Herbs and Helpers

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Jul 20

About Western Herbal Medicine

Herbal Medicine Products like Traditional Chinese Herbal Medicine

About Western Herbal Medicine and Herbs

What is Herbal Medicine?

About Western Herbal Medicine Western Dried Herbal Medicines

Herbal Medicine is the use of plant remedies in the treatment of disease. It is the oldest form of medicine known. Our ancestors, by trial and error, found the most effective local plants to heal their illnesses. Now, with the advancement of science enabling us to identify the chemical constituents within these plants, we can better understand their healing powers.Herbalism, in this country, is now classed as an ‘alternative’ or ‘complementary’ discipline but it is still the most widely practised form of medicine world-wide with over 80% of the world’s population relying on herbs for health. About Western Herbal Medicine and herbs:

The Herbalist’s Approach

Medical Herbalists are trained in the same diagnostic skills as orthodox doctors but take a more holistic approach to illness. The underlying cause of the problem is sought and, once identified, it is this which is treated rather than the symptoms alone. The reason for this is that treatment or suppression of symptoms will not rid the body of the disease itself. Herbalists use their remedies to restore the balance of the body thus enabling it to mobilise its own healing powers.

The first consultation will generally take at least an hour. The Herbalist will take notes on the patient’s medical history and begin to build a picture of the person as a whole being. Healing is a matter of teamwork with patient, practitioner and the prescribed treatment all working together to restore the body to health.

Treatment may include advice about diet and lifestyle as well as the herbal medicine. The second appointment may follow in two weeks, subsequent ones occurring monthly – this will depend on the individual herbalist, the patient and the illness concerned.

How Do Herbs Work?

People have always relied on plants for food to nourish and sustain the body. Herbal medicine can be seen in the same way.

Plants with a particular affinity for certain organs or systems of the body are used to ‘feed’ and restore to health those parts which have become weakened. As the body is strengthened so is its power and ability to fight off disease and when balance and harmony are restored, health will be regained.

What are the Differences between Pharmaceutical and Herbal Drugs?

Many of the pharmaceutical drugs used today are based on plant constituents and, even now, when scientists are seeking new ‘cures’ for diseases it is to the plant world that they turn. They find, extract and then synthesise in the laboratory a single active constituent from the plant (the active constituent is the part of the plant that has a therapeutic value), this can then be manufactured on a large scale.
Herbal drugs, however, are extracts from a part of the whole plant (e.g. leaves, roots, berries etc.) and contain hundreds, perhaps thousands of plant constituents.

Herbalists believe that the active constituents are balanced within the plant and are made more (or less) powerful by the numerous other substances present. For example, the herb Ephedra sinica is the source of the alkaloid ephedrine which is the source of the alkaloid ephedrine which is used, in orthodox medicine, to treat asthma and nasal congestion but it has the side effect of raising blood pressure.

Within the whole plant are six other alkaloids one of which prevents a rise in blood pressure. Synthetic diuretics (drugs that increase the flow of urine) seriously reduce the potassium level in the body, this has to be restored using potassium supplements. The Herbalist uses dandelion leaves which are a potent diuretic but contain potassium to naturally replace that which is lost.

What about Herbal Medicine consultations?

Herbal medicine consultations can be given for almost any condition that patients might take to their doctor. Common complaints seen by herbalists include skin problems such as psoriasis, acne and eczema, digestive disorders such as peptic ulcers, colitis, irritable bowel syndrome and indigestion. Problems involving the heart and circulation like angina, high blood pressure, varicose veins, varicose ulcers etc. also gynaecological disorders like pre-menstrual syndrome and menopausal problems, also conditions such as arthritis, insomnia, stress, migraine and headaches, tonsillitis, influenza and allergic responses like hayfever and asthma. Qualified herbalists know when a condition is best seen by a doctor or another therapist.

Herbs and Helpers discuss treatment options verbally only.

HERBS AND HELPERS | Lorraine Hodgkinson AHG MRCHM | 6, Butts Fold, Cockermouth, Cumbria, CA13 9HY.  UK. | Tel: +44 (0) 1900 826392 | Text: 07761 489838 | Email: info@herbalmedicineuk.com