What is herbal medicine and naturopathy and how can it help me?

Natural forms of healing have been used on the planet for tens of thousands of years. You may have heard of Nicholas Culpeper. He wrote the book ‘Complete Herbal’ in 1653, which is still used as a reference book today.

Herbal medicine is the earliest scientific tradition of healing and it remains an important part of natural medicine to this day.

The modern form of naturopathy can be traced back to the 18th and 19th century – pioneered by Austrians who founded the principles of hydrotherapy. Systems such as hydrotherapy (water therapy) were based on the use of food, air, light, water and herbs to treat illness.

A herbalist and naturopath both receive similar training, covering topics such as anatomy and physiology, pathophysiology, the science of natural medicine, flower essences, iridology, as well as studying the dietary and lifestyle issues that can contribute to illness.

A naturopath may additionally learn about homeopathy and massage. Naturopaths may use a variety of healing modalities in their practice. Both herbalists and naturopaths undertake advanced training in the use of herbal medicine extracts.

Naturopathy and herbal medicine use an holistic approach to wellness, based on the principle that the body has the inherent ability to heal itself. Using gentle therapeutic techniques, the body, mind and emotions are supported during the healing process. The focus is on treating the cause of disease rather than the symptoms themselves, and treating the whole person rather than just the affected area. You do not need to be unwell to benefit from seeing a herbalist or naturopath.

Herbal medicine and naturopathy are not alternatives to modern medicine, but are used by people as an additional therapy or alternative for some non-serious medical conditions. It’s not suitable for medical emergencies, symptoms of disease or serious health problems when you should always consult your doctor.

Treatment may include:

  • Herbal medicine to help prevent and treat digestive problems and fatigue.
  • Dietary and nutritional advice for restoration of balance and prevention of disease.
  • Detoxification.
  • Advice to balance lifestyle and reduce stress.
  • Flower essences to enhance healing.
  • Gentle massage to rebalance the body’s systems, to reduce pain and enable detoxification.
  • Homoeopathy.

Designed to achieve good health and wellness, naturopathic and herbal medicine treatments boost the body’s natural healing potential, restoring harmony and preventing disease. These treatment pathways support your body’s natural ability to heal itself.

Most practitioners will recommend a diet high in fresh, raw fruits, vegetables, whole grains, seeds and nuts, reducing or eliminating tea, coffee, tobacco and alcohol.

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