WHAT IS WESTERN HERBAL MEDICINE?
Updated: Nov 10, 2022
Western Herbal Medicine is the clinical practice of healing using naturally occurring plant material with little or no industrial processing.
Herbal extracts are made from crude plant material and include the roots, rhizome, bark, and flowers, and are used in multiple formulations to treat disease and dysfunction, and to promote balance within the body.
Herbal medicine is the oldest form of therapy practised by mankind, who’s own instincts led healers to the right plant since ancient times, and guiding him/her on exactly how to use it. Many of today’s modern medicines were created by isolating the active constituents of these medicinal plants, creating lifesaving remedies.
However, ancient and modern day herbalists agree that a plants medicinal qualities are truly potent and effective when all constituents work together synergistically, therefore using whole plant and when keeping it as close to its natural state as possible.
Herbal treatments are directed at the cause of the problem, focusing holistically on the whole person with the intent to strengthen the person’s overall constitution.
It involves using plants from Europe, Northern America, and parts of Asia to create medicines to help prevent or treat various illnesses, and working synergistically with the bodies innate ability to heal itself.
Reasons why I love herbal medicine:
I have personally witnessed some amazing results in clinic using liquid formulas and powered extracts alike, including on myself.
A personalised liquid herbal formula can be made specifically to a client’s individual needs on a case by case basis.
You can potentially use one formula to treat multiple health conditions by creating a blend which targets the body systems needing support simultaneously.
When taking herbs in liquid form, they are more easily absorbed making it ideal for those with comprised digestion.
You can also find herbal medicines in practitioner grade, super concentrated powdered from in capsules or tablets which make them easy to take when travelling.
They can be used to complement other alternative or even conventional therapies.
Herbal remedies can be used to improve digestive, respiratory, circulatory, immune, endocrine, reproductive and nervous systems. They can help to remove waste and toxins from the body, help support a healthy stress response, improve sleep and mood, or be used topically to promote healing of the skin.
If you are still unsure, some of the most researched herbal medicines today are the likes of Echinacea - a powerful lymphatic and immune system modulator, Ginseng and Ginkgo biloba as an anti-inflammatory, cognitive enhancer and circulatory stimulant, Elderberry an amazing antiviral, antioxidant and antimicrobial made mainstream and available readily in every pharmacy for the treatment of colds and flus, St Johns Wort is an potent antidepressant, and Turmeric is of course THE amazing all-rounder anti-inflammatory herb, also amazing for detoxification of the liver, rheumatic conditions and immune boosting. Others include Ginger, Valerian and Chamomile also amongst the most popular and mainstream.
These are just the tip of the iceberg and there are hundreds of herbal medicines used in clinical practice and which have been used for centuries.
To me in clinic, working with only nutritional support is like working one handed as so many health conditions can benefit from the combination of nutritional medicine and herbal medicine.
Its important to remember as these herbs are potent medicines and they should be respected, therefore I always recommend working with a qualified practitioner when using them to ensure there are no contra-indications or interactions with other types of supplements or medications.
If you feel as though exploring Western Herbal Medicine could be right for you, be sure to book an appointment for an in depth and holistic exploration of your health so we can work together to tailor a treatment plan for your individual needs.
Griggs. B, “The Green Pharmacy”, 1997, pg 1-7.
Bone. K, Mills. S, “Principles and Practice of Phototherapy”, 2nd Ed, 2013.