we combine a thorough patient history with traditional diagnostic methods to
create a treatment plan that is tailored to each individualís constitution and
condition. We take the time to understand the subtle patterns of imbalance that
are often the root causes of disease. We offer effective alternatives for colds
or flues and herbal treatment with appropriate nutritional advice for a wide
range of chronic health problems including skin conditions, high blood pressure,
or digestive disorders.
your current medical treatment or the side effects of western pharmaceuticals
may be able to help you find a gentle herbal alternative which works with
your body to harmonize physiological imbalances and restore your body to a
natural, healthy state.
WHAT IS AN HERB?
Medicinally, an herb is any plant part or plant used for its therapeutic value.
Yet, many of the world's herbal traditions also include mineral and animal
substances as "herbal medicines".
WHAT IS HERBAL
Herbal medicine is the art and science of using herbs for promoting health and
preventing and treating illness. It has persisted as the world's primary form of
medicine since the beginning of time, with a written history more than 5000
years old. While the use of herbs in America has been overshadowed by dependence
on modem medications in the last 100 years, 75% of the world's population still
relies primarily upon traditional healing practices, most of which is herbal
HOW ARE HERBS DIFFERENT FROM PHARMACEUTICALS?
Most pharmaceutical drugs are single chemical entities that are highly refined
and purified and are often synthesized. In 1987 about 85'% of modern drugs were
originally derived from plants. Currently, only 15% of drugs are derived from
plants. In contrast, herbal medicines are prepared from living or dried plants
and contain hundreds to thousands of interrelated compounds. Science is
beginning to demonstrate that the safety and effectiveness of herbs is often
related to the synergy of its many constituents.
HOW IS HERBAL MEDICINE DIFFERENT FROM CONVENTIONAL MEDICINE?
The primary focus of the herbalist is to treat people as individuals
irrespective of the disease or condition they have and to stimulate their innate
healing power through the use of such interventions as herbs, diet and
lifestyle. The primary focus of conventional physicians is to attack diseases
using strong chemicals that are difficult for the body to process, or through
the removal of organs. Not only does this ignore the unique makeup of the
individual, but many patients under conventional care suffer from side effects
that are as bad as the condition being treated. This philosophical difference
between herbalists and conventional physicians has profound significance.
WHAT IS AN HERBALIST?
Herbalists are people who dedicate their lives to working with medicinal plants.
They include native healers, scientists, naturopaths, holistic medical doctors,
researchers, writers, herbal pharmacists, medicine makers, wild crafters,
harvesters and herbal farmers to name a few. While herbalists are quite varied,
the common love and respect for life, especially the relationship between plants
and humans, unites them. Persons specializing in the therapeutic use of plants
may be medical herbalists, traditional herbalists, acupuncturists, midwifes,
naturopathic physicians, or even one's own grandmother.
HOW CAN HERBS AND HERBAL MEDICINE HELP ME?
Herbs can offer you a wide range of safe and effective therapeutic agents that
you can use as an integral part of your own health care program. They can be
used in three essential ways: 1) to prevent disease 2) to treat disease 3) to
maximize one's health potential. Herbs are also used for the symptomatic relief
of minor ailments.
HOW CAN I KNOW IF A PARTICULAR HERB WILL WORK FOR ME?
Medicine is an art, not just a science. No one can predict which herb will work
best for every individual in all situations. This can only come with educated
self-experimentation and experience or by seeking the assistance of those who
are knowledgeable in clinical herbal medicine. The simpler the condition, the
easier it is to find a solution. The more complicated the condition, the greater
the need there is to seek expert advice.
HOW LONG DOES IT TAKE FOR HERBS TO BE EFFECTIVE?
The success of herbal treatment always depends upon a variety of factors
including how long the condition has existed, the severity of the condition, the
dosage and mode of administration of the herb(s) and how diligently treatment
plans are followed. It can be as short as 60 seconds when using a spoonful of
herbal bitters for gas and bloating after a heavy meal; 20 minutes when soaking
in a bath with rosemary tea for a headache; days when using tonics to build
energy; or months to correct long-standing gynecological imbalances. Difficult
chronic conditions can often take years to reverse.
HOW SAFE ARE HERBS?
It depends on the herbs. Most herbs sold as dietary Supplements are very safe.
When used appropriately, the majority of herbs used by practitioners have no
adverse side effects. A review of the traditional and scientific literature
worldwide demonstrates that serious side effects from the use of herbal
medicines are rare. According to Norman Farnsworth;
"Based on published reports, side effects or toxic reactions associated with
herbal medicines in any form are rare. In fact, of all classes of substances
reported to cause toxicities of sufficient magnitude to be reported in the
United States, plants are the least problematic."
WHERE CAN I GET
Read product labels carefully. Many manufacturers provide appropriate
information. There are also a number of references that are commonly available
(see below). As with all medicines, the primary determination of whether a
medicine is appropriate for you is based on your own experience.
HOW IS THE HERBAL
The Federal Trade Commission (FTC) primarily regulates the marketing and
advertising of products. The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) primarily
regulates the manufacture and labeling of herbal products and has legal
authority over assuring that products are manufactured correctly and are
truthfully labeled with respect to ingredients and claims. Additionally, there
are a number of trade associations that require member companies to adhere to
specific codes of ethics and conduct their own testing programs.
HOW DO HERBALISTS
Herbalists can practice either as primary health care providers or adjunctive
health care consultants. Most visits to an herbalist begin with a consultation
about your past and current health history, your dietary and lifestyle practices
or other factors related to your health issue. The herbalist, with your
involvement, should develop an integrated herbal program that addresses your
specific health needs and concerns. You should be treated as a whole person, not
as a disease.
ARE THERE DIFFERENT
APPROACHES TO USING HERBS?
Various herbal traditions have developed worldwide. In the West there are a
number of different traditions which include folkloric herbal practices,
clinical western herbal medicine, naturopathic medicine, practitioners of
Avurveda or Chinese medicine and numerous Native American herbal traditions.
Some practitioners use highly developed systems of diagnoses and treatment while
others base their treatments on individual knowledge and experience. Every
person must find the herbal practitioner that is most appropriate for them.
ARE THERE DIFFERENT
TYPES OF HERBALISTS?
Traditional Western, or Community, Herbalists base their work on traditional
folk medicine or indications of historical uses of herbs and modern scientific
information. Backgrounds may include folk, Native American, eclectic, wise
woman, earth-centered, or other traditions. They may be trained through
traditional or non-traditional methods such as apprenticeships, schools or
Medical or Clinical Herbalists are present in the United States and in most of
the nations in the European Union. Professional education is offered in the USA
and throughout Europe in a variety of formats. Most programs cover the
traditional uses of herbs, the basic medical sciences of biochemistry, nutrition
and anatomy as well as diagnosis and prescription. The most common titles given
to medical herbalists from the Western world include: AHG - Professional Member,
American Herbalists Guild,
MCPP - Member, College of Practitioners of
Phytotherapy; FNIMH - Fellow, National Institute of Medical Herbalists; MNIMH -
Member, National Institute of Medical Herbalists; FNHAA - Fellow, National
Herbalists Association of Australia. Other titles include: RH - Registered
Herbalists and CCH - Certified Clinical Herbalist.
Medicine (TCM), the traditional medicine system of China, is the second-largest
medical system in the world after Western medicine. TCM doctors go through
extensive training in theory, practice, herbal therapy and acupuncture. Quite a
few states, including Wisconsin now license acupuncturists, and consider them
primary health care providers. Their titles may be written as CA, Certified
Acupuncturist or L.Ac., Licensed Acupuncturist. Traditional Ayurvedic Medicine,
(Ayurveda), the traditional medical system of India and Nepal, is the
third-largest herbal medicine system in the world today. Ayurvedic doctors treat
more than 80 percent of the people on the Indian subcontinent and go through
extensive training that can last as long as 12 years. Some use the title M.D. (Ayur.)
when they come to English speaking countries, while those who have passed the
accreditation process of the American Ayurvedic Association are given the title
D.Av., Diplomate in Ayurvedic Health Sciences.
integrates traditional natural therapeutics with modern scientific medical
diagnoses and western medical standards of care. Licensed naturopathic
physicians, entitled N.D. - Doctors of Naturopathic Medicine, receive full
medical training at one of four fully accredited medical universities in North
America. There are currently 11 states (Wisconsin not included) that license the
practice of naturopathic medicine.
HOW DO I CHOOSE A
First and foremost recognize that the relationship between a health care
provider and a client should begin with clearly articulated goals and
responsibilities. Every client should be fully informed of the experience,
training and services provided by the practitioner. Similarly, the provider
should clearly understand the goals and desires of the client. Together the
client and provider must determine if the experience and services provided meet
the needs of the client. For help in finding a qualified herbalist, either
contact your local health food or herb store for referrals, ask for
recommendations from people whose judgment you trust, or contact a national
organization such as the American Herbalists Guild.
WHAT I S THE AMERICAN
The American Herbalists Guild (AHG) was founded in 1989 as a non-profit,
educational organization to represent the goals and voices of herbalists. It is
the only peer-review organization in the United States for professional
herbalists specializing in the medicinal use of plants. Herbalists from any
tradition with sufficient education and at least four years of clinical
experience, who demonstrate advanced knowledge in the medicinal use of plants
and who pass the AHG credentialing process (a careful review by a
multidisciplinary admissions board) receive professional status and the title,
The AHG has a
developed code of ethics, continuing education program and specific standards
for professional members. The American Herbalists Guild's roster of professional
members includes some of the most respected herbal authorities in the United
States and abroad. Please contact the AHG for a free brochure and roster of
WHAT I F I HAVE MORE
you live in the area call me at 920 356-1578 or email me at:
firstname.lastname@example.org and I would be glad to answer your questions.
Journal of the
American Herbalists Guild www.americanherbalistsguild.com
The Complete German
Commission E Monographs
PDR for Herbs
The American Herbal
Products Association's Botanical Safety Handbook
Website for the
Dietary Supplement Quality Initiative: www.dsqi.org
Website for herbal
safety and toxicity: www.healthy.net/Index.htm