The Cottage Herbal Medicine
What can be treated?
A registered medical herbalist offers professional treatment for most health problems you would consult your GP about, including digestive problems, irritable bowel, ulcerative colitis, women's health problems including PCOD, endometriosis, menopausal symptoms, allergic responses, hay fever, sinusitis, bronchitis, lowered immunity, stress, migraines, circulatory problems, angina, high blood pressure, arthritis, gout, fibromyalgia, skin complaints including eczema, acne, psoriasis, children's complaints, coughs, enuresis. cystitis, prostate problems, and many more health problems.
What happens at the consultation?
A registered medical herbalist is trained in modern medical diagnosis as well as the use of herbs. An hour or more is spent taking your health history and discussing your particular health problems. The object is to identify the underlying cause of your health problem, and then to treat that, instead of aiming to suppress the symptoms of the illness. The aim is to help your body mobilise its own healing powers to restore good health. At the end of the consultation, a treatment plan is agreed on between you and the practitioner.
What is the treatment?
The herbal prescription dispensed for you after the consultation will be a combination of separate whole plant extracts individually chosen and appropriate for your particular health profile, usually in a liquid form to be taken twice or three times daily, with creams, gels and lotions for external use as required.
Because herbal medicine takes a whole health approach, advice on diet and lifestyle is also offered. There is a follow-up visit, usually lasting 30 minutes, two to four weeks later, and if further consultations are required, they are usually at 4 week intervals until treatment is complete.
How does herbal medicine work?
Herbal medicine is the oldest form of medicine. Today it is used by over 75% of people worldwide. Modern herbal medicine uses plant extracts, each containing hundreds of constituents, many of which are known to have precise therapeutic effects.
Laboratory research supports and extends traditional knowledge about how plant constituents act on the human body, and how the effect of one constituent can balance the effect of another. For example, ephedrine, a prescription drug for asthma derived from the plant Ephedra sinica, has the side effect of raising blood pressure. By contrast. the whole plant extract of Ephedra contains an active constituent which prevents a rise in blood pressure.
Medical herbalists believe that herbal medicine can avoid the often harsh side effects of some pharmaceutical drugs, and will also advise you when your condition is best referred to your GP or another therapist.
Why consult a medical herbalist?
Often when people experiment with over the counter herbal remedies they are disappointed with the results. This can be because of a poor quality product, or because the amount of active plant constituent in the pill or cream is very low, or simply because it is the wrong remedy. There can also be health risks if you take an over the counter remedy, or home remedy, which interacts in a negative way with medication prescribed by your GP.
Why choose a registered medical herbalist?
Public concerns about unqualified herbalists have led to Government plans to regulate who can practice herbal medicine.
In future, only members of established bodies such as the College of Practitioners of Phytotherapy (CPP) or the National Institute of Medical Herbalists (NIMH) will be able to legally practice herbal medicine.
A CPP member ( MCPP ) has trained for a minimum of four years, abides by a professional code of ethics, takes part in a continuing education programme, and is fully insured. Some work within the NHS in GP practices.
A qualified medical herbalist will use good quality products, often organically grown, sourced from reputable suppliers, including plant extracts not for sale to the general public because of their high potency.
Is herbal medicine available through the NHS?
Some GP practices offer access to complementary treatment including herbal medicine, but despite public pressure for integration of complementary and conventional medicine, and some influential supporters including HRH The Prince of Wales, it is not yet the case that all do. Some health insurers include herbal medicine within their policy cover, and my fees may be met by your private medical insurance.
What are the costs?
The initial consultation costs £35, with repeat consultations at £18, and short consultations for minor ailments at £10.00. Herbal medicine costs £7 per 100ml ( approximately a weeks supply), with creams and supplements charged competitively with major suppliers. Children under 12:initial appointments cost £20, with the repeat consultations at £10.00.