Medical Herbalism / Phytotherapy consists of using plants, together with modern scientific research and thorough medical training. Training received by individuals calling themselves ‘herbalist’ or Traditional Healers differ from that received by Phytotherapists / Medical Herbalist. Phytotherapists refer to GP’s if they know that the patient is requiring immediate medical intervention, they are trained to always recommend what is best for the patient. In South Africa a Phytotherapist / Medical Herbalist must have completed a five year post- graduate Bsc.degree in Phytotherapy and professional registration with the AHPCSA.
This training is similar to medical students’ training and includes full courses in Anatomy, Physiology, Pathology, Internal Medicine, Differential Diagnosis, Clinical Methods, etc. Instead of pharmacology of drugs used in conventional medicine, herbs and their pharmacology are studied. Phytotherapist is skilled in compounding and dispensing medicines, specifically formulated to treat and/or prevent disease. Emphasis is placed on prevention and treatment of disease and includes nutrition and lifestyle management.
We are specialists in the formulation of herbal prescriptions that are uniquely designed for each patient. We aim to treat the person as a whole and get to the root of problems in order to eradicate symptoms and adress the cause of disease. For herbal medicine to work optimally, it needs to be used holistically in a formulation made specifically for you. The remedies available in health shops or pharmacies are generalised formulations and are aimed at the treatment of symptoms and as such do not address the cause of disease.
Herbs used are of the highest quality. These herbs – due to the strength, potency, quality, purety, medicinal action/interaction and specific patient based – will not be found in your local store / pharmacy. Several herbal formulations are imported. This is not an “over the counter” product. We do prescribe herbs in the form of tinctures, teas, capsules, tablets, syrups, creams, poultices, linaments or oils, depending on the condition treated. Phytotherapist treat their patients with the highest quality herbal medicine. They use only whole plant extracts in all their formulations, each herb prescribed is compounded to achieve maximum quality and ensure efficacy of each herb.
What to expect from a visit to a Medical Herbalist / Phytotherapist?
A consultation with a Phytotherapist starts with a full medical history. The practitioner then performs all relevant physical examinations and may send the patient for any laboratory tests (incl blood tests / urine tests etc.) / X-Rays etc. that may be required – and based on these clinical findings the Phytotherapist makes a medical diagnosis and assesses the patients general state of health from a holistic perspective. Sick notes might be issued so that the patient can fully recover from current condition being treated. The practitioner will then formulate a treatment and management plan, including lifestyle adjustments, nutrition and a comprehensive herbal prescription, specific to that patient.
Which conditions are suitable for Phytotherapy?
Most conditions respond well to herbal medicine. This includes acute and chronic conditions from feeling ‘run down’ to Fever, Colds and Flu, Arthritis, Autoimmune Disease, Hormonal Imbalances (PMS, Menopause), Infertility, Impotence, Skin Disease (acne, psoriasis, eczema), Digestive disease, Urinary Tract Disease, Respiratory/lung diseases, Hypertention, Diabetis Mellitis, Choleterol (Hyperlipidaemia), ADHD, Depression and Anxiety to name but a few.
As Practitioners of Holistic Medicine, Phytotherapy is also used to Prevent / Treat Disease, so one may visit a Phytotherapist for assistance with maintenance of health, prevention and treatment of disease.
Herbal medicine may be used in conjunction with conventional medicine if under the supervision of a Medical Herbalist / Phytotherapist. Phytotherapists are specially trained to understand how herbs and drugs interact, patients on chronic medication require this professional attention and will benefit from the formulations dispensed by a Phytotherapist. This ensures that you avoid side effects and drug interactions, and receive the best possible advice and treatment. It is, therefore, recommended that if you are considering trying herbal medication that you first consult a Phytotherapist.
A Phytotherapist is trained to understand these underlying causes of disease and uses herbal prescriptions tailor-made for you to correct and optimise the body’s natural functioning. Using ‘standardised extracts’ for herbs may cause side effects, especially if you’re on conventional medication. Consult a Phytotherapist before using any herbal remedies. Legislation has been passed to enable medical aids to cover Phytotherapy. However, it is advisable to check with your individual medical aid scheme before visiting your Practitioner. Rates might be above medical aid rates.
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