Why Come to Us

Why Come to Us – FAQs about Herbal Medicine and Terra Sacra

Q: Why should I come to see you for a consultation?

A: To receive time, care and a fresh perspective on your health and well-being issue.

We take the time to assess, treat and support you based on a holistic and natural medicine approach, which includes looking at the complex interactions between physical, psycho-emotional and spiritual factors impacting on your health. Our approach is “bespoke” to your issues and your health goals.

Sabrina is a Medical Herbalist and counsellor (humanistic and psycho-spiritual models) and has additional training in Endobiogenic Medicine and functional nutrition to ensure all of these factors are evaluated and incorporated into your treatment plan, according to individual needs.

Because you are seeking an alternative when other medical approaches haven’t been successful or you prefer a holistic and natural medicine approach to your health issues.

Herbal medicine, when used by a trained professional, can provide a safe and effective alternative to or help reduce the side effects of, some of the pharmaceutical drugs in use today.  Furthermore, a holistic, natural and supportive approach such as the one we offer is a gentle, effective and sustainable option for supporting health and well-being, and helping your body regain its own innate ability to heal and function properly.

Q: What kind of conditions can you help me with?

A: We can help you manage a number of health-related issues including:

  • Digestive and gastro-intestinal disorders: GORD/GERD (reflux), “leaky gut syndrome”, dysbiosis, colitis, IBS (irritable bowel syndrome), IBD (inflammatory bowel disease) including Crohn’s and ulcerative colitis
  • Weight management
  • Stress, anxiety, low mood, trouble with focus/concentration, insomnia or difficulty sleeping, lack of energy
  • Migraines and headaches
  • Women’s issues: PMT/PMS, peri-menopausal symptoms and menopausal issues, PCOS, other menstrual cycle-related issues
  • Fertility
  • Skin: including eczema/dermatitis, psoriasis and acne
  • Atopic conditions: allergies, food intolerances, hay fever/seasonal rhinitis, asthma
  • Auto-immune conditions: Lupus, rheumatoid arthritis, MS, etc.
  • Endocrine conditions: Chronic Fatigue Syndrome, adrenal fatigue, Metabolic syndrome, insulin-resistance and diabetes, thyroid issues
  • Chronic pain conditions such as Fibromyalgia
  • Joint pain and arthritic conditions
  • Muscular aches and pains
  • Lyme Disease
  • High blood pressure (hypertension) and high cholesterol
  • Sexual issues and prostate (BPH)
  • Coughs and colds (including recurrent conditions): laryngitis, coryza (common cold), bronchitis, sinusitis, ear infections, flus

Q: What is a Medical Herbalist?

A: Medical Herbalists are health care providers trained to use plant-based medicines to treat their patients. Western Herbal Medicine is a form of traditional healthcare using plant-based medicines and derives from several thousand year-old European as well as more recent North American traditions.

Medical Herbalists have an accredited university Bachelor of Science degree which combines orthodox medical training such as physiology, anatomy, pathology, biochemistry, and clinical diagnostic techniques, with scientific and empirical knowledge of medicinal herbs such as botany, pharmacognosy, phytochemistry, materia medica and herbal therapeutics. Training is also complemented with clinical practice at Herbal Clinics or Hospitals. Medical Herbalists are trained with the highest professional standards and apply current scientific research and understanding as well as clinical and empirical evidence to support their treatment programmes.

In the UK medical herbalists have the right to primary diagnosis as well as to prescribe and make plant-based medicines.

Sabrina is a member of the National Institute of Medical Herbalists, the main body supervising medical herbalists in the UK.

Q: How is a Medical Herbalist different from a GP or a conventional medical practitioner?

A: A Medical Herbalist differs from a conventional GP in a number of ways. In particular, a Medical Herbalist takes the time to  assess your issues  thoroughly and aims to look beyond your symptoms to consider the whole person, taking account of the complexity of contributing factors which may go to the root cause of your issue. In this way, the cause as well as the symptoms can be addressed. Furthermore, the healing philosophy is different since natural medicine aims to optimise an individual’s innate ability to recover or heal rather than simply “attack” the illness (or its symptoms).

Instead of conventional drugs, Medical Herbalists may prescribe high quality herbal medicines, use nutritional protocols as well as advise on managing psycho-spiritual factors to address everyday (and more complex) health issues for which a patient may normally see their GP. However, we may also work closely and liaise when required (with your permission), with your GP or other healthcare providers/specialists if we feel they may be better placed to address your health concerns effectively.

Q: Is a Medical Herbalist the same thing as a homeopath?

A: Many people confuse medical herbalists with homeopaths possibly because many homeopathic products are also made from herbs. However, Western Herbal Medicine and Homeopathy are not the same thing. Although they are both forms of natural medicine, and both use herbal extracts, the philosophy behind treatment, modes of preparation of the medicines, dosage, and indications are very different. Although there are several significant differences, the short of it is that Western Herbal Medicine uses plant-based products which have a dose-related pharmacological reaction where the therapeutic effect of the plant can relate to its dose or concentration whereas homeopathic products are diluted to minute and even “energetic” proportions.

That said, herbal medicines can work very well and synergistically alongside homeopathy.

Q: What if I just want more information on how to be healthy, feel better or prevent illness?

A: We can help support you in increasing your awareness of health issues, improving your lifestyle, preventing illness or optimising your health and well-being even if you don’t have a particular health issue. We believe that everyone should be able to take control of their health and well-being and we realise that navigating all of the information and misinformation out there can be a difficult process. Our educational workshops, seminars and retreats as well as one-to-one Nutritional and Lifestyle Modification (Wellness Coaching) consultations aim to empower our patients with information that will allow them to take control of their well-being, improve their quality of life and provide a long-term solution to their health problems.

Visit our website for more information on these and other services we offer.

Q: Does herbal medicine really work?

A: Herbal medicine has been practiced for thousands of years and around 80% of the world’s population still rely on it as their primary means of healthcare. Furthermore, plant-derived chemical constituents are the basis for many pharmaceutical drugs today. However, unlike pharmaceutical drugs, whole plant herbal medicines used by Medical Herbalists take account of the complex and synergistic chemical nature of plants. This makes them capable of providing unique benefits arising out of their capacity to adapt and enhance physiological processes and to modify abnormal function, which means they can impact the root cause of your health issue rather than simply manage symptoms.

Furthermore, although in some cases they may take longer to have a clinical effect than pharmaceutical drugs, when handled by a trained practitioner they are also less likely to cause unwanted side-effects and can have longer lasting results.

Q: Is herbal medicine supported by evidence?

Herbal medicines are made from medically active plants with uses that have been recorded over thousands of years. This empirical use comprises an evidence base in its own right which supports the efficacy and safety of this natural system of medicine.  Although the traditional empirical uses of medicinal plants are now more and more often being tested with current evidence-based pharmaceutical models of randomised controlled trials (RCTs), these may not be the most effective way of evidencing medicinal plants and their uses because this system reduces medicinal plants to their constituent parts. This is an important issue because a key difference between herbal medicines and pharmaceutical drugs is in their degree of chemical complexity: pharmaceutical drugs are generally single compounds, whereas medicinal plants contain hundreds of chemical compounds.

These compounds act in much the same manner as pharmaceutical drugs but the complexity of whole plant constituents working together have other effects which are not taken into account (or are difficult to test) in RTCs, including buffering or synergistic effects. This and the fact that every individual has a unique structure and physiology (or way of functioning) within a unique medical history, explains why modern clinical trials are often not suitable for studying herbal medicines. This currently dominant research model only tests single chemicals (often based on a pre-determined hypothesis and financed by special interests) either in vitro (in a culture dish) or in vivo (using animal test subjects) or when on real people often on people with only broad physical similarities; whereas the complexity of medicinal herbs make them best suited to take account of all the unique differences and circumstances between individuals. This is why the vast body of empirical use is a valuable and tested form of evidence in its own right.

Even so, there is now a substantial body of pharmacological research on numerous medicinal plants that supports the effectiveness of herbal medicine in the treatment of many health problems. In addition, herbal medicine is becoming ever more relevant as an alternative to contemporary healthcare in light of the increasing number of challenges such as increasing costs, pharmaceutical side effects and inefficiencies (for instance antibiotic resistance).

 

 

Q: Can herbs and pharmaceutical drugs be used together?

A: Yes, there are many instances in which herbal medicines and pharmaceutical drugs work well together, for instance:

  • herbal medicines can strengthen the body’s response to prescription drugs thereby allowing for a lower dose of the drug,
  • they can help manage an allergic or adverse reaction to a drug treatment, or
  • they can be an effective alternative to pharmaceutical drugs.

However, in some situations there can also be negative interactions and some herbal medicines should not be taken alongside certain other pharmaceutical drugs.

Medical herbalists are trained to know which herbal medicines to use safely and will be able to advise on these situations. This is why it is very important that all healthcare providers responsible for your care are fully informed about the herbal medicines, supplements and drugs you are taking, including over-the-counter products.

 

Do not hesitate to contact us if you wish to discuss a health concern prior to booking an appointment.