The Benefits of Herbal Medicine - By Emma Gibson
The Dispensary @ ReDefined. Our in-house, Naturopath, Nutritionist & Medical Herbalist, Emma has a full Herbal Dispensary here at Redefined, offering herbal tonics tailored to the individual. These are used when working one-on-one in consultation journeys AND are also great for acute imbalances such as coughs and colds, stress and anxiety, sleep, and so on. Read on to find out more about Herbal Medicine.
WHAT IS HERBAL MEDICINE?
Herbal Medicine refers to the therapeutic use of whole plants or plant extracts as medicine. Prescriptions come in the form of tinctures, tonics, tablets, or teas. Or topically, in the form of creams, balms, or oils. ‘Whole’ plant extracts mean the plant prescribed contains its many chemical constituents, rather than merely one in isolation.
In this way, the varying constituents work in synergy with one another, resulting in more balanced benefit and reducing the likelihood of unwanted side effects. It is these ’constituents’ that give plants their many, unique medicinal ACTIONS in the body. E.g. anti-inflammatory, restorative, adaptogenic, antimicrobial, anxiolytic, mucolytic, an so on. For many, herbal/plant medicine can be considered ‘woo-woo’ or even hard to grasp as effective in addressing conditions or concerns.
In light of this, I invite you to bring awareness to gentle, well-known home remedies such as the use of GINGER to soothe nausea, settle seasickness, and settle the stomach. Or better yet, COFFEE, used by so many on a daily basis (not with medicinal intention), for its desirable and noticeable effects on the mind and body. Like coffee, the action of some herbs will be noticed immediately, whilst others may take days or weeks to be noticed (accumulative).
This is dependent on, for example, the person's overall vitality, the duration and severity or their conditions/concerns, and in some cases, it is simply the way in which the herbs are designed to do their thing. FASCINATING FACT: Over 70% of our pharmaceutical medications used today are derived from plants! E.g. aspirin is derived from willow bark. I could list many but I’ll spare the words and shed light on some research: Both Passionflower (used for the treatment of generalised anxiety disorder) and St John’s Wort (used to treat mild-moderate depression) have proven equally as effective as their pharmaceutical counterparts (benzodiazepines and SSRI’s, respectively). However, unlike the drugs, both passionflower and St john’s wort elicited fewer adverse effects.
CLIENT-CENTRED, INTEGRATIVE CARE
This seems an appropriate time to acknowledge the integrative nature of my practice in the world of Naturopathic & Herbal Medicine. To put it simply, doctors, drugs, and I are on the same team, in what I hope is an attempt to provide the BEST care for the individual. My wish is to do my part in identifying and addressing the underlying cause of a person's concern or condition (rather than merely suppressing symptoms).
And to treat this by removing barriers to and enhancing the body’s innate ability to heal itself. Ultimately, restoring balance. To do this effectively, the client must feel like they have a support team in which they feel heard, can trust, and are working together
QUALITY & CONCENTRATION
When it comes to herbal medicine, quality and the correct dose and frequency are essential to obtaining results. Please note that you will likely not experience the intended medicinal effect from poor-quality supplements.
SAFETY, EFFICACY, & TAILORING TO YOU
There are herbs that might not be safe alongside medications or in certain presentations. This is where consulting with a qualified medical herbalist is important in ensuring your formula is tailored to you and your treatment aims!
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