What is herbal medicine?
Herbal medicine is the method of treating disease in the body through the use of plant extracts either singly or in combination. It can be used to treat a single symptom or a variety of complaints, including complex and chronic conditions with overlapping symptom patterns. The medicines come from plants and are usually given in tincture form. These are liquid extracts of plants. herbal teas, creams and oils may also be prescribed. Herbal medicine has been effectively used for thousands of years. Even now, 50% of pharmaceutical medicines are derived from plants and up to the 1930's botany was a required subject whilst learning medicine.
Does it work and is it safe?
In training to be a herbalist I undertook a 4 year BSc in Herbal Science, which gave me a comprehensive understand of the science behind Herbal medicine. Herbal Medicine is undoubtedly the oldest and safest form of medicine. 80% of the worlds population rely on herbal medicine as their primary health care and have done so for thousands of years.. This track record of safe and effective use has stood the test of time. Hundreds of peer reviewed papers are published each year detailing the pharmacological effects of plant based medicine. Herbal medicine is safe to use on their own and with certain other prescribed medication. If you are taking medication always bring these along with recent blood reports to your consultation. It can be used on its own or in with other treatments including primary care medicine. Examples of widely used herbal medicine include peppermint which is used in many IBS treatments, chamomile tea which is a gentle nervous system relaxant, that relaxes the digestive system and reduces stress and anxiety.
What to expect in a consultation?
Herbal medicine is a patient centered approach to healing this means the focus of the treatment is on the individual and the medicine is tailored to the patient. Many factors are taken into account most importantly the overall condition of the patient presenting as well as the symptoms or source of complaint. During a consultation as detailed case history is taken, which usually lasts an hour, this may be followed by a physical examination or diagnostic checks such as pulse and blood pressure. Herbal prescriptions are given alongside dietary and lifestyle advice. A follow up consultation happens 2 weeks after starting the prescription so that the outcomes can be assessed and the prescription adjusted, if necessary. This may happen over a few consultations, as symptoms change so to the prescription is adjusted. It may be necessary to have a treatment alongside the herbal prescription, for example to balance the adrenal response through acupressure or shiatsu.
What does herbal medicine treat?
Low energy: feeling tired, desire to sleep.
Hormonal problems, PMS, menopause, infertility.
Arthritis, stiffness in joints.
Heart conditions: high blood pressure, cholesterol, poor circulation, feeling cold.
Stress and stress related illness, emotional problems, sleep disturbances, concentration problems, anxiety and depression.
Digestive disorders: poor digestion, bloating, IBD, constipation, diarrhea.