Think for a moment, herbs were our very first medicines, long before the detailed herbal workings of our ancient civilizations, the history and use of herbal medicines is interwoven with humankind’s earliest attempts to find solace for its problems. In one sense herbs have been the subjects of an ongoing clinical trial for at least 40,000 years! We have constantly sought out those leaves, flowers, berries, roots and barks that have reliably eased our suffering and returned us to health. Along the way we have tried countless thousands of different remedies, discarding those that didn’t work well enough and constantly passing down the knowledge of what did, through the many generations.
Today it is recognized by the World Health Organisation that herbs are by far the most widespread form of medicine used by people living on our planet. Enormous amounts of scientific research and discovery have taken place within herbal medicine in modern times. The great test of time has proven those herbal medicines that work, now the tests of science are helping us to understand how they work, and in the process new possibilities are constantly coming to light. Health problems seen by modern herbalists have typically developed over considerable periods and involve a weakness or imbalance of one or more of the body’s core systems. Herbal medicine is especially suited to the safe treatment of such long-standing problems. Herbs are strong, real medicines, that are here to stay.
At the heart of the practice of Herbal Medicine is the understanding that, given the removal of obstacles and the right support, the body has an incredible, sometimes almost miraculous ability to heal itself from injury and illness. The effect of taking herbal medicines, especially when a problem has been long-standing, is to slowly but surely build a tonic, healing response from within. This focus is far removed from simply treating symptoms; largely the role of allopathic drugs, which are often more appropriate for short periods of time in acute need. The correct herbs, used at full strength, can have a phenomenal effect on your health.
At Perth Naturopathic and Herbal Clinic you can be confident that you are taking the highest quality herbal medicines available; given their great history along with the many validations of modern research, they deserve the confidence that they will make a positive impact on your health.
Herbal Extracts: These form the basis of most herbal treatment programs. They are the dark, concentrated liquids that you take in drops or mls each day. They are sourced from the best suppliers in the world using pure, high-grade herbs that have been carefully and exactly processed over months to produce pure, potent medicines. Compounding extracts together enables a formula to be tailor-made exactly for you, choosing from hundreds of medicines from the great European, Western, Chinese and Ayurvedic herbal traditions. The importance of giving a strong, physical dosage to achieve real success with herbs cannot be overstated. Modern herbalists realise that most people would prefer the ease of taking a pill compared to liquid extracts, however to reach the equivalence of a typical full adult dose of extracts you would literally need to swallow two large handfuls of pills or capsules every day! The taste aspect can be an initial hurdle, though it has been frequently observed that people do quickly become accustomed, and in many cases even grow to like the taste after a while!
The flavour of extracts can be much reduced by minimising the amount of contact time in the mouth, this can be achieved by diluting the dose with a small amount of water (approx 10mls), swallowing it quickly and immediately following up with a small drink of water or other liquid.
Teas and Decoctions: (A tea is soaked, or infused in boiled water, a decoction is simmered in boiling water). These are the most widely used forms of herbal medicines around the world and again allow a strong dosage to be rapidly achieved. Teas and decoctions are frequently used as a support for the primary medicinal action of the extracts but can certainly also be used as health tonics in their own right. You will have instructions on how to prepare them if they have been given or recommended.
Selected supplements: Where there are clinical signs of a deficiency or we know that a particular problem should respond well; nutritional supplements are commonly used for a specific time. Likewise a few, selected herbal medicines can be used in pill form, usually where lower doses are required to reach the therapeutic threshold or the herb has been concentrated to a much greater level than normal within a pill or capsule.
The herbs used in modern herbal medicine are the most tried, tested and safe in the world. They are however powerful medicines and it is true that in programs that include a strong tissue cleansing component some people will get worse before they get better. This is usually very transitory and can be safely managed if necessary. You should contact the clinic if you are concerned about possible negative effects. For the overwhelming majority of people who use herbs there are absolutely no adverse side effects.
Length of Treatment
Remember that herbs do not suppress the symptoms of illness; rather they help the body to heal itself. Herbs are generally slower than drugs to affect changes but their long-term benefits can also be much greater. In many cases the effects are gradual and accumulative, which means that the longer you take herbal medicines the better they work. Having said that, it must be noted that many people report feeling the action of their herbal medicines very rapidly. Often after a short while of taking herbs people begin to feel an improvement in their overall vitality and general wellbeing, an excellent sign that the body has engaged in the vital process of self-repair.
We will try to closely monitor how the medicines are working and alter or extend the course of treatment as needed.
Stay the course, and be patient if necessary, it will definitely be worth it.