Consider this scenario. You have some that worry you but your doctor doesn't seem concerned. Nevertheless, you would like to understand a bit more about why you don't feel quite like yourself anymore. Perhaps you have tried some vitamins, probiotics or other . Yet, you are aware that you may just be wasting your money. Are you buying things that you don't need?
Let me explain why a can help bring some clarity to these .
Firstly, visiting a is not the same as an appointment with your conventional doctor or medical . For one thing, training varies considerably. So, make sure that the you choose is qualified to help and advise you. Members of professional herbal associations are qualified to degree level and follow strict guidelines of practice. At the very least you should check that your chosen is a member of a professional organisation, such as the National Institute of Medical Herbalists ( NIMH )
Professional herbalists know which herbs are appropriate and can help you.
How a herbal consultation is different
A herbal consultation will take much longer than a visit to the medical doctor. Usually, your first visit with a herbal practitioner will last at least an hour, usually more. This allows plenty of time to discuss your main health concern and more. The practitioner takes the time to understand and uncover the underlying factors of your ill health.
Instead of conventional medical treatment, herbalists recommend herbal remedies. By harnessing the medicinal qualities of plants a herbal remedy can improve your health. Providing the nutrients that your body needs to become well. This is possible because natural remedies work with your body, bringing balance and harmony.
There are different forms of herbal medicine and herbal practitioners. Herbalists have a long history of healing people and are integral to many cultures.
You may know of traditional Chinese herbal medicine or the Ayurvedic system of medicine. We also have our own traditional form of herbalism in the western world. Western herbal medicine is sometimes called phytotherapy. It has its roots in western folklore but also integrates a modern scientific understanding of how medicinal herbs work. Western herbal medicine is mainly plant-based, although sometimes animal products such as propolis or honey might be recommended.
However, western herbalists also use herbs from other traditions, such as Chinese Medicine. This is because sometimes a herb grows all over the world. So, many plants are part of several herbal traditions. Western herbalists include Chinese herbs in their dispensary because scientific research shows their efficacy and history of safe treatment.
I am a medical herbalist and practice western herbal medicine. But, I also have herbs in my clinic dispensary from other parts of the world.
When to have herbal consultation
Some people book a herbal consultation to have a chat about how to maintain their good health. For instance, they want to learn how to incorporate herbs into daily life. However, it is much more common to have a herbal consultation to help with a chronic health concern or complex symptoms.
People often consult a herbalist for symptoms such as fatigue or pain, digestive conditions, skin problems or hormonal imbalance.
How to find a good herbalist
Are you looking for a qualified herbalist who will guide you in your quest for wellness? If so, you should know that herbalists are not all the same. Practitioner training varies quite a lot. Some herbalists have studied to degree level and have many hours of supervised clinical training. Yet, it is also possible to be a herbalist in the UK, with no formal qualifications at all.
Members of organisations such as NIMH have thorough training in medicinal plants and clinical skills. Importantly, qualified practitioners such as medical herbalists are bound by professional standards and codes of conduct. We also undergo regular continuous professional development and have insurance to practice.
You will also find some herbalists who specialise in particular health topics. For instance, some are experts in women's health care, digestive issues, autoimmune disorders, skin health or psychological issues such as anxiety. While others have medical training or experience in other areas of healthcare. So a herbalist may also offer other therapies such as nutrition, acupuncture or massage. Different areas and levels of expertise, training and experience can make a big difference to what a practitioner is able to recommend for you.
How to prepare for your herbal consultation
As a medical herbalist, I see patients frequently who are looking for a safe and effective way to improve their health. Many a patient is often surprised to learn how far herbal remedies can help them. Here is how to prepare for your herbal medicine consultation and get the most out of it.
If you have a complex medical history it is a good idea to write down your major health issues in chronological order. Include on this list any medical diagnosis you have had, and any prescribed medication you have taken and whether it helped you or not. If you have tried any herbal products in the past this can also be useful information. Make a note if you had any negative side effects from any treatment, whether conventional treatment or herbal treatment.
Make another list with any current prescription from your medical doctor, with dosages. Plus add on any herbal supplements or herbal prescription you might be taking.
It is also worthwhile gathering together any results of lab tests or other orthodox medicine checks you may have had. I usually ask to see a consecutive three-day food diary before the initial consultation too.
Some medical herbalists are also able to offer you an online consultation, which is often more convenient.
What to bring with you
When you visit your herbal practitioner for your initial session, you can expect a long chat about your health history. Sometimes this is the first time you will have spoken to someone at length about your health issue. Compared to allopathic medicine a herbal medicine consultation will be much more in-depth. Your herbalist will want to find out the potential triggers or underlying causes of your health issues. Understanding your constitution, dietary preferences and lifestyle will help the herbal practitioner to choose the most effective solutions. Herbal preparations can be potent medicine because they work by promoting health and improving the function of your body.
It's a great idea to bring a list of questions. The herbalist will ask about your medical and dietary history, lifestyle and general health, your current medications. You should have plenty of time to discuss any current health concerns.
Having your chronological list will help save time and this will mean more time for the creation of the most effective treatment plan.
The basic steps of a consultation with a herbalist
Many people have no idea what to expect during a consultation with a herbalist. Herbal medicine is a holistic treatment. So, the herbalist will be looking at your health as a whole. Considering your body, mind and spirit, interacting as one.
Here are some of the basic steps during a herbal consultation...
The initial consultation involves the gathering of all the relevant information that the herbalist needs. This may include appropriate clinical examination, and perhaps ordering of relevant lab tests, depending on the training and knowledge of the practitioner.
There should be a discussion about the important decisions about any suggested treatment program. For instance, in a herbal consultation where I am learning more about your health, we will discuss what your goals are and the best possible approach to achieve them. I will then create a bespoke herbal program for you that will help you achieve your health goals.
To effectively help their patients or clients, herbalists need to be able to answer questions, provide information and communicate the options available for achieving their health goals.
A good herbalist will be able to help you better understand your health concerns, and how they may be related to your diet, environment, lifestyle, and health history.
After the herbal consultation
Most herbalists will be able to recommend or supply many herbal products. Your herbal preparation may be single herbs but most likely will be a bespoke herbal formula. This may be in the form of liquid extracts such as a herbal tincture, or dry extracts such as dried, loose herbal tea, herbal extract capsules or tablets. You may also have a herbal cream, oil or gel as appropriate.
Depending on training and experience herbalists can also provide dietary and lifestyle advice. For instance, your herbalist might recommend a weight loss programme, gentle stretching or refer you for another treatment such as acupuncture.
I believe that food forms an essential foundation for improving health, so a herbal treatment plan from me often includes personalised diet advice.
How much does a consultation cost?
The consultation fee that herbalists charge can vary a great deal. Often it will depend on their skill and experience. The initial consultation usually costs more than a follow-up appointment because there is more time involved.
Usually, the herbalist will ask you to return for a follow-up session about 2-3 weeks later. This is to make sure of the medicinal effects and progress are what is expected. Make any necessary adjustments to treatment such as changing the proportions of herbs in the liquid tincture.
Depending on the reason for your visit, you may need to see the herbalist for just one extra session. Or, for more complex health problems you might need to see the herbalist over a period of 3-6 months, or even longer. Your herbalist should be able to explain what is expected and how many extra sessions might be necessary.