How to choose a herbalist?
Herbalists are highly trained specialists using herbal medicine for healing and preventive medicine. Human Resources Development Canada says professional herbalists must have at least three years of training, between 300 and 500 hours of a supervised clinic practice at an accredited college and individual association membership.
Chartered Herbalist (CH): trained for one year on the basics of herbology. Many go on to become master or clinical herbalists. They do not work in clinical settings but can be herbal business owners, health food store consultants, writers, workshop leaders and product distributors.
Master Herbalist (MH): trained exclusively in herbology for one year, with completion of a major thesis. Master herbalists often write books and articles but do not have clinical practices. However, some may be clinical herbalists who’ve graduated before the official clinical herbalist designation was created by the American Herbalists Guild in 1989.
Clinical Herbal Therapist (CHT) or Clinical Herbalist (Cl.H): professional designations requiring three- or four-year full-time training, with practicum (physicians take two- or three-year training). Clinical herbalism is highly advanced, combining the use of medicinal plants, nutritional science and natural health practices. Clinical herbalist assess the health and case history of a client, perform physical exams, use diagnosis techniques and interpret lab results. They can set up clinical practices.
Clinical Registered Herbal Practitioner (Cl.RHP): membership with the Canadian Herbalists Association of BC.
Diploma of the School of Phytotherapy (DipPhyt): a highly respected herbalist college in the United Kingdom.
Medical Herbalist (MH): same letters as master herbalist – the UK equivalent of CHT or CL.H.
Member of the National Institute of Medical Herbalist (MNIMH) in the UK.
How can Herbal Medicine help me?
Herbs offer you a wide range of safe and effective therapy that you can use to:
Maximize one’s health potential
Symptomatic relief of minor ailments
Many conditions respond well to herbal remedies such as:
Stress related conditions
Hormonal imbalances (menstrual, menopause)
How effective are herbs?
The success of herbal treatment depends on a variety of factors including: how long the condition has existed, the severity of the condition, but most important of all is how diligently the treatment protocol is followed by the person.
Normally one can see results in 2 to 3 weeks, but it may take up to several months to clear a chronic condition. In most cases remedies are custom formulated for each individual client.
What illnesses can be treated with herbs?
While a cure is never guaranteed, herbs can be effective in treating many conditions ranging from acute things like tonsillitis and infections to more chronic things like eczema, bronchitis and arthritis. There are really no illnesses where herbs can not offer at least some relief.
How long will it take?
There is no single simple answer to this question. Really it depends very much on the individual and on the nature of the illness. Generally speaking, the longer you have been sick the longer it will take to regain your health. As a general guideline, you could expect to see some improvement within 2 to 3 weeks and to have significant results within 2 to 3 months.
What form do the remedies take?
Herbalists use a wide range of plant based materials for internal and external use. Preparations such as tinctures, fluid extracts, syrups, capsules and creams are all produced to a very high standard.
Do I have to stop taking medication from my doctor?
No, you are not asked to stop current medication, and the herbs will not interfere in any way with the effects of your prescription drugs. When you are better your M.D. will decide if you should cease your medication.
Do I have to have my doctors permission to take herbs?
No, you are free to seek health care wherever you wish, but it is usually a good idea to let your doctor know what you are doing so that he/she and the herbalist can work together for the greater good of you, the patient.
Are the herbal remedies safe?
Plants have been used as medicines for thousands of years and any side effects have been well documented and are well known. Herbs are gentle but very effective in returning balance to the systems.
Herbs should be used with great care and respect. Although they have very few side effects, self-medication is not recommended as there is the potential of interaction with other medications. A Medical Herbalist is a highly qualified and trained practitioner in both orthodox and herbal medicine and should be consulted to avoid any unpleasant experiences with herbalism. Given under the supervision of a trained herbal practitioner, the remedies are completely safe. They have no side effects and no cumulative effects. Herbs are natural, non-invasive, and work in harmony with the body’s own healing powers.
Consulting a Medical Herbalist
Medical Herbalists are trained in the same diagnostic skills as orthodox doctors but take a more holistic approach to illness. Your first consultation may last up to 1 1/2 hrs. during which time the Medical Herbalist will take a full case history, discuss your past and present medical history, lifestyle, medications, diet and family medical history. Certain assessments such as pulse, blood pressure and urine samples may be required (consult information is confidential). My philosophy is to treat the whole person rather than treating a disease.
At the end of the consultation I will discuss the treatment plan which may include dietary changes, nutritional supplements, lifestyle changes as well as a herbal prescription.
Follow-up consults are usually 45 min.
Most Herbal Medicines are given in a form of a liquid tincture and taken in teaspoonful doses.
Your tincture will be made up of a number of different herbs, chosen individually for each patient. Additionally some dry herbs for teas, as well as ointments, creams or tablets may be used.
Herbal Medicine treats each patient as an individual, recognizing that no two persons respond equally to treatment.
How often will I have to come?
Your second visit is usually 2 or 3 weeks after the first, and following this, visits will be at 3, 4 or 6 week intervals depending on the needs of the individual.
How much does it cost?
Herbal remedies and visits to the herbalist are not covered by any health care plans. The first visit will cost you $50 – $150 depending on the experience of the practitioner and lasts usually 1 1/2 hrs. Follow up consultations are $40 to $60, and last from 3/4 hr to 1 hr The remedies are extra and work out to around $15 to $18 per week.