What is Herbal Medicine?

Herbalism, the oldest medical therapy, uses plant remedies to treat illness. By treating the underlying causes herbalism helps to restore the body to balance and well-being. Symptoms are alleviated, rather than just suppressed, as part of the treatment.
While pharmaceutical drugs are based on isolated or synthetic "active ingredients", herbal medicine uses the whole plant or appropriate part such as the leaf, flower, fruit or root. Plants contain hundreds of components that interact in complex ways producing effects that are often lost or distorted when extracted and used independently.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Who can benefit?

Almost anyone, from the very young to the very old. Using modern scientific research and clinical trials, herbalist can treat a wide range of conditions, from short-term complaints to chronic illnesses.
Some conditions that can be treated by herbal medicine


Is herbal medicine safe?

When prescribed by a qualified medical herbalist, herbal medicine has a good reputation for safety with few, if any side-effects. Natural does not automatically imply safe. Some herbs can interact with prescription medication and many are not suitable during pregnancy. It is always sensible to seek professional advice before trying commercial or home-made herbal remedies.

Consultations

The first visit, which takes up to an hour and a half, is a full clinical consultation, including the patient's medical history, family history, lifestyle, diet, known allergies, blood pressure check and simple diagnostic examinations. Patients should bring along a list of any prescription and over-the-counter medications they are taking as well as any vitamins, supplements and other herbal preparations, and copies of recent laboratory tests if available.
The medicine is tailored to the individual's complaint. It is usually prescribed as tinctures (alcohol-based extracts) to be taken with water, but can also include dried herbs for teas, juices, syrups, tablets, external lotions and creams.
Patients also receive advice on diet, lifestyle, exercise and other potentially beneficial therapies. Trained herbalists recognise the limitations of herbal medicine and will not hesitate to refer patients to other specialists or to their GP for more appropriate treatment or tests.
Follow-up visits, usually at two- to four-week intervals, last about half an hour. The medication may be altered as treatment progresses. The length of treatment depends on the type, severity and length of condition.