Herbal Medicine

Western Herbal Medicine Today

Medicinal plants are used by traditional healers and populations all over the world. The World Health Organization reports:

In some Asian and African countries, 80% of the population depends on traditional medicine for primary health care.
In many developed countries, 70% to 80% of the population has used some form of alternative or complementary medicine (e.g. acupuncture).
Traditional medicine can treat various infectious and chronic conditions: new antimalarial drugs were developed from the discovery and isolation of artemisinin from Artemisia annua L., a plant used in China for almost 2000 years.

Western Herbalism has its roots in Native American and Western European plants. This knowledge and history of plant medicine is thousands of years old. Western Herbalism primarily utilizes herbs native to North America and Europe and has woven other plant medicines from China, India, South America, Russia, Hawaii and other various traditional healing systems.

Western Herbal Medicine Consultation

When an herbalist works with a client, the goal is to help the client re-build their health, address their chief and other health complaints; give the client tools so that they can take care of their own health by teaching them about herbs and nutrition, rather than relying on a health care provider.
Plants are ingested as teas, food, alcohol extracts and oils. They can also be used topically in the form of a salve, oil or liniment.
Herbs are used to treat the whole body and address the cause of a condition, not just a symptom. For example, if you have eczema, an herbalist won’t just treat the itchy redness with a cortisone cream like a doctor might, but will review your health, diet and lifestyle. Then a treatment plan is developed. A theoretical treatment plan might be:

  • Review living/environmental situation for possible allergens
  • Review your diet for allergens so that the allergy is resolved, not just the symptom of itching
  • Support the liver with herbs (clean liver generally leads to less eczema)
  • Support your immune system with antihistamine herbs and perhaps raw honey
  • Support the painful inflammation with anti-inflammatory herbs
  • Add oils to diet to make sure skin is adequately nourished, and inflammation is reduced

Herbs help a body remember how to function well. Once balance has been restored, herbs will be stopped. The goal is for no medicine or herbs to be used.

Western Herbalists are typically sought out when a client has run out of answers or solutions to their health concerns within the medical establishment.

Blythe had a personal health crisis with no medical solution after years of trying western medical therapies. She discovered herbs and other natural remedies which have completely resolved her reproductive issues. Blythe has a deep respect for Medicine as we know it today and it has saved her health in many ways, but it rarely resolves the core health issue, only the symptoms. Many times using western drugs that are hard for the body to process, especially the liver and kidneys.

The Western Herbalism movement is especially strong here in Northern California. There are many opportunities to take classes, go on herb walks and learn the basics of how to take care of yourself, using local native plants.