Herbal medicine is the oldest kind of medicine that humans have used. It is what our current pharmaceutical system was once rooted in and from what most medications were originally derived from. According to the World Health Organization (WHO), Herbal medicine is still the most widely practiced form of medicine in the world today. Because herbal medicine is safe and so widely applicable, it is a wonderful approach to health for all young and old alike.
Herbal medicine differs from allopathic medicine in that while it alleviates symptoms due to illness, it focuses on the root of the imbalance in the body, and takes a holistic approach to treatment. This includes working with life style, diet, emotional health, stress reductions, addiction management, communication, and other under laying causes that lead to imbalance in the body and psyche. The care of a professional herbalist also differs from that of an allopathic doctor by appointment length. While a doctor usually only has 10-15 minuets to give to patient, the herbal practitioner will spend at least an hour in the initial visit and half an hour in follow up appointments to really understand what is happening for their clients.
Like pharmaceuticals, herbs have been tested to verify their safety and effectiveness. As a clinical herbalist, my job is to carefully interview my clients to make sure they are getting the medicine best suited for them and to closely discern any interactions with medications they may already be on. Sometimes this may mean working in tandem with their other health care professionals.