Introduction To Herbal MedicineHerbal medicine is the use of plant remedies (ointments, oils, dried parts, and extracts) in the treatment of disease. Along with massage, it is the oldest form of medicine known to man.
Originally plants were found by trial and error and their effectiveness established over the millennia. Today, this wealth of knowledge is enhanced by scientific verification of a plant's chemical constituents, enabling practitioners to mix and prescribe plants with a high degree of accuracy and understanding. Over 80% of the worlds population rely on herbs for health and as such it is still the most widely used form of medicine in the world even though we think of it as an alternative therapy.
Herbal medicines, are extracts from whole parts of a plant (e.g. berries, leaves, roots etc.), they contain hundreds, sometimes thousands of plant constituents.
It is the Herbalists contention that these other constituents balance the 'active' ingredients, making them more or less powerful.
In orthodox medicine, for example, an alkaloid from the herb Ephedra sinica is used to treat asthma, it has the side effect, however, of raising the blood pressure. Within the whole plant are six other alkaloids, one of which prevents a rise in blood pressure.
Similarly, synthetic diuretics (drugs which increase the flow of urine) also have the effect of seriously reducing potassium. Herbalists prefer Dandelion leaves which are a powerful diuretic but also contain potassium to naturally restore the potassium which is lost.
Herbs help to stimulate the body to do what it is supposed to, thereby helping the body to help itself.
Different cultures have their own philosophies with regards to the use of herbs; here at Cure by Nature, as the resident herbalist I use Western and Chinese Herbal Medicine.
What sorts of conditions can Herbal Medicine Treat?
Herbal Medicine can be useful for almost any condition – whether it has been there for just a short while (such as a cold) or a long time (such as irritable bowel syndrome).
You can even see a Herbalist for a general health screen, to check that you are doing all the right things! If you are unsure whether Herbal Medicine is suitable for you, come in and speak to one of our practitioners, who will be happy to advise you.
Herbal Medicine is safe to use for most people, including babies, children, pregnant women and the elderly.
Keep in mind however that some herbs can interact with prescribed medication and are unsuitable in certain circumstances (particularly pregnancy, breast-feeding and professional athletes).
For this reason, it is always best to see a qualified therapist for a suitable prescription.
I often combine herbal medicine with acupuncture, it is more effective in the treatment of a wide range of chronic illnesses
Acupuncture at Cure By Nature: clinics at 95 Repligham Road london SW18 5LU and 211-213 kensington High Street London W8 6BD