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Herbal Medicine

Herbal Medicine
Herbal Medicine

In This Article
History How does it work?
A typical appointment What to expect
Timings/ Sessions/ Costs Is it right for you?
Herbal medicine probably has a history as long as mankind itself with recent archaeological evidence suggesting herbal remedies used by Neanderthal man. Evidence of early Shamanic, Egyptian and Greek civilisations all highlight the use of herbs to treat medical conditions. However, herbal medicine's first recorded use is around 3,000 years ago in China.

Shen Nung, a Chinese mythological figure and ruler, is credited as the first teacher of agriculture and forest cultivation in China. He is said to have discovered and tested hundreds of herbs and plants for their medicinal value. His findings were uncovered 2,000 years after his death and compiled into a book containing some 365 medicines derived from the herbs and plants he tested.

During the 16th century, Henry VIII proposed the benefits of herbal medicine and in the 17th century English doctor Nicholas Culpepper explained the practice of herbal medicine in his book 'Herbal: The English Physician'. Herbal medicine was used extensively in the First World War due to pharmaceutical drugs being in short supply and in 1968 the British Herbal Medicine Association was founded.

Plants and herbs contain natural substances. These substances have healing properties and can impact on the various functions of the body. By creating herbal medicine for specific conditions and ailments, Herbalists look to boost the immune system, regulate internal organs and aid the body's natural healing process.

Unlike pharmaceutical medicine that takes on a generic prescription to treat everyone, herbal medicine comprises of a number of herbs that are tailored to suit the individual's problem and therefore no two prescriptions will be the same.

Herbal medicines usually comprise of 4-6 herbs that combine to create a natural medicine to help treat a range of health problems. The Herbalist will take into account the species and variety of the plant, how it's been stored and processed and if there are any contaminants present. These factors determine the type of herbal medicine prescription a patient will receive.

Be prepared - It is advisable to choose a herbal medicine practitioner who is a member of, or is accredited by, an association or professional body. This ensures your herbal therapy session is carried out in a suitable environment and by someone who has received formal training and ongoing development. Members are also bound to a code of ethics and practice. The main herbal medicine organisations are listed at the foot of this article.

Herbalists are trained to identify drug-herb interactions and to prescribe herbal medicine that works safely with orthodox medicine. If you are taking prescribed drugs, take them with you to your appointment and make the practitioner aware. Don't drink alcohol on the day of your appointment and avoid eating a large meal as digestion can affect the pattern of your pulse.

Before your session, spend time thinking about your condition and what you expect to achieve with herbal medicine. Make some notes before you attend about your expectations and concerns. If you have a few conditions, put them in order so the Herbalist can address the most severe first. Secondary problems can then be addressed further down the line.

During your appointment, the Herbalist will first make a diagnosis using information provided by you about your general health, your symptoms, your diet, quality of your bowel movements and sleep patterns. The Herbalist will also do a physical examination and check your pulse and blood pressure.

Once the Herbalist has completed their assessment, they will recommend a herbal medicine that will consist of a number of herbs. They will advise you on how to take the medicine and at what times to take it. This prescription may be available on the day of your appointment but sometimes it can take a day or two to prepare so it may be posted to you or you may need to return to pick it up.

Your Herbalist may also make recommendations about changes to your diet and lifestyle. Nutrition can aid the effectiveness of your therapy and the Herbalist may be a trained in nutrition. If they are not, it is advisable to seek a practitioner with the correct training and qualifications in this field.

Treatment times vary and your first appointment will usually take a little longer while the Herbalist diagnoses your problem. Expect to be at your first session for about 60 minutes.

Practitioner's costs vary from town to town but expect your first appointment to cost around £40 with subsequent sessions around £25. You will also be required to pay for your herbal prescription. Again, costs vary but expect to pay £5 - £10 depending on the medicine's formula. Check with your local practitioner before making an appointment.

The number of herbal medicine sessions you will require can depend on your condition. If you have been suffering with a chronic problem over many months then expect the therapy to take longer to work. Your practitioner will advise you on when to book a follow up appointment so they can assess your progress and make adjustments to your prescription should it be required.

Herbal medicine has proved to be an effective therapy for many people with varying conditions. The medicine is safe and can be used as a complementary therapy alongside pharmaceutical medicine. However, you should inform your practitioner about any prescribed drugs or medications you are taking.

Consult with your GP and Herbalist about any medical problems or concerns you have as they are trained to recognise what can and cannot be treated with the therapy.

This therapy or modality may help with:

Abdominal Pain Acne Addiction
ADHD Allergies Anemia
Angina Anxiety Arthritis
Asthma Athletes Foot Back Pain
Bad Breath (Halitosis) Bereavement Blood pressure
Bloody Nose Breathing disorders Bronchitis
Bulimia Bunion Calluses
Cancers Catarrh Childbirth
Cholesterol Issues Chronic Fatigue Chronic Pain
Circulation Problems Common cold Constipation
Corns Cracked Heel Cystitis
Dementia Depression Dermatitis
Diabetes Diarrhoea Digestive Problems
Drug addiction Dry eye Dry mouth
Dysmenorrhea Ear Ache Eating Disorders
Eczema Endometriosis Epilepsy
Erectile Dysfunction Excessive Sweating Fainting
Fever Flu Food sensitivities
Gastroenteritis (stomach flu) Glandular Fever Glue ear
Hair Loss Hay Fever Headaches
Heart Burn Heart disease HIV
Hormone Imbalance Hyperhidrosis Immune System Dysfunction
Impetigo Impotence Incontinence
Indigestion Infant colic Infertility
Influenza (Flu) Insomnia Irritable Bowel Syndrome (IBS)
Itching Joint Pain Ligament Sprain
Lumbago Lymphedema M E
Menopausal symptoms Migraines Morning sickness
Mouth ulcers Multiple Sclerosis MS Muscle Cramps
Nausea Neck pain Neck stiffness
Nightmares Nosebleed (Epistaxis) Obesity
OCD Osteoporosis Panic Attacks
Parkinsons disease Period pain PMS PMT
Post operative pain Pregnancy Psoriasis
Rheumatism Runny Nose Sciatica
Shingles Shoulder pain Sinusitis
Sleep disorders Smoking Addiction Snoring
Sore throat Sports injuries Stomach cramps
Stress Stroke Thyroid Problems
Tinnitus Tiredness Tonsillitis
Toothache Tremors Ulcerative colitis
Urinary Problems Varicose Veins Vomiting
Warts Watery Eye Weight Management
Whiplash Withdrawal Symptoms

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About Therapist Qualifications

British Herbal Medicine Association (BHMA) British Herbal Medicine Association (BHMA) More Info National Institute of Medical Herbalists (NIMH) National Institute of Medical Herbalists (NIMH) More Info
The College of Practitioners of Phytotherapy (CPP) The College of Practitioners of Phytotherapy (CPP) More Info The Association Of Traditional Chinese Medicine ATCM The Association Of Traditional Chinese Medicine ATCM More Info


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