Runny, itchy or blocked nose
Itchy or watery eyes
Itchy or sore throat
Coughing and/or Wheezing
This is what spring and summer means for about 25% of the UK population.
Most of us welcome the spring and summer months when we can really get to enjoy our gardens and some warm sunshine. If you don't suffer from hay fever, you may not realise how debilitating it can be.
A high pollen count can spell misery for some people. Working or sitting in your garden or walking in a park or the countryside is probably the last thing you want to do. Life can become miserable because you suffer from hay fever with a streaming nose, sore eyes and headache.
It’s no real comfort to you to know you’re not alone – approximately a quarter of adults in the UK suffer from hay fever.
Although there is no cure for hay fever, there are ways to reduce your symptoms. Reducing your exposure to pollen will help, but avoiding it completely is impossible.
These self-help measures may relieve your symptoms but if they don’t, there is more your local herbalist can do to help.
#hayfever #hay fever
Oregon grape is supposed to flower in early spring but mine always flowers in December.
Oregon grape is an evergreen shrub, natuve to the western part of the USA and Canada, including Oregon. The common name (Oregon grape) is misleading because the berries are not related to grapes. My bush is a hybrid so I don’t use it to make medicines.
It was used as a medicine by indigenous people long before the arrival of Europeans.
The herb has traditionally been used for a range of conditions most notably gastrointestinal issues and skin conditions such as psoriasis. However a herbal practitioner will treat each person individually and select herbs to create a prescription specific for the individual person.
You can find a professional herbalist at www.nimh.org.uk
A simple way to reduce stress and boost your immunity - get out in nature, take a walk in the woods or in a park and even just look at trees and plants.
Taking just 20 - 30 minutes to stroll or sit in a place where you feel in contact with nature, significantly lowers your stress levels and the levels of stress hormones in your body.
Time in the woods has measurable benefits to your health.
I became a member of the National Institute of Medical Herbalists 26 years ago this week.
It was a huge day for me. The culmination of YEARS of studying and training. My family was there to celebrate with me and witness my rite of passage.
I am passionate about my work and about helping people get well.
It is so brilliant to hear someone tell me how well they are feeling.
Where did that time go? How could I have been a herbalist for 26 years when it seems like just a few years ago that I stood on a platform taking my affirmation? But so much has happened in those 26 years. Some really tough times, some difficult political situations to deal with. But throughout all that are the patients who have needed my help and who never know just how much they help me by allowing me to help them and to be with them as their support.
Just yesterday a patient said “I’m so much better than I was. I’m not where I want to be yet, but I’m getting there.”
I love my work. I love being a herbalist.
I hope you love your work too
I’ll spare you a gruesome photo but this week I’ve been treating an infected wound with the help of lavender oil.
Lavender is a very popular essential oil with a wide and versatile range of uses.
I included lavender along with Calendula officinalis and Commiphora molmol to make a poultice for a patient who had an infected wound. Calendula, Commiphora (myrrh) and lavender are all antiseptic and help with wound healing.
As well as being antiseptic, lavender has a soothing and calming effect on the nervous system, making it useful for alleviating stress and anxiety.
Your health is important so it is important to chose healthcare from someone is who qualified to look after you.
A properly qualified herbalist is trained in medical and plant sciences. A thorough knowledge of the traditional use of herbal medicine as well as current research is also important so that you get the best care.
A medical herbalist considers all aspects of health when approaching treatment of disease. A herbalist will not simply treat the symptoms or condition; we are trained to search out the root cause of the problem, and discover what imbalances are preventing the body from healing itself. The herbalist will select the most appropriate combination of remedies. The herbal remedies are chosen in support of the body's healing processes.
Since every person is an individual, the particular combination of herbs chosen for them by the herbalist will depend on their personal needs. Therefore every prescription is different.
Put simply, herbalists do not treat symptoms, we treat people.
Qualified herbalists are trained to safely prescribe herbal medicines alongside pharmaceutical medications, and to avoid any potential adverse interactions. If appropriate, and with your consent, your GP or consultant can be kept fully informed of any herbal regime provided.
Where necessary, a herbalist will refer you to your doctor for treatment.
Your herbalist should be a member of a professional association - that's your assurance that you are in competent hands.
As a herbalist, I am often asked if I ‘have a herb for this or that complaint’. The answer can be frustrating for both the person and me, as a herbalist. In general, the answer will be ‘yes, but it depends’.
One of the difficulties we have with our health problems is that we often want a quick solution to whatever the problem is. Who doesn’t want relief from pain as quickly as possible! If a patient has a sore throat for instance, I can suggest something like thyme or red sage tea, both to drink and gargle with. The sore throat is likely to be short-lived and will probably get better in a few days, even if I don’t suggest something to relieve the pain and soreness (and fight whatever infection may be going on). There may be more that I would suggest but this is a simple explanation and a simple answer to the ‘do you have a herb for this’ question.
If the patient frequently gets sore throats, as well as working to relieve an immediate infection, I would want to investigate this further and find out why. Thyme or sage may help the immediate situation, but what is causing the general problem of recurrent sore throats? What is happening and what is out of kilter? That is the case, no matter what your health problem. My starting point is the patient, not the health problem.
During a full consultation I will spend at least an hour exploring a patient’s health issues in depth. I’m looking for clues in the medical history – what is happening for this patient at this time, and what has contributed to this over time. How can we work together to address these problems? What changes do I need to help this person make, and how can I convince them that changes might help, and how do I support them making these changes?
Listening to the patient’s story, hearing what they tell me, working together to improve their health, and using all my professional skills as well as those wonderful healing plants that grow everywhere in the world, are the treatment, and also the answer to the question.
Sometimes it takes time to improve your health, and sometimes it can be quite a long time. It usually takes time to become unwell so recovering better health will also take time. There are few things that please me more as a herbalist, than a patient saying “I feel so well in myself”.
So, you see, if you ask me, ‘is there a herb for this, my answer will be, “yes, but it depends. It depends because, first of all, I have to know you and your health before I can say which herb or herbs are most suited to you and your particular needs.”
Yes, there generally is ‘a herb for this’, but actually there is a herbalist and a patient for this. The entirety of the therapeutic relationship – patient, herbalist and medicinal healing plants is the answer to the question.
Find a herbalist near you at https://www.nimh.org.uk/find-a-herbalist/