What is herbal medicine?
Herbal medicine is the practice of using specific plants as medicines. It is the oldest form of medicine and many communities worldwide still rely on plants for their health needs.
There are a variety of philosophies of herbal medicine such as Traditional Chinese Medicine and Ayurveda.
Some people think herbal medicine is primitive, but it is simply a different choice. Many conventional drugs are derived from plants but generally, herbal medicines have less side effects and are not addictive.
Herbal medicine practitioners offer LIFESTYLE MEDICINE.
Herbal medicine is simply the use of plants to treat illness. It is the oldest form of medicine.
About western herbal medicine
I’m trained in western herbal medicine, so I usually prescribe herbs that grow in Europe and North America. The tradition of western herbal medicine has largely followed the same path as orthodox medicine, which has its roots in ancient Greece. You might be familiar with many of the herbs in my dispensary such as rosemary, hawthorn, fennel and elderberry. Medicinal herbs grow all around us. Wherever you are, there are almost certainly a few plants with medicinal properties growing nearby.
In western herbal medicine, only plants are prescribed. No animal or mineral products are used.
All plants contain a variety of chemical constituents, and medicinal plants contain specific constituents that have beneficial effects on the body. An example would be peppermint which can be calming to the digestion. Peppermint oil capsules can be bought in a chemist for the relief of Irritable Bowel Syndrome symptoms.
Traditionally herbs have been used as whole plant remedies, rather than extracting one active constituent. Over the counter herbal remedies are often in the form of a ‘standardised extract’ containing the one ingredient of the plant thought to provide beneficial effects. In reality, most plants contain several active constituents which are thought to work in synergy.
What is the role of a medical herbalist?
As a medical herbalist, I am trained in western herbal medicine which means I follow the western tradition of medicine that people in the UK will be familiar with. I will use the same medical terms and diagnoses as your doctor. The herbs I prescribe will usually be plants that grow commonly around us in the UK and Europe.
Prior to the advent of our modern medical system, most remedies were plant medicines. In fact, many of the orthodox drugs we use now are derived from plants.
Herbalists work in an holistic manner, taking both physical and mental health into account during consultations. In common with most conventional practitioners, we believe that mind and body cannot be separated, and therefore we will help you discover what might be at the root of your health concerns, rather than simply treating the symptoms.
How does herbal medicine fit with conventional medicine?
Herbal medicine is not in competition with conventional medicine, but rather offers the choice to use different remedies. Many people use herbal remedies for long term conditions when conventional medicines have limited effect. People often take herbal medicines alongside their regular medications. This is most safely achieved by consulting a medical herbalist because we are trained to know which herbs interact with conventional medicines.
The World Health Organisation states as one of the aims of the Traditional Medicine Strategy 2014-2023 ‘To promote universal health coverage by integrating Traditional, Complementary and Integrative Medicine services into health care service delivery and self-health care’.
How can I find out more?
If you wish to discuss your particular health concern, please contact me via email or phone.
Herbal medicine can be suitable for most people, including children but remember herbs can have powerful effects and we advise you to consult a trained medical herbalist, especially if you have a long term medical condition, take conventional medication, are pregnant or breastfeeding or intending to conceive.
The Lotus Therapy Centre at The Limes, 54 Nottingham Rd, Mansfield, Notts, NG18 1BN