Herbal medicine is both an ancient art and modern science.
It is the oldest form of health care known to humankind and herbs have been used in all cultures throughout history. Modern Medical Herbalism is increasingly being validated by scientific investigation, supporting what herbalists have known for many centuries.
Many modern pharmaceuticals have been modelled on or are derived from chemicals found in plants e.g heart medication Digoxin, which is derived from foxglove and aspirin from willow bark. These medicines are made by extracting an isolated part from the plant or using a synthesised constituent. Herbal medicine however, uses the whole plant and therefore nature’s wisdom, as all the active phytochemicals work in beautiful harmony together. This is called herbal synergy and what herbalists believe is the key principle of herbal medicine.
For example ephedrine, an early asthma drug, was first isolated from the herb Ephedra, traditionally used to treat chest complaints. One of the side effects of ephedrine is that is raises the blood pressure. The herb Ephedra however, contains amongst many, a compound which actually lowers blood pressure. So the herbal remedy has many complex compounds which intelligently work together to support each other and counteract possible side effects.
Another example of herbal synergy can be found in the plant meadowsweet, which is used for stomach complaints. The plant contains salicylic acid which is closely related to aspirin. Salicylic acid itself can cause internal bleeding from the stomach, but meadowsweet also contains compounds known as polyphenols, which protect the stomach, thus making it safe for use.
Herbal medicine is derived from leaves, bark, berries, roots, petals and they work in unison to help build vitality, nourish the tissues and organs, whilst supporting the various body systems. It treats and helps prevent illnesses and infections and is suited to people of all ages, from babies to the elderly.
Herbal preparations may be prescribed in liquid tincture (containing some ethanol), tablets, capsule, topical creams or dried herbs to be used for teas or decoctions.
Herbal Medicine is very safe, when prescribed by a fully qualified Medical Herbalist.