Frequently asked Questions
What kind of conditions can you help me with?
I can help you manage a number of health-related issues including:
Do you specialise in any particular areas?
As a herbalist with a holistic outlook I look beyond symptoms to consider the whole person, taking account of the complexity of contributing factors in your condition. I aim to optimise an individual’s innate ability to recover or heal rather than simply “attack” the illness (or its symptoms).
I have experience in treating all above mentioned conditions while I have developed a keen interest in treating diabetes and other insulin related conditions, dementia, women's and menopausal problems, chronic inflammation, stress related conditions and mental health.
How does herbal medicine differ from homeopathy?
Many people confuse medical herbalists with homeopaths possibly because many homeopathic products are also made from herbs. However, Western Herbal Medicine and Homeopathy are not the same thing. Although they are both forms of natural medicine, and both use herbal extracts, the philosophy behind treatment, modes of preparation of the medicines, dosage, and indications are very different. Although there are several significant differences, the short of it is that Western Herbal Medicine uses plant-based products which have a dose-related pharmacological reaction where the therapeutic effect of the plant can relate to its dose or concentration whereas homeopathic products are diluted to minute and even “energetic” proportions.
Herbal medicines can work very well and synergistically alongside homeopathy.
Can I continue to see my GP while receiving herbal treatment?
Although the healing philosophy is different since natural medicine aims to optimise an individual’s innate ability to recover or heal rather than simply “attack” the illness (or its symptoms), it is important that you continue to take the medications from your GP.
I am keen to work closely with and liaise (with your permission), with your GP or other healthcare providers/specialists.
I work towards an integrated approach where the patient is at the centre of treatment and not the disease model. Both approaches can work well together and herbal medicines are well suited to minimise side effects of drugs as well as help some drugs work more effectively for longer without developing drug resistance or lack of response.
What if I just want help with learning to live more healthily, feel better and prevent illness?
I can help support you in increasing your awareness of health issues, improving your lifestyle, preventing illness or optimising your health and well-being even if you don’t have a particular health issue. I believe that everyone should be able to take control of their health and well-being and realise that navigating all of the information and misinformation out there can be a difficult process.
My Wellness Coaching consultations aim to empower citizens with information and skills that will allow them to take control of their well-being, improve their quality of life and provide a long-term solution to their health problems.
What is the evidence that herbal medicine really works?
Medically active plants and their uses have been recorded over thousands of years. People have used extracts from plants for thousands of years to treat their ills, the Egyptians were using herbal remedies some 3500 years ago, while there is evidence other ancient peoples, such as the Persians, the Chinese, the Indians and the people of the Americas have used medicinal herbs for centuries. In many countries nowadays both traditional medicine and modern pharmaceutical drugs are used in a complementary way with good effect.
Current evidence-based pharmaceutical models of randomised controlled trials (RCTs) test the efficacy of individual plant chemicals and may not be the most effective way of evidencing medicinal plants and their uses because this system reduces medicinal plants to their constituent parts. This is an important issue because a key difference between herbal medicines and pharmaceutical drugs is in their degree of chemical complexity: pharmaceutical drugs are generally single compounds, whereas medicinal plants contain hundreds of chemical compounds. While a conventional pharmaceutical will usually be a single active ingredient, the idea of herbal ‘synergy’ explains that the hundreds if not thousands of constituents of a plant extract all work together to treat an illness.
The complexity of whole plant constituents working together also have other effects which are not taken into account (or are difficult to test) in RTCs, including buffering or synergistic effects. This and the fact that every individual has a unique structure and physiology (or way of functioning) within a unique medical history, explains why modern clinical trials are often not suitable for studying herbal medicines.
Testing single chemicals (often based on a pre-determined hypothesis and financed by special interests) either in vitro (in a culture dish) or in vivo (using animal test subjects) or on real people with only broad physical similarities cannot neither take into account the complexity of medicinal herbs nor the unique differences and circumstances between individuals. For this we need to develop different scientific models. This is also why the vast body of empirical use should not be ignored but is a valuable and tested form of evidence in its own right.
Whole plant herbal medicines used by Medical Herbalists take account of the complex and synergistic chemical nature of plants. This makes them capable of providing unique benefits arising out of their capacity to adapt and enhance physiological processes and to modify abnormal function, which means they can impact the root cause of your health issue rather than simply manage symptoms. In my experience this supportive role to physiological processes makes them also effective in reducing side effects of drugs or even help drugs to work effectively for longer in some chronic diseases.
There is now a substantial body of pharmacological research on numerous medicinal plants that supports the effectiveness of herbal medicine in the treatment of many health problems. In addition, herbal medicine is becoming ever more relevant as an alternative to contemporary healthcare in light of the increasing number of challenges such as increasing costs, pharmaceutical side effects and inefficiencies (for instance antibiotic resistance).