How herbal medicine works

Herbal Medication HonitonLike people, herbs are organic complex arrangements of many parts, chemical constituents and minerals. It is these which give each herb a particular taste and action. These chemicals are produced to protect the plant against disease and infestation, and have also proven to be effective in humans. For many years, distinct active chemical constituents have been extracted from herbs and copied by pharmacists to be used in orthodox medicine. For example, plants such as Foxglove (digoxin); Poppy (morphine); Peruvian Bark (quinine); Willow (aspirin) to name but a few. Herbalists prefer to use the whole plant, or parts of the whole plant such as seeds, leaf, flower, bark or root, as this has a more subtle action and produces fewer side effects. The whole plant works in harmony with the body which is more receptive to the whole and its many compounds, it absorbs and uses them much as it does food. It is the way the body metabolises these compounds that interests herbalists. Herbalism or Phytotherapy is a science in its own right, the actions of herbs on the body are many and varied and combined properly will work as appropriate medication for a large range of diseases. Certain plants have particular affinity for certain organs and systems. They provide healing properties which positively influence chemical changes that can alleviate stress, build up resistance to infection, promote vitality and improve mental and physical performance. We are all unique and we will each respond to herbs differently, much as we prefer different foods and react to life in different ways. As a herbalist, I am trained in the same diagnostic skills as orthodox doctors. I would use herbs chosen specifically for an individual, as a natural holistic treatment. The underlying cause of a problem will be sought and treated rather than the symptom alone, thus restoring balance and activating the body’s own healing powers.