What is Herbal Medicine
Herbal medicine is the use of whole plant remedies in the treatment of disease. Clinical trials, using the same rigorous methods as pharmaceutical drugs, have proved the effectiveness of herbal medicine in the treatment and management of many conditions, with far fewer side effects than pharmaceutical drugs.
It has been estimated that 30% of pharmaceutical drugs used today are based on plant constituents.
Herbal medicine can be administered in many forms: teas, powders, creams, pessaries and most commonly a mix of tinctures (herbs in liquid form which are easy to swallow and digest).
Why consult a Medical Herbalist?
Choosing the right herbs in the right combination is of course essential. If we take the example of choosing appropriate herbs for a patient experiencing recurrent headaches a qualified herbalist would take the following factors into account:
- The strength, position, character, incidence and pattern of the pain
- The root cause of the pain i.e.
- Intracranial: e.g. inflammation, cranial blood vessels.
- Cranial: e.g. sinusitis
- Extra cranial: spasms of scalp or neck.
Professional herbalists have access to a wider range of herbal medicines than can be bought over the counter. My dispensary contains about 140 different herbal tinctures for example.
Other factors also need to be taken into consideration when deciding on appropriate dosage e.g.
- Nature of the disorder
- Acute or chronic condition
- An individual's physiology (i.e. chemical sensitivity, liver function, BMI)
- Lifestyle (e.g. tobacco, alcohol consumption, diet)
- Any concurrent pharmaceutical treatment
High quality standards are essential from the testing of all raw materials (to guard against product contamination) through clean room maintenance procedures to rigorous batch identification processes. Therefore I source my products from manufacturers who hold a Manufacturers License issued by the Medicines Inspectorate. These are granted following a rigorous GMP inspection by the Medicines and Heathcare Products Regulatory Agency (MHRA).
An hour is allocated for the initial consultations to allow sufficient time to establish a full picture of the person as well as the health problem which concerns them. Therefore a herbalist can consider many aspects when prescribing e,g avoiding interaction with pharmaceutical drugs.
As responsible and ethical health professionals, we are always happy to work with your doctor. We also know when to treat or help manage an illness or when it is most appropriate to refer back to your GP.
If you have any questions relating to Herbal Medicine please email me firstname.lastname@example.org.