Seeing a herbalist
LEAVES + FLOWERS + ROOTS = MEDICINE
Herbal medicines are plant-based medicines made from differing combinations of plant parts such as the leaves, flowers or roots. Each part can have different medicinal uses and the many types of chemical constituents require different extraction methods. Both fresh and dried plant matter are used, depending on the herb.
Herbal Medicine is suitable for people of any age, including children, who respond especially well to the gentle actions of herbs. Each patient is treated as an individual – a medical herbalist recognises that no two patients are the same. This is a two way relationship where you do not remain passive, but are empowered to take control of your health. Herbalists treat the whole person exploring areas of your lifestyle such as diet, and exercise and emotional well-being.
WHAT HAPPENS DURING A CONSULTATION?
During your first consultation your herbalist will build up a picture of you and your health. You might discuss the nature, onset and progression of your complaint, as well as any investigations you have had to date.
This could look at:
- medical history
- family history
- treatment history (including prescriptions and any over the counter products)
- social history (such as smoking, alcohol, exercise and social life)
If necessary your herbalists may ask if you would mind a physical examination to assist with the diagnosis, which could include:
- taking your blood pressure
- listening to your chest lungs or torso with a stethoscope
- looking more closely your skin, tongue, mouth, eyes, hands or nails
- gently pressing on and around your abdomen
- asking you to move your limbs
- checking your reflexes
- asking you to complete a cognitive task
You could also be referred for further tests with your GP or privately
This allows your herbalist to assess the underlying causes of your illness and formulate a mixture of herbs tailored to your individual needs. Your herbalist will explain which herbs they are prescribing and why so that you will understand exactly why you are taking them and what to expect.
Your individual treatment plan will include herbal remedies and, where appropriate, dietary changes or nutritional supplements. Most herbal medicines are given in the form of a liquid tincture that is taken in 5ml doses of two or three times daily. You may also be prescribed a herbal tea, tablets, ointment, cream or lotion.
After the initial consultation, three or four shorter consultations are usually necessary to assess your progress, followed by check-ups every three to six months, depending on the nature of your condition. Because herbal medicines work in a gentle and subtle way, they can take longer to work than orthodox drugs, but their effects are long lasting and there should be no side effects.
Your herbalist will build up a picture of you and your health by:
- Taking your full case history
- Asking about your family’s medical history
- Discussing your diet and lifestyle
- Finding out about any medication or supplements you use
Make an appointment to find out more - Find a local herbalist