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Herbal Medicine

Herbal Medicine
By Sorrell Robbins

Herbs are everywhere, in our foods, our gardens, our cosmetics, our perfumes and even our clothes. The art of aromatherapy stems from herbal medicine; many of our most powerful medicines manufactured by pharmaceutical companies are extracted in their original form from herbs before being altered into a patented chemical.

Herbs are used so commonly sometimes it is easy to forget how powerful and versatile they are as medicines in their own right. As a Medical Herbalist I am constantly inspired by the dramatic results I see in my clinic on a daily basis, and the research being produced today is backing up the traditional knowledge we have had for many thousands of years.

What Is Herbal Medicine?
Herbal medicine is the use of medicinal plants to treat disease, and to restore and maintain health. It is the oldest form of medicine known and is still relied upon by 80% of the world today. With the combination of thousands of years of documented use and modern research techniques we are able to understand how and why plant medicines are effective and use them with an exceptional standard of knowledge and skill.

Why Herbal Medicine Is Effective?
By using the appropriate plant medicines we are able to treat the cause of ill health and alleviate the symptoms. Herbs can help to restore the correct functioning, strength and balance of all the bodys systems where they have become weakened. Through this process we enable the body to fight disease and regain health. When used correctly plant medicines are extremely safe and free from side effects.

Why Chose Herbal Medicine?
Herbal medicine is safe & effective when used correctly and rather than suppressing or masking symptoms, as some prescription drugs do it helps the body to actually overcome the cause of the problem, with long lasting effects. They can work on all levels of health depending on the needs of the individual ie. Physical, mental, emotional and spiritual.

Choosing herbal medicine can be good for the environment, when you choose to buy herbs you can buy organic quality herbal products. The residue left from making herbal teas can be added to the compost heap so there is no waste whatsoever.

Herbs are easy to grow and most like very little attention, they can be used as medicines or enjoyed for their culinary value adding flavour to all types of food, from salads to biscuits to curries! Many herbs like to be left alone and thrive best when in poor soil. You can grow your own green pharmacy with a bit of land and research, or harvest the herbs from the local habitat ensuring that the herbs you are choosing are not on the endangered species list first. Herbs are cheap, and can be free if you know where to find them and how to harvest them.

Choosing Herbs For Your Own Health Problems
Self-prescribing can be very difficult. There are so many manufacturers in the commercial market making all sorts of claims for their products and it is difficult to know who to trust and which ones really are appropriate for you & your health issues.

For many health problems in an ideal situation it would be best to seek the advice of a professional Medical Herbalist. This is especially relevant for anyone who has a long-term problem. A good Herbalist will also be able to advise you when a condition is best seen by a doctor or other health professional. If you would like to contact a Medical Herbalist then please check the resources list at the end of this information sheet for a contact number. If you are looking for a Herbalist it is advisable to make sure they have training to a good standard. There are several registers for Herbalists in Europe, the National Institute of Medical Herbalists (NIMH) being one of the largest covering the UK and abroad and with the highest standards of training.

If you would like to learn about herbs and self-prescribing for yourself and your family, or you would like to know more about harvesting and growing herbs then start simple, perhaps looking at remedies for colds and flu and build from a good foundation. There are some very good books on Herbal Medicine, or of course you can come along to one of the courses run by Sorrell Robbins our local Herbalist which will give you a good grounding in the basics and ensure you are safe and effective in your use and choice of herbs.

A Simple Guide To Some Herbal Remedies
CHAMOMILE  A gentle yet effective herb, aids digestion and relaxation, healthy sleep, it is even reputed to prevent nightmares a great remedy for children.

ECHINACEA This powerful herb is most commonly used as a remedy for boosting the immune system is very effective for all sorts of ailments including colds, flu, sore throats and even appendicitis.

ELDERFLOWER  A very useful expectorant herb, used for sinusitis, colds, flu, tonsillitis, hay fever, it may also used in cystitis as a urinary antiseptic.

LIQUORICE Although famous for its delicious taste this is a very powerful plant remedy, helps your body cope effectively with stress, also a good one to use for constipation and irritable bowel syndrome. This herb should not be taken where there is a history of high blood pressure, liver cirrhosis, or in pregnancy.

NETTLE A very nourishing and detoxifying herb, great to strengthen the kidneys and full of Iron to strengthen the blood.

ROSEMARY This herb is great for depression, it lifts your spirits as it stimulates the nervous system and circulation, also helps detoxify the liver, great for hangovers and headaches.

THYME A strong expectorant and antiseptic, great for chest infections and irritable coughs.

VALERIAN The ultimate sleep remedy, this herb works to increase relaxation and promote healthy sleep without the side effects that chemical sedatives give.

Please Remember all herbs can be powerful medicines, if you are considering using herbs to treat yourself, and you have any health concerns it is a good idea to check their safety, in respect to the status of your health and also any medication you may be using to avoid negative effects. This can be done by consulting a qualified Medical Herbalist.


Sorrell Robbins Medical Herbalist, Clinical Aromatherapist, Therapeutic Masseur, Hypnotherapist & Hypnotherapist, Reiki & Shamanic Healer; BSc(Hons) Herbal Medicine, MNIMH, IFPA, MABCH, MCAHyp, MIFPA. Sorrell runs a multidisciplinary clinic in St. Albans and is available for telephone consultations. You can contact her on: 07814430690 or email: sorrellrobbins@gmail.com

If you would like to find Herbalists in another area contact the National Institute of Medical Herbalists (NIMH) - www.NIMH.org.uk

If you would like to read more about self-prescribing, using or harvesting herbs: The New Holistic Herbal by David Hoffman ISBN 1-85230-193-7

For history, folklore, traditional uses and traditional recipes: A Modern Herbal, Mrs M. Grieves ISBN 0 14 046-440 9

A classic reference book: Encyclopedia of Herbal Medicine, Thomas Bartram ISBN 0-9515984-1-4

To buy Organic Herbs & organic herbal products contact Sorrell Robbins as listed above. A list of products, including organic cosmetics will soon be available on the Lili website: www.lowimpact.org

© 2005 Sorrell Robbins. All rights reserved.