Herbs have been used since ancient times to treat people’s health problems. Today’s herbalists benefit from the experiences of practitioners and lay people using herbs for nourishment and healing over thousands of years giving a wealth of information on approaches from all over the world that address an individual’s unique health profile.
When we talk about using the ‘whole herb’, it means that rather than extracting specific chemical elements from the herb, tinctures, decoctions, aromatic waters or dried herbs are made from the whole leaf, root, seeds or flower so that the natural balance of all the chemical elements remains, empathetic with the body’s biochemistry, providing a healing environment. Many herbs are ‘amphoteric’ meaning they work according to the needs of the body, rather than by forcing or preventing, allowing e.g. hormone levels to balance out deficiencies or excesses.
Herbalists learn the Latin names of the herbs for exact identification. They learn how they grow, how they look, smell, taste and feel in each format (tincture/tea/decoction/aromatic waters), the effects of their mix of constituents, how they work and how to use each herb alone and in combination safely.
How does Herbalism make me better?
URHP herbalists select herbs for the individual client guided not only by that person’s presenting symptoms but also according to their ‘energetics’. So we look at whether the individual’s symptoms are causing heat or cold in the body, excess or deficiency, dryness of dampness. If, with your cough and runny nose, you have a fever (internal heat which is coming out), you will be given different herbs from those who have the same symptoms but a cold, damp presentation.
Using herbs in the naturopathic fashion, we treat the symptoms and the underlying causes behind them so ultimately the body’s environment no longer supports this condition nor is suitable for it to recur. So if your cough turned out to be due to parasites, the approach would be to treat the parasites as well as the persistent cough, and teach you how to maintain an internal environment that would not suit parasites returning.
Herbal treatment may be given alone or in conjunction with my other practices according to your preferences, needs and what is indicated for your best way forward.
In my practice I may use nail, iris, tongue, pulse diagnosis but most commonly diagnostic kinesiology (Muscle Response Testing) or dowsing to identify your symptoms and their underlying causes. Muscle Response Testing is also used to make sure your mixture is exactly right for you and that it is taken in the required dose for your earliest recovery.
Who is Herbalism suitable for?
People of any age can benefit from herbal treatments. Tinctures contain a very low quantity of alcohol and though this can be steamed off by using boiling water, many people prefer to take capsules, teas, powders or aromatic waters which are the more usual treatment method for children.
During the first trimester, pregnant women seldom take herbs nowadays. Some herbs are contraindicated in pregnancy and to be on the safe side, most pregnant women prefer not to take anything at this time, but there are suitable herbs that can be very beneficial, so the option is your own.