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Western Herbal Medicine

Western herbal medicine is the use of herbs, herbal materials, herbal preparations, and finished herbal products exclusively taken from plants or plant materials as active ingredients.

What is western herbal medicine?

Western herbal medicine is a form of natural health treatment using plant remedies to support health and wellbeing. It is widely used and is one of the oldest systems of medicine in the world. Herbs, medical herbalism, botanical therapy, and phytotherapy – are all ways of taking the plant path for healing.

It is no coincidence that the majority of our current conventional pharmaceutical products have their biologically active compounds derived from plants. Herbs can be topically applied, like creams, soaps and ointments, or vaporised, like oil inhalations and sprays, as well as taken orally, such as teas, tinctures, extracts, tablets, and capsules.

Note the crossover here between food and medicine, as many herbs are also renowned   “super foods”. This is one of the many ways that herbs can effectively restore good health, as well as prevent illness. Imagine a kitchen without garlic, or what the world was like before antibiotics? Journey on the plant path to find out so much more.

How can a western herbal medicine practitioner help you?

A practitioner of western herbal medicine can help with many different types of conditions across different age groups. During your initial consultation, your Herbalist will ask you a number of questions about your physical and mental health, as they assess you holistically. They aim to get to the root of your concerns to be able to provide a solution that is unique to you.

Some conditions that you may visit a Western Herbal Medicine practitioner for are:

Your practitioner may prescribe administration of herbal remedies via teas, tablets, essential oils, ointments or extracts.

Western herbal medicine practitioners must train at degree level. We recommend you always consult an accredited practitioner who is part of a professional association in Australia before using herbal remedies.

Some common herbs you might have heard of include:

  • Chamomile
  • Echinacea
  • Garlic
  • Ginger
  • Ginseng
  • Lavender
  • Saint John’s wort
  • Tea tree
  • Turmeric

Use the ATMS Find a Practitioner tool now to start your search for an accredited herbalist.

Did you know?

Herbalism is holistic so promotes prevention of disease as well as treatment of acute or chronic disease.
Conditions that herbal medicine can help treat include cold and flu, headaches, skin problems, digestive disorders, colitis and irritable bowel syndrome, bronchitis and other respiratory conditions.
Herbs contain a large number of naturally occurring chemicals that have biological activity and compounds from plants that are used to produce reliable pharmaceutical drugs.
The Therapeutic Goods Administration (TGA) is a federal government department that regulates all medicines in Australia, including complementary medicines.

As part of Natural Medicine Week, Natalie Hume from the Australian Traditional-Medicine Society, interviews Keri Hogarth, nutritionist, yoga therapist and herbal medicine practitioner from Haberfield Health. Keri tells us how herbal medicine can help with burn-out and fatigue.

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