
- Restore balance to the body, mind and emotions
- Balance hormones and help with complaints such as period pain, irregular periods, PMS, menopausal symptoms
- Improve skin complaints such as acne, eczema, psoriasis
- Reduce high blood pressure and cholesterol
- Reduce allergies
- Help with arthritis, sciatica, neck and shoulder pain
- Help with chronic fatigue and improve mood
Herbalists have a very wide range of herbs at their disposal. Often they have their own dispensaries which can contain well over a hundred different herbs. In addition, they also have access to an even greater number of high quality herbal products from specialist herbal suppliers.
From these, individual medicines are made up for each patient at the end of each consultation on the basis of their condition. These herbal medicines may often contain mixtures of up to eight or nine different herbs, which are carefully selected on the basis of the condition(s) that patients present with. Herbs can be taken in a number of different forms:
Herbal medicines are usually taken in the form of alcohol-based tinctures, where an alcohol and water mixture has been used to extract the full active constituents of the whole plant. After a consultation, a mixture of herbs is usually given in tincture form. Unlike in homeopathy, full therapeutic doses are prescribed to be taken two or three times daily.
Dried herbs may also be prescribed as capsules, or to be made up by the patient as teas. These may be given in addition to an alcohol based medicine, or prescribed as the principal remedy, if patients wish to avoid alcohol altogether.
Creams and Lotions
Creams and lotions may be made up for topical application to help with, for example, musculo-skeletal and skin conditions.
Medical Herbalist are using only quality herbal medicines from reputable suppliers, this is important for both the efficacy of the product and its safety.