Western Herbalism
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Western Herbalism

  • Friday, 08 May 2009 17:33
  • Last Updated Friday, 08 May 2009 18:21

What is it?

Western herbalism is a form of the healing arts that draws from herbal traditions of Europe and the Americas, and that emphasizes the study and use of European and Native American herbs in the treatment and prevention of illness. Western herbalism is based on physicians' and herbalists' clinical experience and traditional knowledge of medicinal plant remedies preserved by oral tradition and in written records over thousands of years. Western herbalism, like the much older system of traditional Chinese herbalism, relies on the synergistic and curative properties of the plant to treat symptoms and disease and maintain health.

Herbal medicine, utilises the therapeutic properties contained within plant seeds, berries, roots, rhizomes, bark, leaves and flowers for medicinal purposes. Selected plants are used to treat a variety of ailments and disease as well as promote vitality, healing and balance within the body. In western herbal medicine the belief is that the whole plant is more effective therapeutically rather than isolated constituents that are used in synthetically made drugs. It is the different therapeutic constituents present in the plant used that creates the synergy that is believed to be the key of western herbalism.

What can it be used to treat?

  • The circulatory system - high blood pressure, varicose veins, poor circulation.
  • The respiratory system - coughs, colds, asthma, catarrh, sinusitis, hay fever.
  • The digestive system - constipation, diarrhoea, irritable bowel syndrome, colitis, heartburn, haemorrhoids, ulcers and indigestion.
  • The nervous system - stress, anxiety, low mood, headaches, migraine, insomnia and hyperactivity.
  • The skin - eczema, psoriasis, acne, fungal infections and warts.
  • The muscular and skeletal system - rheumatism, osteo and rheumatoid arthritis, gout, muscle and joint pain.
  • The urinary system - cystitis.
  • The female reproductive system - PMT, menopausal syndrome, polycystic ovarian syndrome.
  • The male system - low libido, benign prostate hypertrophy.
  • The Immune System: lowered immunity, bacterial and viral infections.
  • The glandular system: thyroid problems

How do I find a Herbalist?

The National Institute of Medical Herbalists is the UK's leading professional body representing
herbal medicine practitioners. All NIMH-registered herbalists are fully trained, insured, and
follow a strict code of conduct. NIMH-registered medical herbalists are trained in the same diagnostic skills as mainstream doctors but they take a more holistic approach to treating illness.

Herbalists can be found in your area by visiting

http://www.nimh.org.uk/ or contacting

National Institute of Medical Herbalists
Elm House
54 Mary Arches Street
Exeter EX4 3BA

Phone: 01392 426022

Some useful books:

The Burton Goldberg Group.
Alternative Medicine, The Definitive
Guide. Fife, WA: Future Medicine
Publishing, Inc., 1993.

Kowalchik, Claire, and William H.
Hylton, Rodale's Illustrated
Encyclopedia of Herbs
. Emmaus, PA:
Rodale Press, 1987.

Lust, John. The Herb Book. New
York: Bantam Books, 1974.
McIntyre, Anne. The Medicinal
New York: Henry Holt and
Company, Inc., 1997.

Murray, Michael T. The Healing Power
of Herbs,
2nd ed. Rocklin, CA: Prima
Publications, Inc., 1995.

Weiss, Gaea and Shandor Weiss.
Growing & Using The Healing Herbs.
New York: Wings Books, 1992.


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