Western Herbal Medicine
How does it work?
Most prescriptions are in a water/alcohol herbal extract containing high and potent levels of phytochemicals, and combining 4 – 6 herbs. Choice of herbs are based on traditional knowledge from historical literature; science based research which has identified key phytochemicals and associated actions that inform our choices; clinical based research which means human trials; and case histories from informed practitioners which fuel further research. Herbs can affect many pathways in the human body, directly and via metabolites; hence potential drug interactions must be avoided. Being on a mainstream drug does not automatically exclude you from taking herbal medicine, many are suitable for a complementary approach, with only a few a definite NO.
What does it involve?
Treatment time may last for 3 months to 18 months, and is completely dependent on the condition and patient. Herbal medicine will mostly be taken 2-3 times daily, occasionally more symptomatically. The most common form is in a tincture, but teas and tablets may also be appropriate. Topical preparations are also available as creams, oils and suppositories/pessaries. Equally important is the therapeutic relationship between patient and practitioner. The initial consultation is 45 minutes, follow up consultations for 20 minutes, plus onsite dispensing time. Follow up intervals will be agreed with the patient, and after an initial 2 week check-up, intervals may be 6 – 8 weeks apart.
What is it good for?
Herbal medicine is a particularly good approach for chronic conditions and ill health that is ill-defined by general practice, as we step back and take time to really investigate how the whole body interacts and impacts on symptoms – nothing happens in isolation. Particular strong areas include:
- Skin conditions – psoriasis, eczema, acne
- Nervous system – anxiety, stress, nervous breakdown, panic attacks, insomnia, migraines
- Respiratory system – asthma, bronchitis, hay fever, immune system support
- Muscular skeletal – rheumatoid and osteoarthritis, post-trauma wound healing
- Gastro-intestinal system – constipation, cramps, diarrhoea, digestion, IBS, dysbiosis
- Endocrine system – diabetes support
- Women’s health & hormones – endometriosis, fibroids, hormone imbalance, menopause, PMT, menorrhagia, dysmenorrhea, thyrotoxicosis
- Cardiovascular system – hypertension, hypotension, hypercholesterolaemia
- Urinary system – infections, prostate problems
- Other – Chronic fatigue syndrome, general debilitation, recouperation, cachexia, anaemia, hepatic support.
Therapists who provide Western Herbal Medicine at The Therapy Room Cambridge