What is Western
Herbal medicine with herbalist Frances Watkins
Traditional or Western herbal medicine, also known as phytotherapy, is one of the oldest forms of practised medicine in the world, used to nurture and restore the body. It is a natural medicine that is suitable for adults, children and babies.
Herbalists work with fresh or dried medicinal plants which may be prescribed in the form of teas, tinctures, capsules and tablets or used topically in oils or creams. The herbal formulations are holistic, supporting the whole person and tailored to each individual.
The National Institute of Medical Herbalists (NIMH) was founded in 1864 and is the oldest professional body of traditional herbal practitioners in Western herbal medicine. All practitioner members are trained in medical sciences and governed by a comprehensive Code of Ethics and Conduct.
Medical herbalists are trained to take a detailed client case history, lasting up to one hour and will discuss a personal plan including herbal medication, lifestyle and nutritional advice. Many too, make traditional herbal remedies including tinctures, infused oils and skin creams.
Medical herbalists help patients with a variety of conditions:
Increasingly, more people are experiencing allergic reactions to a variety of irritants including animal hair, dust mites, perfumes, metals and household cleaners. Traditional herbal medicine is effective in alleviating these allergies and in asthma and hay fever, can reduce inflammation and support the immune system.
Anxiety, Insomnia and Stress
Herbal medicine can help many of us with hectic schedules when feel low in energy. Frequently we experience poor sleep patterns, sometimes waking in the early hours of the morning. Over a period of time this can deplete the body’s natural defence mechanisms resulting in fatigue.
Coughs, Colds and Flu
Herbal tinctures and teas are very effective in relieving symptoms of coughs, colds and flu, an infectious viral illness. Reducing muscle tension in the chest area and thinning and expelling mucus, the herbal medication will soothe the airways and lungs and support the body by increasing its natural defence mechanisms in supporting the immune system.
Digestive Complaints and Irritable Bowel Syndrome
Refined processed foods often include copious amounts of sugar e.g. breakfast cereals - check next time you shop. In the long term, a high consumption of sugar can have a damaging effect on the digestive system, which in turn, puts increasing demands on the liver, kidneys and pancreas.
Eczema, Psoriasis and Acne
Chronic skin conditions can improve with herbal medicines that increase blood supply to the inflamed area and eliminate toxins. Herbal creams and lotions can also help to combat fungal infections.
Infertility, Menstrual Irregularities and Menopause
Whether you are experiencing irregular periods, infertility or menopause these can all be stressful times. During the menopause you may experience, fatigue, irritability, insomnia, hot flushes, headaches and a sense of being unable to cope. Peri and post-menopausal women can benefit from herbs to help normalise hormone levels and reduce symptoms.
Muscular and Joint Pain
Certain muscular and joint pain commonly referred to as rheumatism and also called rheumatoid arthritis,
osteoarthritis and gout, can be progressive. Herbal tinctures, lotions and creams can actively help to relieve pain and assist the body in eliminating toxins.
Migraines, Headaches, Palpitations and Varicose Veins
Heart and circulatory conditions that benefit from herbal medicine include angina, elevated blood pressure, headaches, migraines, palpitations, varicose veins and piles.
Lowered immunity increases susceptibility to bacterial infections and autoimmune disorders for example, interstitial cystitis. Stress incontinence, water retention and inflamed prostate gland respond well to herbal medication.
Find out more about a herbal consultation here.
A medical herbalist would not treat acute conditions for example, meningitis. If you are in any doubt about your health, consult your GP without delay.