Herbal medicine is the use of whole plants and their powerhouse of active constituents to treat illness and maintain health. It has been practised for thousands of years and is still used by 80% of the world’s population today.
Medical herbalists are trained in the same diagnostic skills as GPs and much of their training is similar to a conventional medical degree. However, their approach is very different. Herbalists ask a lot of questions about your past medical history, current condition and lifestyle to build a really clear picture of your whole health. In this way, herbalists are able to treat the root cause of a problem as well as helping to alleviate the symptoms.
Herbal medicine can be used on its own or alongside orthodox treatment to treat an array of common health problems for which you would usually visit your doctor. These include:
- Skin problems such as eczema, psoriasis and acne
- Digestive problems including IBS, reflux and indigestion
- Allergies such as asthma and hayfever
- Coughs and colds
- Anxiety, stress, low mood and difficulty sleeping
- Circulation problems, high blood pressure and high cholesterol
- Fertility, pregnancy and breast-feeding issues
- Hormonal problems including Type II diabetes, thyroid issues, irregular/heavy/painful mensturation, PCOS, endometriosis, menopause and BPH (enlarged prostate)
- Joint/muscular aches and pains e.g. arthritis (rheumatoid or osteo-) or fibromyalgia
- Fatigue syndromes such as chronic fatigue and ME
- Low energy and stamina
- Long-term health problems requiring on-going support and management
The herbal prescription is most commonly in the form of a tincture (a concentrated herbal extract in an alcohol and water base). Herbal blend teas, capsules and powders may also be given. For external use, creams, lotions, ointments or oils may be prescribed.
The effectiveness of herbs to treat ill health is continually being validated by pharmacological research and clinical trials. Herbal medicine is suitable for people of all ages, including children, and it can work independently or support conventional medication.
All medical herbalists are trained to advise on the safety of any herb/drug interaction and referrals will be made to GPs or other healthcare practitioner if necessary.
Find out more about Oxford based herbalist Katie