Holistic Herbalism



Q: What is an Herb?


A: 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".


Q: What is Herbal medicine?


A: 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 modern medications the last 100 years, 75% of the world's population still rely primarily upon traditional healing practices, most of which is herbal medicine.


Q: How are Herbs different from pharmaceuticals?


A: 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 about 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.


Q: How is Herbal medicine different from conventional medicine?


A: The primary focus of the herbalist is to help 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.


Q: What is an Herbalist?


A: 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, midwives, naturopathic physicians, or even one's own grandmother.


Q: How can Herbs and Herbal medicine help me?


A: 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 maximize one's health potential.


Herbs are also used for the symptomatic relief of minor ailments.


Q: How can I know if a particular herb will work for me?


A: 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.


Q: How long does it take for Herbs to be effective?


A: 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.


Q: How safe are Herbs?


A: 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."?


Q: Are there different approaches to using Herbs?


A: 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 Ayurveda or Chinese medicine and numerous Native American Herbal traditions. Some practitioners use highly developed systems of diagnosis 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.


Q: What is holistic Herbalism?


A: Every traditional system of medicine including Traditional Chinese Medicine, Ancient Greek Medicine, Ayurveda, Tibetan medicine, have two foundations of traditional medical practice: The system of constitutional energetics (hot, cold, damp, dry, excess, deficiency, etc) and the system of classification of herbs as to their energetic effect on the body (Alteratives, Diuretics, Adaptogens, Demulcents, etc). Holistic Herbalism is the fine art when you try to connect the wholeness of the person with the wholeness of the plants, so the person would be able to experience the wholeness of life.


Q: What will happen during the first session?


A: During the first session we will have a discussion on the history of the person. Using the finest diagnosis skills, Materia Medica and Therapeutic Protocols, which are essential to individualize treatment and help not only to resolve symptoms, but also create constitutional change needed for physical, emotional and spiritual wellness, we are trying to enable all the living things to self-heal or preserve the life by adapting to environmental and lifestyle changes.