Herbal medicine is probably the oldest form of medicine known, and is still used by 80% of the world’s population. A great variety of plants are used to promote health and to prevent and treat disease. Herbal practitioners today benefit from the combination of Western and Eastern accumulated traditional wisdom and modern scientific research.
Herbs are composed of complex constituents that work together, balancing and complementing one another. Every herb used has known actions and qualities with affinities to one or more body systems or organs. The practitioner is trained to know these qualities and prescribes the herbs accordingly.
Herbs may be taken as ‘teas’ (infusions or decoctions), made into capsules, or made into alcohol-based tinctures or other liquid preparations. They may also be applied externally in creams, ointments and poultices.
Herbs are either used singly, as ‘simples’, or are more commonly mixed together as a formula to produce a balanced and more powerful effect. A herbalist may choose to prescribe a tried and tested formula or mix a new one to suit your individual requirements.
The Master Herbalist practises a naturopathic form of herbal medicine that includes not only herbs but also a combination of techniques, such as detoxification, dietary therapy and hydrotherapy, to assist the client back to optimum health. They follow a holistic approach and seek to identify and treat the underlying cause of a condition rather than just the symptoms. The naturopathic philosophy is that the body wants to heal itself, so they prescribe herbs and other techniques to restore vitality and physiological balance to enable it to do this.