Health is the expression of a harmonious balance between various components of man’s nature, the environment and ways of life … nature is the physician of disease.
Herbal medicine has a long tradition in all cultures, and recent research has begun to prove some of the huge benefits of using herbs. Whereas much modern medicine has unwelcome side effects, herbs can provide a gentle, yet powerful, solution to a wide range of physical and emotional problems.
As well as relieving symptoms, herbal medicine also works on a deeper level to help patients return to full harmony
Using plants, flowers and herbs is a non-intrusive and natural way to coax the body back into health.
As a qualified Master Herbalist, I will use herbs to change the chemistry of the body to help it on its way towards health.
I am a qualified Herbalist working from Walsall, Tamworth and Birmingham, if you would like to book a consultation, then please contact me.
What is herbal medicine?
Herbal medicine -- also called botanical medicine or phytomedicine -- refers to using a plant's seeds, berries, roots, leaves, bark, or flowers for medicinal purposes. Herbalism has a long tradition of use outside of conventional medicine. It is becoming more mainstream as improvements in analysis and quality control along with advances in clinical research show the value of herbal medicine in the treating and preventing disease.
What is the history of herbal medicine?
Plants had been used for medicinal purposes long before recorded history. Ancient Chinese and Egyptian papyrus writings describe medicinal uses for plants. Indigenous cultures (such as African and Native American) used herbs in their healing rituals, while others developed traditional medical systems (such as Ayurveda and Traditional Chinese Medicine) in which herbal therapies were used. Researchers found that people in different parts of the world tended to use the same or similar plants for the same purposes.
There is a long tradition of herbal medicine in the UK, an often under-promoted form of herbal medicine is Western Herbal Medicine, using the traditions of the English herbalists, and more recently, herbalists from the US. Western Herbal Medicine uses plants that grow naturally in the English countryside for medicinal and health corrective use. There is also a long tradition of healing linked to herbalism, typified by the ‘Earth Mother’ archetype, we are seeing a return of this type of herbalism now, linking the wisdom of the earth to the balance of the body.
Up until the 1950’s most pharmacies supplied predominantly herbal remedies, and doctors were all trained in the use of herbs. The practice of using chemicals as drugs is less than 50 years old.
Recently, the World Health Organization estimated that 80% of people worldwide rely on herbal medicines for some part of their primary health care. In Germany, about 600 - 700 plant-based medicines are available and are prescribed by some 70% of German physicians. In the last 20 years an interest in returning to natural or organic remedies, has led to an increase in herbal medicine use.
How do herbs work?
In many cases, the whole herbs contain many ingredients, and they may work together to produce a beneficial effect. Many factors determine how effective an herb will be. For example, the type of environment (climate, bugs, soil quality) in which a plant grew will affect it, as will how and when it was harvested and processed. In addition, every person is different, and their constitution will respond to herbs differently, this is why different doses are given to different types of people. Also, doses recommended are often very small to begin with, then increased gradually.
How are herbs used?
Herbs are used to balance the body, under stress or illness, the body either over functions or under functions, herbs naturally bring the body back to centre.
Often, a combination of herbs is used, the combination works synergistically to address different aspects required by the body, and are more effective.
Herbalists take many factors into account when recommending herbs, including the species and variety of the plant, the plant's habitat, how it was stored and processed, and whether or not there are contaminants (including heavy metals and pesticides). In addition to the constitution of the individual, the symptoms they are presenting with, looking deeper into the organs and systems that require support, and how the healing is going to progress. Herbalists are trained in the functioning of the body, the pathways of disease and the progression of a cure.
What is herbal medicine good for?
Herbal medicine is used to treat many conditions, such as asthma, eczema, premenstrual syndrome, rheumatoid arthritis, migraine, menopausal symptoms, chronic fatigue, and irritable bowel syndrome, among others. Herbal supplements are best taken under the guidance of a trained health care provider
Buying standardised herbal supplements helps ensure you will get the right dose and the effects similar to human clinical trials. Ask your doctor or pharmacist about which herbal supplements are the best choice for your health concerns.
Who is using herbal medicine?
Over 70% of the world population use herbs as their main form of Healthcare, according to a study by the World Health Organisation. Their widespread use today, and their use over many millenia means that we have to step back from the bad publicity that herbs have been given over the recent years, and consider how much of it is scaremongering. If we look at the data, and compare side effects and adverse reactions of herbs against the side effects and adverse reactions against chemically produced drugs, the facts speak for theirselves.
How is herbal medicine taken?
The herbs are taken in several different forms: teas, syrups, oils, liquid extracts, tinctures, and dry extracts (pills or capsules). Teas can be made from dried herbs left to soak for a few minutes in hot water, or by boiling herbs in water and then straining the liquid. Syrups, made from concentrated extracts and added to sweet-tasting preparations, are often used for sore throats and coughs. Oils are extracted from plants and often used as rubs for massage, either by themselves or as part of an ointment or cream. Tinctures and liquid extracts are made of active herbal ingredients dissolved in a liquid (usually water, alcohol, or glycerol). Tinctures are typically a 1:5 or 1:10 concentration, meaning that one part of the herb is prepared with five to ten parts (by weight) of the liquid. Liquid extracts are more concentrated than tinctures and are typically a 1:1 concentration. A dry extract form is the most concentrated form of an herbal product (typically 2:1 - 8:1) and is sold as a tablet, capsule, or lozenge.
Herbs can be used in many different ways depending on the part of the body we are working on. For example, drops may be given for the ears, capsules for the intestines, powders for the mouth, oesophagus and stomach, enemas for the colon, oils for the skin and so on.
What is the future of herbal medicine?
In the UK herbs are being classified as drugs and are regulated. The German Commission E, an expert medical panel, actively researches their safety and effectiveness. There have been many research studies performed on herbs and their medicinal uses.
At the time of writing, in 2011, in the UK, the Herbal Medicine field is being harmonised and plans for the statutory regulation of Herbal Medicine are underway.
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