What exactly is herbal medicine and how does it work? Herbal medicine provides a safe and effective alternative to conventional treatment for many different health conditions. The principles, philosophies and practices of traditional herbal medicine, have been passed down through the centuries and the benefits are increasingly being supported and explained by modern scientific research.
Herbal medicines are pharmaceutical grade plant extracts, which contain active constituents present at therapeutic levels (as with conventional Western medicines). These active constituents produce potent physiological effects within the body in a similar way to conventional drugs. These benefits, however, are delivered without many of the side effects experienced with conventional medicine.
Herbal medicines are tailored specifically to the individual and each prescription usually contains four or five different plant extracts. Herbal medicines are commonly prescribed as a tincture or fluid extract (where the active ingredients are extracted in an alcohol‑based medium). Some active constituents are readily extracted in water so some herbs may also be prescribed dried, to be taken as herbal infusion or tea. Alternatively herbal medicines may also be prescribed in tablet or capsule form, and for some conditions as creams, lotions and balms.
Can herbal medicine help me? Herbal medicine can help with a wide variety of health conditions. Some of the common conditions that can be successfully treated or managed using herbal medicine include;
- Ear nose and throat (sore throat, mouth ulcers, infections, hayfever and allergy)
- Respiratory conditions (chest infections, coughs, catarrh)
- Circulatory conditions (poor circulation, palpitations, blood pressure support)
- Digestive conditions (IBS, infections, indigestion, bloating and wind, constipation, diarrhoea)
- Bladder and urinary tract (UTIs, cystitis)
- Musculoskeletal conditions (joint pain and stiffness, muscular aches and pains, headache, chronic inflammation, injury)
- Skin conditions (eczema, acne, infections, cuts and grazes, burns, allergy),
- Mental and emotional problems (anxiety, stress, low mood, SAD, insomnia, fatigue and exhaustion, poor memory or concentration, headache)
- Women’s health conditions (PMS, menstrual problems, PCOS, menopausal symptoms),
- Men’s health conditions (BPH)
- Immune support (recurrent or chronic infection, depleted immune system)
What happens during a herbal medicine consultation? An initial consultation usually lasts about an hour and quarter, a little longer or shorter depending on the complexity of the health issues discussed. During this time a detailed case history will be taken exploring current and past health issues, lifestyle, nutrition and details of medications or supplements. Blood pressure and other examinations may be performed.
Based on information from the case history, therapeutic goals (or the desired health improvements) will be discussed, a diagnosis will usually be made and a management plan agreed. The management plan often includes lifestyle advice and herbal medicines.
Depending on the nature of the health issue you will be advised to attend a follow up appointment (lasting up to 45 minutes) between one and four weeks later. This will be to review how well your medicine is working for you and to determine if further appointments or prescriptions are necessary.
My philosophy is that optimal health is achieved through a balance of physical, mental and spiritual well-being. Wherever your own focus is right now, my aim is to support you on your journey towards optimal health and happiness.
To support this philosophy and to empower you towards your goals, I practice Western herbal medicine and combine traditional herbal knowledge with a modern scientific approach to diagnosis and treatment. I merge sound scientific understanding with a holistic person-centred approach to healing and optimal health, to produce safe and effective results. By taking time with my clients and combining advice on herbs, lifestyle and nutrition, I aim to empower individuals to take control of their own health and well-being.