We’re taking a closer look at our therapies and what they can do for you.

For the second post in the series we are looking at Herbal Medicine.

Spotlight on Herbal Medicine

Therapists:  Achara Chavanakunakorn and Sarah Gray

Most Commonly Treated Conditions:

Herbal Medicine can help with many things but commonly seen conditions include allergic conditions such as eczema and hayfever, digestive issues such as irritable bowel syndrome and women’s health issues including PMS and menopausal problems.

 
What advice can you give to someone suffering with eczema: 

To self-treat can be difficult. The underlying causes of irritable bowel syndrome or eczema can be complex and often involves food sensitivities and emotional issues. A medical herbalist is trained to recognize connections between symptoms and understand the underlying cause. Each case is different and a medical herbalist will prescribe specific medication, for each person, as well as offer individualised dietary and lifestyle advice.

However, general advice for managing eczema includes:

  • Keep the skin cool, moist and supple using moisturiser or aloe vera gel.  Epsom salt or oat baths may provide some relief.
  • Assess your diet.  Reduce processed foods, consume lots of fruit and vegetables and take a pro-biotic supplement.
  • Take steps to identify and reduce stress.

What training do you need to become a Medical Herbalist:

In the UK there are a variety of courses available offering degree qualifications.  Bachelor of Science degrees in Herbal Medicine are currently available at Lincoln University, University of Westminster, University of East London and Middlesex University.

Training is a rigorous process similar to a GP’s training. It consists of the study of anatomy and physiology, pathophysiology, differential diagnosis and the study of medicinal plants. This includes the scientific study of the actions and constituents of the medicinal plants, drawing on modern scientific research studies as well as empirical and traditional bodies of knowledge. Students of herbal medicine carry out more than 500 hours of clinic hours where they carry out consultations in a supervised setting.

Achara has a BSc Herbal Medicine from University of Westminster.

Sarah has a BSc  Herbal Medicine from University of East London.

 

What happens during a Herbal Medicine consultation:  

During the first consultation a herbalist will discuss your case at length and take a full medical history. This will include previous illnesses, current medication, family medical history and information about all the different systems in the body. This may mean that a herbalist will ask questions that do not seem relevant but may help the herbalist to understand the case more fully. A herbalist will also ask about dietary habits and social history so that they can offer dietary and lifestyle advice that may be relevant. Blood pressure and pulse are taken and if relevant other physical examinations.

From this a herbalist will develop a treatment plan and prescribe a medicine often in the form of a liquid tincture or alternatively herbal teas or both. Dietary and lifestyle advice is often given.  The herbalist will give an idea of how long the treatment should take depending on the type of case and a follow up consultation is usually made for three weeks time.

You should allow 1 hour and quarter for your initial consultation.  Follow up appointments last for 45 minutes where your progress and remedies are reviewed.

 

You should try Herbal Medicine if: 

You have been experiencing symptoms that have been troubling you for a while or are recurring and you have not found any solution to the problems elsewhere.

Herbal medicine is the oldest branch of medicine and was used long before orthodox medicine ever existed. You’ll be amazed how well it works!

 

For more information or to book an appointment, call us on 020 8520 5268.