What is a Clinical Herbalist?

Many of us never learned what it means to take care of ourselves.   It seems to me that, in our western culture, many of us were raised with a belief system that this was to be delegated to some type of professional.   I believe herbal medicine empowers us to take an active part in caring for our own health.   Herbal medicine has been valued in all cultures in the past and still today in many parts of the world because of its efficacy and its availability (many medicinal herbs are as close as your kitchen cupboard).  For this reason, it has been called “the people’s medicine”.  In the 1930’s antibiotics became an amazing medicine that saved thousands of lives that might have been lost to bacterial infections.  People were grateful, as they rightfully should be, for the lives saved.  As time passed and more pharmaceutical medicines were introduced, people relied more heavily on these forms of treatment, while herbal medicine’s value seemed to decline in the minds of people in the western world.  However, in recent decades herbalism is making a comeback.  Western herbal medicine is a long-established systematic healing approach that focuses on strengthening the body’s natural functions and bringing balance to the body.     As herbalists, we understand that plants really are medicine.  They contain chemicals, energetics and nutrition that are powerful healers.     

As a clinical herbalist, I think of myself as a consultant and a teacher.    I believe each of us has the power to improve our health if we are taught how to do so.   I compassionately listen to your story.   What are your health issues and symptoms?   When did your health begin to decline and what were factors in your health declining?   What things have you tried in order to feel better?   I believe that your body gives you symptoms for a reason and we need to listen to what they are trying to tell us.   Beneath each symptom exists a cause.  When we address the root causes, symptoms subside and we begin to feel better.   By using an energetic system that assesses different tissues states in your body, we can determine which herbs are best for you as an individual.   A body that is balanced is one that can heal.   As a simple example:  Let’s say we determine you have a “hot” tissue state in your stomach.  This hot state might include ulcers or heartburn or damaged tissue in this area.   How might we balance this “hot” state?  By utilizing cooling herbs.  Perhaps the inside gel of the aloe vera plant would be appropriate.  It is cooling and has the ability to help regenerate the cells of the delicate tissue lining the stomach.  Now imagine that because of the hot state of the stomach, you have been unable to break down nutrients properly.  We might include an herbal tea which is high in minerals to balance this deficit.  Here again we bring balance and homeostasis.  There are many forms of herbal medicine to utilize – a tincture, a decoction, a salve or a poultice, or a flower essence to name a few.  We may also choose to put herbs into a healing soup or smoothie.  I also help you to understand how to determine which foods are best for you.  Sometimes I might refer you to your doctor or suggest lifestyle changes such as relaxation techniques and exercise.  I may need to help you understand why you might need to use less chemicals in your daily life and teach you how to go about doing so.  You are a unique individual and I look at your individual needs not just your dis-ease. 

So, if you would like to embark on a journey to better health, I would love to help you.  Do you have questions or feel a little afraid?  It’s okay, I was afraid and I had lots of questions when I began using herbal medicine.  Remember, it’s important to start somewhere and there is no better way to begin than by taking that first step.   Give me a call or e-mail me to set up an appointment and we can begin this journey together.