Is the use of plants for medicinal purposes. It is common to all cultures and peoples of the world, is the most ancient forms of treatment known and remains widely practiced to this day.
Herbs are composed of complex constituents that work together, balancing and complementing one another. Every herb used has known actions and qualities with affinities to one or more systems or organs of the body. Herbal medicines may be prescribed to treat both chronic, or acute conditions and may be taken as ‘teas’ (infusions or decoctions), made into capsules, or made into alcohol-preserved tinctures or other liquid preparations. Herbs may also be applied externally when contained in creams, ointments and poultices.
A Herbal Medicine practitioner is trained in the qualities of each herb and prescribes accordingly. Flower Essences are herbal preparations made only from the flower of the plant in a way that embodies its highest vibratory ‘signature’ and can be safely taken in conjunction with herbal medicines. Some Herbal Medicine practitioners also train in Flower Essence Healing to prescribe essences that address the emotional response to the illness being treated.
Ayurveda, Chinese Herbal Medicine and Western Herbal Medicine are some of the more widely practiced disciplines in which Herbal Medicine practitioners are trained:
Ayurveda is a comprehensive system of holistic health care that originated in India several thousand years ago and can be translated as the ‘science of life’. Ayurveda, is as much concerned with enhancing the quality of life and the prevention of ill-health as it is with treatment of disease. It is firmly embedded in Indian philosophy, according to which the universe is composed of five basic elements, namely: ether, air, fire, water and earth. These are present in all things and are the primary and essential bio-energetic forces of the human body. These elements are interrelated and, in their normal state, maintain the integrity of the living organism, conferring strength and assuring normal physiological functioning as well as longevity. Any imbalance of these bio-energetic forces results in ill-health.
Chinese Herbal Medicine is one modality within a broad tradition, known as Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM) that also includes acupuncture, massage (tuina), breathing exercises (qi gong) and dietary therapy. It has evolved over two thousand years and is practised today throughout much of South-East Asia. Based on centuries of clinical experience, Chinese herbal medicine has developed practical and effective treatments that are highly effective for many of today’s illnesses.
Western Herbal Medicine has its roots both in the indigenous practices of the British Isles and in the European and Greco-Roman traditions. It is often noted that a significant proportion of orthodox Western medicines were originally derived from herbal medicines. Western herbalism is characterised by a person-centred approach, where the patient rather than the disease is the focus of the practitioner’s attention. The background to the patient’s condition is assessed through a thorough case history, taking account of family history, personal health history and lifestyle choices, with treatment being directed at underlying causes, not just the presenting symptoms. Additional Information can be found at: http://ehtpa.eu/herbal_traditional_medicine/index.html and www.associationofmasterherbalists.co.uk