What is herbal medicine all about?!
Herbal medicine, also known as ‘Phytotherapy’ is a healing modality whose origin dates back to ancient times. In this practice, we use whole plant medicines of various preparations to heal disharmonies in the human body. Throughout history there has been documentation of people using plants to heal. Plant medicine is a sacred practice with roots in every culture around the world.
The world we live in has changed, it is difficult to escape the toxicity of present day times and many people have completely lost touch with the natural world. We weren’t made to ingest synthetic materials, super processed foods and chemicals. Exposure to these man-made compounds is a large part of the reason we are suffering from chronic and complex health conditions today. Our true roots lie within the earth and our bodies understand things that come from the the natural world; plant foods and plant medicines. Evolutionarily, the natural world is what we understand and restoring our connection to it is what will ultimately restore our health.
I practice herbalism by discussing with you (in detail) about your very unique health story. We decide upon your customized health goals and create a detailed action plan which involves a one-of-a-kind prescription for plant medicine formula, which will slowly bring your body back into a state of health. I formulate using only 2-5 carefully selected plants in each formula. I like to use fewer plants to provide a more focussed treatment.
My formulas are done in the form of:
Tincture -Just like a tea is an extract of a plant in hot water, a tincture is a plant extract done in ethyl alcohol. Alcohol efficiently extracts many phytochemicals (the good stuff) from a plant, leaving you with a highly medicinal liquid, the tincture. Tinctures are a great way of getting medicinal plants into your body in physiological doses, doses that will physically affect on the functioning of your body. To use, simply add the tincture into a small amount of water and drink. Yes, tinctures are controversial in some circumstances. Although tinctures are harmless in small doses for most, teas and glycerites (infusions in glycerin) are other appropriate medicines for those who choose not to ingest alcohol.
• Dried herb -a formula of dried plants that can be brewed into a tea using hot water for daily consumption. Teas are a less potent form of herbal medicine than tinctures.
Each herb has an affinity for different systems in the body (immune, skin, reproductive, adrenal, gut/digestive, nervous, etc.) and each herb has a different action that they perform within this system. BUT herbs are incredibly versatile; a single herb can act on many different systems in the body and can perfrom many different actions similtaneously.
The way herbs function in the body makes creating unique formulas interesting; many herbs may perform the same action but they will not be the same in treatment. I look at the whole plant, all of the actions it performs and choose the plant that will work best for each unique circumstance.
S L O W MEDICINE
It is rare that the effects of a herbal formula will occur very fast, especially if we’re working with a chronic condition. It is hard to let go of the expectation that has been enforced by the pill-poppin’ culture that Western medicine has created. Unless a formula is designed to give relief of an acute (sudden) condition, herbal medicine takes i t ‘ s t i m e. For example, if you are being treated for dysmennorhea (period cramps) your formula will react quite quickly because the dosage and the plants are designed to relieve you symptomatically. BUT, generally, when treating a chronic condition, you can expect to be using a formula for weeks to months, depending on how long you’ve been experiencing said condition. The phytochemicals in a herbal formula slowly work on the tissues and systems in your body to restore them to normal functioning. That’s right, herbs treat the ROOT of the problem, they do not act as a band-aid to cover up your symptoms temporarily, they will restore your body to proper functioning, so that it can do its thing again without the aid of any medicine.
THIS is the bigger picture that is being missed out on in Western medicine. There is no consideration into asking what/why/where/how your body began to fall into dis-ease; what is the ROOT of the problem? Why did this disharmony begin? The medicine that is available to us in this culture is quite often a magic pill to make a symptom disappear without consideration as to how this foreign substance will affect other systems in the body. Don’t get me wrong, Western medicine has its place and has worked complete magic, but it’s not suitable for ALL conditions.
My favourite form of medicine is PREVENTATIVE medicine, keep your body functioning at a high level to prevent disease before it can begin.