Herbal medicine is a system of healing that has been used for centuries. Almost every culture on the planet has their own form of herbal medicine that has developed according to the plants growing indigenously in their locality, and been shaped by their unique ways and belief systems.
Western herbal medicine originated in Europe and is the foundation of modern herbal practice. Modern herbalism has further expanded and today integrates the knowledge and wisdom from the herbalists from the Americas and Asia.
Herbal medicine harnesses the power of plants to facilitate healing and promote optimum health. Particular parts of plants are used to make medicines, such as flowers, leaves, roots and bark. The part used varies according to the plant and the desired effect.
Medicinal herbs contain many active constituents that support the body gently to restore balance. We can identify of these active metabolites, but there are many more yet to be discovered. Modern technology is allowing us to identify these plant phytochemicals and how they work. Many research trials have validated the benefits and safety of medicinal herbs that have been in use for centuries.
When herbs are prescribed by a qualified herbalist, they are extremely safe. Side effects from herbs are uncommon as the herbs gently support the inherent healing force within the body to improve normal function and restore balance.
Herbal medicine is very effective and can be used by almost everyone, from pregnant women, to babies, and even the elderly. Herbs are effective in treating many health conditions, including acute illnesses such as colds, earache, sore throats and coughs, as well as many chronic conditions.
Those who are taking pharmaceutical medication and anyone with chronic health conditions should always see a qualified herbalist before taking any herbal product to avoid adverse herb-drug interactions. Qualified herbalists will know the appropriate herbs to prescribe.
Herbal medicines are given in various forms according to the requirements of each individual client. Tinctures are commonly prescribed (a ‘herbal formula’) and usually contains up to 5 or 6 different herbs, which synergistically interact to enhance the action of each component. The medicinal effect is therefore greater than the sum of its individual parts. Other ways to administer herbs are as teas, decoctions, creams, ointments, pessaries, tablets and capsules. The herbalist will take a thorough history and choose a formulation that supports the uniqueness of each individual client.