Herbal medicine is medicine made from plants, either the whole plant or sometimes parts of it, for example leaves, flowers, roots or bark. It has been the main source of medicine used by people for thousands of years. There are many herbal traditions around the world, but qualified and registered medical herbalists have completed high level training in medicinal herbs. This includes the traditional and scientific evidence supporting their use and known mechanisms of the plant chemicals they contain and how they act in the body.
Medical herbalists are experienced at using and blending herbs and prescribing them safely. They can work with you to help your symptoms and address the underlying causes to promote optimal health.
Why try herbal medicine?
Herbs have been used as our primary medicine for thousands of years. The natural world is a source of some of our most effective medications, but many herbalists find using plants in their original, natural form gentler, with fewer side effects. Plants and herbs contain many beneficial plant compounds so have multiple actions and health boosting properties, like turmeric which is anti-inflammatory, antioxidant, anti-cancer and and may help Alzheimer’s disease. Read about some of the common herbs we use in herbal medicine below.
After Dr Jess saw the benefits of Chinese herbs in her practice, she wanted to know more about the native herbs on her doorstep and so she completed her Herbal Medicine BSc at the University of Westminster graduating with 1st class honours. She has guest lectured regularly on medicinal herbs at the University of Westminster and to national herbalist groups. She has a passion for the safe and responsible use of herbs, both to boost health and as a natural toolkit for everything from coughs and colds to more complex diseases. Dr Jess is a member of the National Institute of Medical herbalists.
Herbal medicine training includes in depth evidence based training in the preparation, blending and dosage of herbs. They can be given as teas, in alcohol as tinctures, in powders in tablets, in oils and creams and even in syrups, as poultices and pessaries. Dr Jess uses medicinal herbs in her practice and also enjoys teaching her patients how to grow and harvest their own garden herbs like lemon balm and yarrow.
To learn more about Herbal Medicine, a good book for beginners is the ‘Encyclopedia of Herbal Medicine: 550 Herbs and Remedies for Common Ailments’ by Andrew Chevallier.