What is a Herbal Medicine?
Herbal medicine is the oldest form of medicine in the world dating back to around 60,000 years ago (Gagnier, Joel J; 2012). Today, around 80% of the world’s population still use herbal medicine as their primary form of healthcare (WHO Statistics).
Many mainstream drugs owe their existence to the plants we use as medical herbalists, for example aspirin (willow bark) and digoxin (foxglove). You only have to look at some of the early pharmacy textbooks from the 1930’s and 1940’s to realise the study of materia medica (substances used in the composition of medical remedies) included the plant and vegetable kingdom.
Herbal medicine involves the use of the active ingredients (secondary metabolites) within the whole plant or plant extract to help support, balance and restore the normal healthy functioning of the systems within our body. This, in turn, helps to promote health and healing restoring vitality and wellbeing. Using traditional knowledge and modern science research, herbal medicine can help to bring us back to health in our often-challenging modern world.
Why consult a Medical Herbalist?
Self-treatment for minor everyday ailments using over the counter (OTC) herbal remedies and supplements is usually safe and effective and similar to using for example, an analgesic for aches and pains. However, OTC remedies are generally recommended for short term use of non-serious, self-limiting conditions and may not always give you the results you are looking for. It can also be difficult to decide which herbal product is the most appropriate one for both you as an individual and also for your particular health concerns or symptoms. Especially when considering interactions with orthodox medication.
If you have tried OTC herbs, vitamins or minerals without success, your health condition is more complicated or long term, or you are taking orthodox medication, then why not seek out the advice of a medical herbalist? A fully qualified medical herbalist BSc (Hons) has trained for several years in the plant and medical sciences and is equipped to carry out a thorough assessment of you and your health and lifestyle. Working with you and possibly your GP or health advisor they can select the most appropriate treatment plan for you.
What happens during a Consultation
This is where we take the opportunity to discuss your health and lifestyle concerns in depth. The first consultation may take up to an hour and a half, is completely confidential and while frank and thorough, is approached in a relaxed manner to help you feel at ease.
We look at physiological, psychological and emotional issues, medical history, nutrition and lifestyle and any family medical or hereditary factors that need to be considered. If appropriate, a physical examination may be carried out and blood pressure and pulse taken. This holistic ‘top to toe’ approach helps to more fully understand your overall health and wellbeing rather than just the presenting symptom.
After carefully considering all the information, a diagnosis and treatment plan will be discussed. Each person leaves with a personalised program which could be a herbal prescription, vitamins, minerals and/or dietary advice or suggested lifestyle changes.
Follow up consultations last for approximately thirty minutes and review your progress, any changes in your health and an assessment of how the treatment is working. Blood pressure and pulse will again be taken and a further physical examination if required. The herbal prescription and/or program may be changed depending on the results of the review.
What conditions can Herbal Medicine help?
- Joint Pains
- Menopausal complaints
- Hormonal imbalance
- Prostate issues
- Energy depletion
- Skin conditions
- Digestive complaints
- Liver support
- Behavioural conditions such as ADHD
- Irritable Bowel Syndrome
- And many more