Herbal Medicine – Frequently Asked Questions

Herbal Medicine – Frequently Asked Questions

Hi, I’m Donald Purves, Traditional Herbalist, back here at The Healing Clinic after a four year break.

Today I would like to put out some answers for frequently asked questions about herbal medicine.

What is Herbal Medicine?

Herbal Medicine is the use of plant medicines to treat health imbalances. After a consultation, I use preparations from whole herbs mixed together in a prescription tailored specially for your pattern of imbalance at that time; supporting your body, mind and spirit in regaining a balanced health and vitality.

How is it different from Homoeopathy?

There are many principles in common between Herbal Medicine and Homoeopathy:

  • a consultation to get the full health picture
  • the administration of oral medicines
  • medicines based on plants

However the major difference with Herbal Medicine is that

  • you are receiving a material dose of the herb
  • only herbs (plant remedies) are used
  • the medicines have a direct physiological effect on the body
  • the taste of the medicine is important to its effectiveness

What can you recommend for my symptoms?

I don’t specifically give recommendations off the cuff for over the counter herbal remedies for your symptoms for a number of reasons:

  • Symptoms are not isolated ailments separate from your body and whole being – they are part of a pattern of imbalance you are encountering. I see it as my job to uncover the pattern and decide on a herbal treatment plan which will change it to a more harmonious pattern. I can only do this in a consultation.
  • Symptoms might be easily fixed by a cough syrup, indigestion tea or whatever but could equally be part of a deeper imbalance which requires long term constitutional herbal treatment or even referral back to your doctor for appropriate diagnostic tests.
  • Standard over the counter herbal remedies may not work for everyone

Having said all that, we will shortly be stocking a number of standard herbal teas in our shop for you to try and for practitioners, herbal and otherwise, to recommend to patients.

Can you treat my illness?

Herbal Medicine can treat a range of illnesses as wide as conventional medicine. However, it is best to contact me with a few details of your illness so that I can decide whether a consultation and subsequent herbal prescription would be likely to help.

Will it interfere with my medicines from the Doctor?

Herbal medicines do have a physiological effect on the body so that they can, potentially, interact with conventional medicines, especially at higher doses. The herbs in my mixtures are usually at a lower dose than would be likely to interact.

Nevertheless, sometimes herbs can compete with or potentiate conventional drugs (make their effects weaker or stronger). It is for this reason that I insist on taking a full case history, including current drug intake before prescribing the herbs.

I want to stop my Doctor’s prescription and take herbal medicines instead, can you help me to do that?

It is seldom advisable for you to stop taking medicines prescribed by your doctor without their knowledge.

I can treat you with herbs alongside the doctor’s medicine, taking possible interactions into account. If you wish to reduce or cease conventional medicine, with your doctor’s knowledge, my herbal medicines can sometimes help you achieve that over a period of time