It’s sad to see how removed we have become from our natural environment.   City kids are now educated about sheep, cows and hens and are brought on educational days to see things, which were natural to us as we grew up.

And people in general seem so unaware of the potential of nature.  When I say I’m a herbalist, I get comments about witches, cauldrons and potions; or people just smile to humour me.

Plants can help with most minor and some major ailments

It is all a bit of fun, but the fact of the matter is that plants have great potential to help with most minor and some major ailments.  I like to think of herbalism as a complementary therapy, rather than an alternative one.  Herbalism can work alongside very serious illnesses in helping manage some of the side effects of treatment.

Pharmaceutical manufacturers use plants for products

Many pharmaceuticals draw on plant constituents to develop their therapeutic properties – the main constituent in aspirin comes from Salix Alba – (white willow); capsaicin used in many anti-inflammatory products comes from peppers; peppermint is widely used for stomach upsets; eucalyptus is in many sinus cures and common cold treatments include honey, garlic and ginger.  All these are part of the armoury of herbalists.

Balance of the plant and of the treatment is important

The difference between herbs and pharmaceuticals is that where pharmaceuticals may use one isolated constituent of a plant; herbalists use the whole plant – in other words the active constituent, plus all of the supporting constituents.  The result is that there are less side effects because the entirety of the plant (and therefore the formula) is in balance.

The herbalist’s skill is matching the patient to the herb

This is not to say that herbs are harmless.  They are very powerful and must be taken under the supervision of a herbalist.   Reactions can occur and not all herbs suit every person.  Unlike pharmaceuticals which are provided on an “average patient” basis, herbs are selected individually for each patient.  For example, if you have trouble sleeping there are a number of herbs we could use; one will work for some and another for others.  This is the skill of a herbalist – matching the herb to the patient.

So next time you meet a herbalist, consider the magic of nature and its ability to keep so much in balance.  Balanced medication is what herbalism offers.

If you would like a natural solution to a recurring problem, contact us at Fresh Perceptions Health, Dublin.  We will work with you to develop a health programme – including a herbal formulation which will help address your issue.  As always everything we do is based on diet, herbal solutions and common sense.

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