Medical Herbalists can effectively treat both chronic and acute conditions. Herbs are particularly useful in the treatment of stress related problems including headaches and insomnia; allergic conditions such as asthma and hay fever; digestive disorders; gynaecological disorders including PMS and menopausal problems; high blood pressure; arthritis; and skin disorders, as well as coughs, colds and the ‘flu’. In fact, Herbal Medicine can treat most conditions, for which you might visit your GP.
TREATING THE WHOLE PERSON
The approach of a Medical Herbalist is to treat the whole person by concentrating on the underlying cause or causes of the condition. During the initial consultation you will be asked not only about your current condition, but also about your full medical history, any medication being taken, any medical conditions that run in the family and an overview of your lifestyle and diet. Depending on the condition there may also be a physical examination. The initial consultation will last one hour. Normally there will be a follow up consultation two weeks later lasting half an hour. Subsequent appointments would be at intervals of four to six weeks, depending on the condition. Medical Herbalists are trained to recognise when a condition requires referral to a doctor, other therapist or specialists.
Herbal medicine has been practised in Europe since prehistoric times. What began with trial and error, developed through the centuries into a strong body of traditional knowledge that formed the basis of medicine as we know it today.
Orthodox medicine and modern herbalism have grown from the same root, the training is similar, as are the diagnostic skills used. But where your GP would normally prescribe manufactured drugs which have come from a variety of sources, a herbalist uses only pure plant extracts.
HERBS VERSUS DRUGS
Manufactured drugs usually contain only one constituent with a specific activity. The whole plant extracts used by herbalists contain a wide spectrum of active constituents and often one plant can be used to treat a large number of different conditions.
Science now enables us to identify many of the constituents in herbs responsible for their medicinal activity. A number of these have been extracted singly to create orthodox drugs. On the other hand Herbalists recognise that it is the balance of constituents within the whole herb that work together synergistically to treat the person and help to reduce the chance of side-effects.
After the consultation, the Herbalist will formulate the medicine. The herbal medicine is usually dispensed in tincture form. This is a liquid, an alcohol-based extract of the whole herb. Several herbal tinctures are mixed together to form a prescription unique to you and your condition. A dose of 5-10ml is normally taken two or three times a day with water. No further preparation is required. The medicine may also be dispensed in dried herb form to drink as a tea. The preparation here is just the same as making a pot of tea and can usually be drunk either hot or cold. Your prepared medicine is then available for collection the following day.
NATIONAL INSTITUTE OF MEDICAL HERBALISTS
All members of the National Institute of Medical Herbalists have at least four years of university level education in herbal medicine, including a minimum of six hundred hours of supervised clinical training. All members are fully insured, and adhere to a strict professional code of ethics. They have the letters MNIMH or FNIMH following their names. For further information, call the NIMH on 01392 426022 or visit their web page on: www.btinternet.com/~nimh/.
Our specialist in herbal medicine is Martin Logue. Do contact the clinic to arrange an appointment.
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