Herbal Medicine - the background
Throughout the known history of mankind we have depended on plants to provide us with the essentials of life – food, shelter, clothing, fuel and of course medicine.
For most of the world’s population plant medicine remains mainstream medicine. In many parts of the ‘developed’ world today, people are looking again at ways in which plant medicine can help with modern ailments.
The modern ailments
Today we face challenges that are very different to those faced by our ancestors. They are not necessarily tougher or easier but they are different.
Today our challenges include pollution, long-term stress, drug resistance and side effects and the modern diseases of affluence often caused by diets which are food rich and nutrient poor – obesity, diabetes and high blood pressure.
How does Herbal Medicine work?
As trained medical herbalists we use remedies made from whole plant extracts. We are trained to look beyond the obvious and seek the root cause of the problem rather than apply a ‘sticking plaster’ to a symptom.
We seek to correct imbalances and thus help the body to heal itself. We treat the whole person not the symptom.
Who can benefit from Herbal Medicine?
We treat all patients – infants to the very elderly may all find help from the herbs in a form which suits their needs and constitution. We are happy to treat those already receiving help from a GP or consultant.
We always ask you about the medication that you are taking and will only prescribe herbs which do not adversely interact with other medication. If appropriate and with the patients consent we are happy to keep medical staff fully informed of the herbal regime.
What can Herbal Medicine treat?
Herbal medicine is appropriate for most of the conditions for which you would visit your GP. These include digestive and circulatory problems, skin complaints, sleep, stress and emotional issues, hormonal imbalances, musculo-skeletal aches and pains, respiratory conditions and many more.
Often patients will present with a vague feeling of being below par or just lacking in energy. Regardless of how vague or specific the complaint herbal medicine can generally help to achieve a feeling of improved well-being.
Consultations with Qualified Medical Herbalists
These generally last between one and two hours depending on the complexity of the history. All new patients have a full history taken of the presenting complaint(s), family medical history, medication and medical history and an examination where relevant.
The consultation also gathers dietary and lifestyle details to create a complete picture of your life which helps to put your health complaint in context. The herbalist will then make a diagnosis based on their findings. A management plan is then agreed between the herbalist and patient and a prescription made up if necessary.
Follow up consultations are of a shorter duration and at two or three week intervals initially. This allows adjustments to be made to prescriptions to ensure optimum effectiveness.
A prescription may be a tincture (a blend of plant extracts in an alcohol/water base) or a tea. Capsules and tablets are also sometimes used. For external use, creams, lotions or oils may be prescribed.