Herbal medicine is the oldest and still the most widely used system of medicine in the world today and is common to all societies and cultures. Herbal preparations, are derived exclusively from plants prepared with both the benefit of the experience passed down from generation to generation coupled with the enormous body of scientific research now available in this field.
Herbal medicine is increasingly being validated by scientific investigation which seeks to understand the active chemistry of the plant. Many modern pharmaceuticals have been modelled on, or derived from chemicals found in plants. An example is the heart medication digoxin derived from foxglove (Digitalis purpurea).
Herbalists prefer the crude plant form of a medicine instead of pure chemicals refined from plants, they believe that the biological complexity of humans is ideally matched by treatment with natural remedies of biological complexity – plants!.
Using plants as medicine provides significant advantages for treating many conditions. The therapeutic activity of a plant is due to its complex chemical nature with different parts of the plant providing certain therapeutic effects.
Herbs may be able to help in the treatment many chronic disorders such as arthritis, asthma, skin conditions, digestive problems, period pain, premenstrual tension, excessive disordered menstruation, menopausal symptoms and many more. It is also used helping to improving the functioning of the immune system.
Your NHAA (National Herbalists Association Of Australia) accredited medical herbalist is in the best position to select an appropriate combination of plant remedies for you.
What is a medical herbalist?
A medical herbalist:
- is highly trained in the philosophies, principles and practice of western herbal medicine and medical science;
- will assess you as a person and not a disease;
- prescribes and dispenses plant medicines in a safe and effective manner;
- seeks to treat the underlying cause of disease;
- acknowledges the body’s innate ability to heal itself; aims to prevent disease and restore health provides dietary and lifestyle advice;
- maintains high standards of professional practice;
- is an authoritative source of information about natural medicine.
Benefits of consulting an NHAA accredited member means your practitioner:
- is a fully qualified specialist in herbal medicine;
- is recognised by many health funds for rebates;
- abides by a professional Code of Ethics; maintains continuing professional education.
What to expect when consulting a herbalist
A comprehensive consultation including: a detailed case history individually prescribed and dispensed herbal medicines with clear dosage instructions; dietary and lifestyle advice; confidentiality; professionalism.
How long does treatment take?
This will depend completely on the individual and their condition.Some improvement in symptoms may be noted within hours to a day for acute complaints such as a cold or the flu, or within 4-6 weeks for chronic complaints. Chronic problems are particularly well suited to treatment with herbal medicine.
Is herbal medicine safe?
Herbal medicine is very safe and effective when prescribed by a fully qualified herbal practitioner. If you have any questions or concerns about your treatment, please consult your prescribing practitioner.
Reprinted with kind permision of the National Herbalists Association of Australia.