Western Herbal Medicine focuses on the use of plants from the British Isles and Europe and are mainly prescribed in tincture form (a liquid blend of herbs in a small amount of alcohol), loose herb teas and/or tablets/capsules. These different methods of prescription mean that it is suitable for children and those who are unable to consume alcohol due to religious reasons. It is important to be aware that herbal medicine can be even more effective when the client incorporates suggested dietary and/or lifestyle changes into their treatment plan.
Herbalists work with the whole person, providing a bespoke treatment taking into account symptoms, physiology and constitutional type. This approach offers long term effective results to assist the body’s natural healing process.
What do I need to tell a practitioner when I appear for a consultation?
A detailed medical history will be required. I need to know what your complaint is e.g. migraine, insomnia, period pain, etc. so that I can be fully informed of your condition and possible treatment options.
What other information is required?
You will need to tell me about any past surgery/medical treatments you have had, including any surgery/treatments which are due?
Do I need to tell a practitioner about my family history?
Yes. A family history of an illness such as diabetes may predispose you to it, even if you do not have it at present. If you have a family history of diabetes, your diet, lifestyle and the way you handle stress will be all the more prevalent.
What about the prescription medicine and supplements I am on now?
You will need to provide a list of medicines and supplements you are on, so as to avoid any contraindications with herbal medicine.
I drink 3 coffees a day. Will I have to change my diet and lifestyle?
The idea of a treatment is to reduce the offending symptoms in order to make you feel better and put you in control of your health. A varied diet and everything in moderation is the key to good health.
What else occurs in a consultation?
Blood pressure and pulse are taken. A physical examination may be required, but this is dependant on your complaint. Therefore if you are complaining of tummy problems, I will need to feel your tummy area, much like your GP would.
Is herbal medicine suitable for children?
Yes. There are herbal medicine alternatives to alcohol, such as glycerites which contain sugar, capsules and tablets. Children under 16 will need to be accompanied by an adult.
Are herbal medicines safe?
As a natural medicine, herbal medicine is only safe in the right hands, which is why we encourage everyone to visit a practitioner. There can be negative interactions with prescriptive medicine when people do not have the right information, hence why buying over-the-counter medicines is not advised without guidance.
How do I take the Herbal medicine
Pleasant-tasting herbal teas, capsules, tablets, creams and lotions may also be prescribed. The most efficacious form of herbal medicine is in tincture form. This is comprised of the plant herb which has been preserved in a little alcohol. Around 5ml of tincture with a small amount of water or juice added is required to be taken around 3 times a day. For convenience, this can be adjusted to 7.5 mls twice a day, first thing in the morning and last thing before bed. Capsules or tablets will be prescribed accordingly.