Herbalism has been the oldest form of medicine traditionally used by our ancestors long before the introduction of allopathic chemical drugs. In the clinic we use a combination of Western, Chinese and Ayurvedic Herbalism. The art of herbal medicine is based on an amalgam of ancient tradition, clinical experience and modern scientific research. Herbal practice involves the use of seeds, berries, fungi, seaweeds, roots, tubers, vines, mosses, lichens, leaves, bark, fruits or flowers to treat and prevent ill health using a variety of preparations from quality-sourced whole herb ingredients such as tinctures, herbal teas, decoctions, syrups, poultices, infused oils, essential oils, salves, ointment or creams.
This combination of the ancient and modern provides herbal medicine with a formidable background with which to approach modern healthcare, and yet herbal medicine remains largely misunderstood. This is partly due to a tendency to lump anything which isn’t general medical practice under the CAM (Complimentary and Alternative Medicine) bracket. This means that more esoteric practices with little rationale or history are grouped together with long-standing and proven therapies like herbal medicine much to the confusion of the media and general public
A second and more pressing issue is the pharmaceutical approach to herbal medicine which sees plants solely as substances with ‘active ingredients’ which are to be extracted to manufacture pharmaceutical drugs. Traditional herbalists on the other hand consider that herbs work by the combination of constituents that make up the chemistry of the whole plant. The difference between this whole herb philosophy and the pharmaceutical approach is that isolated extracts are much more likely to create side-effects when compared to whole herbs.