There is nothing synthetic or contrived about using herbs to enhance one's health, simply an understanding of the rich plant diversity around us we so commonly forget to consider. Modern scientific research has justified many of the traditional uses for plants, used for millennia by people with no scientific background, merely a co-existent relationship with their surroundings and inherited empirical knowledge, passed down from one generation to the next.
Plant based research is continuing to unveil phytochemicals with properties that seem promising in the fight against many diseases. It seems all too easy to forget that many of the medicines that we use and take for granted, have originated from plants. Full spectrum plant based tinctures (extracts) utilize plants in their entirety, in contrast to the isolated fractions which are commonly made available with pharmaceuticals.
To briefly explain: Plants contain a wealth of compounds we refer to as phytochemicals. Plants are living entities and their bio mass is a complex interplay between many enzyme systems and energetic processes. These phytochemicals exist in a state of equilibrium and a delicate balance is maintained, a buffering activity so to say between the various plant constituents. Pharmacologists insist on isolating specific plant constituents. This enables them to test the isolate and obviates the possibility of other complex biological interactions between the many different compounds found in plants…this may sound reasonable in theory but leaves no room for the interplay of inherent stability through the buffering status present in living systems and all too often these isolated drugs produce serious side effects that are not present in a full spectrum plant extract (tincture).
This balanced array of phytochemicals is the reason that within living systems this varied interaction prevents a beneficial process from becoming a potentially negative one, the buffering activity of the many phytochemicals within whole plant products allows balance to remain. There are many instances where isolated chemicals do not behave as they should and lead to further imbalances in multiple bodily systems. Phytotherapists (Medical Herbalists) recommend whole plant full spectrum extracts (tinctures), not isolates. The Materia Medica (plant repertoire) has many generations of use behind it with empirical knowledge passed down through the ages and the components within these plants have been intertwined with our development through many generations. Multiple modern chemical compounds that have never before been present in the wider environment as well as our own personal environment, are inherently questionable, whether they have been through "extensive trials" or as is most usually found, minimal testing. There is almost always a price to pay for the introduction of de-novo compounds whether they originate from plants or minerals; if they require complex chemical processes to produce them, then they most likely were not intended for regular use by humans!
During a consultation with a phytotherapist (MNIMH-Member of the National Institute of Medical Herbalists) the client will be asked what health issue they want to discuss. The phytotherapist aims to understand the client's health issue, timing and any other associated factors. Enquiries into diet, allergies and social, drug and basic health history are made and then the following bodily systems are assessed for optimal health; gastro-intestinal, urinary, musculoskeletal, nervous, gynaecological, cardiovascular, respiratory and skin. Additionally, physical measurements are taken (temperature, pulse etc.). First consultations typically last one hour and follow up consultations typically last 30 minutes. After consulting with the client the phytotherapist may suggest nutritional recommendations and may also recommend various herbs and dietary supplements.
When you visit a professional medical herbalist, one who has graduated from a respected programme, and who is preferably a member of either the College of Practising Phytotherapists (MCPP), or The National Institute of Medical Herbalists (MNIMH), you can be sure they are genuine, and have been trained in a 21st century appreciation & understanding of millennia old empirical knowledge about herbs and health!