Herbal Medicine

WHAT are HERBS?

Herbs have been used for hundreds of years to help restore health and balance to the body. They have the ability to cleanse, strengthen and tone the organs and tissues. When used carefully and with respect, they are totally safe and without side-effects. Those that are harmful are simply not available.

There are many different herbs available for many different health conditions. Some support the immune system (e.g. echinacea) while others support the liver (e.g. dandelion root). There are herbs available for the kidneys (e.g. uva-ursi), for circulation (e.g. ginger), the lungs (e.g. lungwort). No matter what the condition, there is a herb to support the affected body system.

Although all herbs have specific actions in the body, they are not designed to treat symptoms and dis-ease labels. Instead, they cleanse and support organs and tissues. For example: eczema. Herbs are not given to cure eczema. Instead, the herbs given will support the liver, unplug the lymphatic system and cleanse the blood. Only then will the eczema begin to clear.

 

HOW is an HERBALIST DIFFERENT from a NATUROPATH?

An Herbalist has similar, and equally intense, training as a Naturopath. The difference is that an Herbalist will work only with herbs and nutrition while a Naturopath includes herbs and also utilize a variety of modalities as part of their overall approach to health. An Herbalist (and Naturopath) will use herbs in a number of different forms:

1. Tinctures. These are liquid alcohol extracts of the herbs. The practitioner will combine herbs that specifically meet your needs. Doses vary from condition to condition; adult dose generally starts at 5ml (1 teaspoon), 2-3 times daily.

2. Dried herbs. These are mixed specifically for you and are prepared as tea, which is taken 1-3 times daily.

3. Capsules. These are prescribed when a person cannot take alcohol based herbs, or cannot drink tea. The dose begins at 1-2 capsules, 2-3 times daily.
In my opinion, capsules are less desirable as a prescription than tinctures or tea as the body must break down the capsule, then the herb, and THEN absorb the herb. On the other hand, the liquid preparations are quickly absorbed and utilized by the body.

One of the major problems I run into with herbs and people is compliance. I’ve had some clients think that one bottle (4 week supply) will put them right again. Although healing can occur that quickly, for long-term results you must stay with the herbs for a lot longer. My clients will ask me “How long do I need to take herbs for?” That question can sometimes be difficult to answer, but the rule of thumb is:

For every one year you’ve had the condition, expect one month of treatment before you begin to see the results.

That means, if you’ve had eczema for 4 years, expect to be on the herbal program for at least 4 months before there will be major changes in the eczema. Many people notice improvement within weeks of being on a program; but to experience real change, be patient.