Taking herbs

Medicinal herbs don’t suppress symptoms, they help the body to heal itself, so they can sometimes seem slow, and often work best when taken over several weeks, or even longer for severe chronic conditions.  Because of this gentle approach to whole health it sometimes takes longer for symptoms to improve than when taking pharmaceutical drugs which focus solely on the symptoms. Patients must practice patience – that’s where the word comes from! If the problem has been long standing – and often people only go to a herbalist after trying everything else first – it can take quite some time to resolve.

Unlike pharmaceutical drugs, herbal medicines do not suppress symptoms of illness, so they often don’t produce the same immediate results in the short-term. They work over a longer period of time to gradually support your body back to healing itself in a lasting way. As a very rough guide it’s realistic to expect at least a month of treatment for every year that you’ve had the condition. So length of treatment can vary with factors such as your diagnosis and prognosis, how long you’ve been ill, what medications you’ve been taking, your level of motivation to blossom, your diet and other lifestyle factors, your stress level, your age and even your attitude towards your health. It is essential to take herbal tinctures at the dosage prescribed by your herbalist. If you take more than the prescribed dose (perhaps thinking it will work quicker) it may have potentially serious negative effects. If you take less than the prescribed dose (as some people do to try to save money, thinking they can make a bottle last two weeks instead of one, for example) you will get a subtherapeutic dose which is unlikely to be effective, and therefore a waste of money. Dosages are worked out precisely by your herbalist and need to be followed carefully, although it usually doesn’t matter if you miss the odd one occasionally.

Usually the most effective way to take herbs internally is in tincture form, which is a dilute alcoholic extract. (Alternatives may be available for young children, teetotallers, etc.) They often taste very strong and sometimes unpleasant. There are ways to reduce or manage this so please ask when you get your herbal medicines if you have any concerns. If your health condition requires long term treatment it may be possible for you to grow some of your own herbs, and I can help you with information, suggestions, growing tips, medicine making advice, and maybe seeds or plants for this.