16:02 21 April 2005
Herbal medicine (Phytotherapy) is the use of plant remedies in the treatment of disease. It is one of the oldest systems of medicine still used extensively throughout the world.
Today a trained medical herbalist uses these gentle remedies in the context of a highly professional and holistic approach to treatment. He or she looks beyond the symptoms to seek out an underlying cause and the herbal remedies are used in conjunction with advice on dietary and lifestyle changes to effect an overall improvement in the condition.
Thus entirely different remedies may be successfully given to treat those patients apparently suffering from the same complaint. For this reason the trained herbal practitioner cannot give herbal medicine without first seeing the patient, for it is the whole person who is treated, not just the disease.
In contrast to drugs used in orthodox medicine, herbal remedies are non-suppressive. They act by stimulating the body's own healing powers, nourishing, cleansing and strengthening weakened organs and systems. As balance and harmony are restored, so health is regained. Herbal medicine can treat a wide range of problems including:
Acute conditions such as sore throats, influenza and other infections respond excellently to herbal treatment. The first consultation usually lasts one hour, during which time a detailed case history is taken, along with all relevant past medical history, diet, exercise and lifestyle will be discussed, and an examination carried out if appropriate.
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