|I offer an alternative, holistic approach to health, using herbal preparations and
giving dietary and lifestyle advice to help the body to heal itself. The holistic
approach of herbal medicine is centred around the patient rather than the disease
and treatment focuses on restoring balance and helping the body to repair itself
by supporting its own defence mechanisms and healing processes.
A holistic approach requires an understanding of the way the whole body is
functioning. This means that a herbalist will not just gather information about the
presenting complaint but will also ask questions to assess the state of health of
other body systems. This will include discussion about diet , lifestyle and general
wellbeing. For this reason an initial consultation can take up to 1 hr. Based on the
information gathered at the initial consultation a treatment plan is formulated. This
will involve the patient as well as the herbalist. Dietary and lifestyle changes may
be recommended or the patient may be asked to keep a food diary or a log of
Herbal treatment generally takes the form of tinctures, which are alcohol-based
extracts of herbs. These are usually taken in 5ml doses in water, three times a
day. Dried herbs are also commonly used to make infusions or teas. External
remedies may also be given, where appropriate, in the form of creams, ointments,
washes or liniments.
Follow-up visits are usually much shorter and are aimed at assessing the
progress of the patient and determining whether any changes need to be made to
the treatment plan. Duration of treatment and frequency of follow-ups will vary
depending on the patient and the nature of the presenting complaint.