Clinical Herbal Medicine


Medicinally, a herb is any plant part or plant used for its therapeutic value. Yet, many of the world's herbal traditions also include mineral and animal substances as “herbal medicines".


Herbal medicine is the art and science of using herbs for promoting health and preventing and treating illness. It has persisted as the world's primary form of medicine since the beginning of time, with a written history more than 5000 years old. While the use of herbs in Britain has been overshadowed by dependence on modern medications the last 100 years, 80% of the world's population still rely primarily upon traditional healing practices, most of which is herbal medicine.


Most pharmaceutical drugs are single chemical entities that are highly refined and purified and are often synthesised. In 1987 about 85% of modern drugs were originally derived from plants. Currently, only about 15% of drugs are derived from plants. In contrast, herbal medicines are prepared from living or dried plants and contain hundreds to thousands of interrelated compounds. Science is beginning to demonstrate that the safety and effectiveness of herbs are often related to the synergy of its many constituents.


The primary focus of the herbalist is to treat people as individuals irrespective of the disease or condition they have and to stimulate their innate healing power through the use of such interventions as herbs, diet and lifestyle. The primary focus of conventional physicians is to attack diseases using strong chemicals that are difficult for the body to process, or through the removal of organs. Not only does this ignore the unique makeup of the individual, but many patients under conventional care suffer from side effects that are as bad as the condition being treated. The philosophical difference between herbalists and conventional physicians has profound significance.


Herbalists are people who dedicate their lives to working with medicinal plants. They include native healers, scientists, naturopaths, holistic medical doctors, researchers, writers, herbal pharmacists, medicine makers, wildcrafters, harvesters and herbal farmers to name a few. While herbalists are quite varied, the common love and respect for life, especially the relationship between plants and humans, unites them. Persons specialising in the therapeutic use of plants may be medical herbalists, traditional herbalists, acupuncturists, midwives, naturopathic physicians, or even one's own grandmother.


Herbs can offer you a wide range of safe and effective therapeutic agents that you can use as an integral part of your own health care program. They can be used in three essential ways:

1) to prevent disease

2) to treat disease

3) to maximize one's health potential.

Herbs are also used for the symptomatic relief of minor ailments.


Medicine is an art, not just a science. No one can predict which herbal medicine will work best for every individual in all situations. This can only come with educated self-experimentation and experience or by seeking the assistance of those who are knowledgeable in clinical herbal medicine. The simpler the condition, the easier it is to find a solution. The more complicated the condition, the greater the need there is to seek expert advice.


The success of herbal treatment always depends upon a variety of factors including how long the condition has existed, the severity of the condition, the dosage and mode of administration of the herb(s) and how diligently treatment plans are followed. It can be as short as 60 seconds when using a spoonful of herbal bitters for gas and bloating after a heavy meal; 20 minutes when soaking in a bath with rosemary tea for a headache; days when using tonics to build energy; or months to correct long-standing gynaecological imbalances. Difficult chronic conditions can often take years to reverse.


It depends on the herbs. Most herbs sold as dietary supplements are very safe. When used appropriately, the majority of herbal medicines used by practitioners have no adverse side effects. A review of the traditional and scientific literature worldwide demonstrates that serious side effects from the use of herbal medicines are rare. According to Norman Farnsworth: “Based on published reports, side effects or toxic reactions associated with herbal medicines in any form are rare. In fact, of all classes of substances reported to cause toxicities of sufficient magnitude to be reported in the Great Britain, plants are the least problematic."?


Read product labels carefully. Many manufacturers provide appropriate information. There are also a number of references that are commonly available (see sidebar). As with all medicines, the primary determination of whether a medicine is appropriate for you is based on your own experience.


How to apply for a traditional herbal registration (THR) to market a herbal medicine (remedy) in the UK.

You must apply for a traditional herbal registration (THR) before you can market a herbal medicine in the UK.

THR is only granted if the medicine is used for minor health conditions where medical supervision is not required (e.g. a cold).

If your traditional herbal medicine claims to treat major health conditions, you 

need to apply for a marketing authorisation before you can place it on the market.

How to apply

Evidence commissioned for the Review • 2014 - Herbal Medicines Advisory Committee. Safety, regulation and herbal medicines: a review of the evidence. 

(Annex B - List of evidence used in the Review 1. Evidence commissioned for the Review • 2014 - Herbal Medicines Advisory Committee. Safety, regulation and herbal medicines: a review of the evidence 2. Other sources of information referred to • 2013 - Westminster Hall Debate – Herbal Medicine Regulation. Hansard, 9 July 2013: Column 1WH • 2011 - Statement by the Secretary of State for Health – Consultation on Acupuncture, Herbal Medicine and Traditional Chinese Medicine, Hansard, 16 February 2011, Column 84WS • 2008 - Report to Ministers from the Department of Health Steering Group on the Statutory Regulation of Practitioners of Acupuncture, Herbal Medicine, Traditional Chinese • Medicine and Other Traditional Medicine Systems Practised in the UK (Pittilo Report). • 2006 - Informal discussion pap)

 The herbal medicines advisory committee primarily regulates the manufacture and labelling of herbal products and has legal authority over assuring that products are manufactured correctly and are truthfully labelled with respect to ingredients and claims. Additionally, there are a number of trade associations that require member companies to adhere to specific codes of ethics and conduct their own testing programs.


Herbalists can practice either as primary health care providers or adjunctive health care consultants. Most visits to a herbalist begin with a consultation about your past and current health history, your dietary and lifestyle practices, or other factors related to your health issue. The herbalist, with your involvement, should develop an integrated herbal program that addresses your specific health needs and concerns. You should be treated as a whole person, not as a disease.


Various herbal traditions have developed worldwide. In the West, there are a number of different traditions which include folkloric herbal practices, clinical western herbal medicine, naturopathic medicine, practitioners of Ayurveda or Chinese medicine and numerous Native American herbal traditions. Some practitioners use highly developed systems of diagnosis and treatment while others base their treatments on individual knowledge and experience. Every person must find the herbal practitioner that is most appropriate for them.


Traditional Western or Community Herbalists base their work on traditional folk medicine or indications of historical uses of herbs and modern scientific information. Backgrounds may include folk, Native Population, eclectic, wise woman, earth-centered or other traditions. They may be trained through traditional or non-traditional methods such as apprenticeships, schools or self-study. Medical or Clinical Herbalists are present in the United Kingdom and in most of the nations in the European Union. Professional education is offered in the UK and throughout Europe in a variety of formats. Most programs cover the traditional uses of herbs, the basic medical sciences of biochemistry, nutrition and anatomy as well as diagnosis and prescription. The most common titles given to medical herbalists from the Western world include: RH (AHG), Registered Herbalist, American Herbalists Guild; MCPP Member, College of Practitioners of Phytotherapy; FNIMH Fellow, National Institute of Medical Herbalists; MNIMH Member, National Institute of Medical Herbalists; FNHAA Fellow, National Herbalists Association of Australia.

Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM), the traditional medicine system of China, is the second-largest medical system in the world after Western medicine. TCM doctors go through extensive training in theory, practice, herbal therapy and acupuncture. Quite a few states now license acupuncturists, and many consider them primary health care providers. Their titles may include L.Ac. Licensed Acupuncturist; OMD Doctor of Oriental Medicine; or Dip. C.H. (NCCA) Diplomat of Chinese Herbology from the National Commission for the Certification of Acupuncturists.

Traditional Ayurvedic Medicine, (Ayurveda), the traditional medical system of India, is the third largest herbal medicine system in the world today. Ayurvedic doctors treat more than 80 percent of the people on the Indian subcontinent and go through extensive training that can last as long as 12 years. Some use the title M.D. (Ayur.) when they come to English speaking countries, while those who have passed the accreditation process of the American Ayurvedic Association are given the title D.Av. Diplomate in Ayurvedic Health Sciences.

Naturopathic Medicine integrates traditional natural therapeutics with modern scientific medical diagnoses and western medical standards of care. Most licensed naturopathic physicians, (N.D.) have received full medical training at one of four fully accredited medical College or University in the United Kingdom.  In the UK  you can easily get naturopathic medicine practitioner and there are currently 13 states of United States license the practice of naturopathic medicine.


First and foremost recognise that the relationship between a health care provider and a client should begin with clearly articulated goals and responsibilities. Every client should be fully informed of the experience, training and services provided by the practitioner. Similarly, the provider should clearly understand the goals and desires of the client. Together the client and provider must determine if the experience and services provided meet the needs of the client. For help in finding a qualified herbalist, either contact us or herb store for referrals, ask for recommendations from people whose judgment you trust, or contact a national and International organisations, Coaching  suchInternational Association of Neuro Linguistic PrCoaching suchas the International Alliance of Holistic Therapies and Herbal Medical Associations.

Our Herbalists from any tradition with sufficient education and clinical experience, who demonstrate advanced knowledge in the medicinal use of plants and who pass the AHG credentialing process (a careful review by a multidisciplinary admissions board) receive professional status and the title, Registered Herbalist, AHG. The AHG has a developed a code of ethics, continuing education program and specific standards for professional members.. Please contact us for authentic herbal medicine treatments