Herbal medicine is an ancient tradition whose history can be traced back to the time of the Egyptians. Before modern medicine it was the only medicine in the western world. It was used by the Native Americans and is widely used in Europe and other countries around the world.
Today many of the chemical compositions used to make medicinal drugs are derived from plants.
Western herbal medicine combines the science of modern medicine with the knowledge gained from centuries of use of traditional plant based remedies.
Chantal’s Approach to Herbal Medicine
A herbal consultation goes over the medical history of the patient, the current symptoms and emotional state. I can then get a full picture to formulate my prescription. For any illness and symptoms I look at the balance between the sympathetic and parasympathetic nervous system because any emotional and psychological trauma starts to affect the body first through the nervous system.
I would look at the energy levels of the person i.e. how tired they are and how long they have been feeling that way which tells me how depleted their energy stores are (adrenal glands, pancreas and liver). I then look at any obvious organs that require nourishment (heart, lungs, skin etc).
The personality of the person would also be taken into account and how they deal with stress. I would then work out a treatment plan that supports them emotionally to encourage them to process any emotional issues that may be causing or exasperating their conditions. The treatment may involve immune boosting herbs, nerve restoratives and bitter herbs that work on the liver.
For me as a herbalist the starting point is always the nervous system. If that is out of balance it causes a whole host of problems. By balancing the nervous system the person begins to feel more energised, able to cope with life again, increased confidence, less tension and once the balance is maintained many of the symptoms disappear.
The patients emotional state is really important when working to bring the body back into a state of balance and would be a key part of the treatment plan. Part of the consultation involves getting the person to open up to me or at least tell me what has caused them stress and anxiety in the past or present and how they deal with it.
Some patients want to come for frequent follow up consultations as they find that talking is a huge part of their healing. This really depends on the patient. I am very flexible with my approach. I will direct patients to find the right treatment plan for them.
This may be one consultation only and follow up prescriptions and a quick phone call here and there.
The most important part of the treatment is the first consultation as without that I don’t have a full picture of the patient.
Herbal medicine is not a magical cure, but it’s a great starting point. The great thing about it is that the patient is involved with each aspect of the process so they feel in control and are able to understand their own healing and also they began to understand that what they are feeling is an important factor in their own personal health and well being.