What is Phytotherapy?

The World Health Organisation encourages the rational application of traditional and complementary medicine, especially in the prevention and management of chronic diseases, as well as in meeting the health needs of aging populations (Source: WHO global report on traditional and complementary medicine 2019).  

“Traditional and complementary medicine (T&CM) is important and often underestimated health resource with many applications, especially in the prevention and management of lifestyle-related chronic diseases, and in meeting the health needs of the aging populations.”

– Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, Director-General, World Health Organization Foreword from WHO Global Report on Traditional and Complementary Medicine 2019

Herbal medicine is the oldest and still the most widely used system of healthcare in the world today. It is a medicine made exclusively from plants.

“Many people died while the herbs that could have saved them grow on their graves.” 

  Fr. Sebastian Kneipp (1821-1897), Father of the nature-cure movement 

Phytotherapy or medical herbalism is a complementary health system that combines ancient traditions (mainly European or Western) with the cutting edge of current scientific research.

The modern herbalist is a multidisciplinary practitioner with training in medical sciences and holistic skills taught in traditional Western herbal medicine.

What does a Western Herbalist treat?

The herbalist does not focus on ‘killing the germs’ but on the conditions (diet, lifestyle, stress, emotions, environment, spiritual, etc.) that enable the body to host the germs.

How can we shift the state of the tissues or body terrain so that it is unfriendly to the germs?

Therefore, technically, herbalists do not treat diseases but support the body for self-healing.

It is an ecological model of medicine, just like organic farming.

The herbalist is a life coach and a gardener of wellness.

If you want more specific information on how a herbalist might approach a health issue, please contact us.

Is there Good Scientific Evidence?

The foundation of modern medications, chemistry, perfumes, and botany lies in plant medicine. Many synthetic drugs are either derived from plants or are like chemicals found in nature. Also, a report based on extensive research (funded by Victoria’s Department of Human Services) and reviews by La Trobe University in Australia states the following:  

“A review of 77 systematic reviews published between 2001 and 2003 suggested that there is now evidence of the benefits of naturopathy and Western herbal medicine for almost everybody system and all major illnesses. It can be concluded that the tools of the trade of naturopathy and Western herbal medicine can be effective and that the practice of naturopathy and Western herbal medicine is therefore potentially effective.”

What is a Western Herbalist (Phytotherapist)?

A Western herbalist:  

  • Is trained in the philosophies, principles, and practice of Western herbal medicine and medical sciences.
  • Has a specialist university education from an accredited institution and association.
  • Combines conventional medical knowledge with a scientific and traditional understanding of plant medicine.
  • Takes a holistic view of health.
  • Assess you as a whole person.
  • Is involved in prescribing effective doses of herbal remedies that are of pharmaceutical grade, prescriptions that are safe for human use in promoting wellness.
  • Seeks to address the root causes. 
  • Works towards stimulating or strengthening the body’s normal functions, and thereby help the body heal itself.
  • Always aims toward creating a trusting and healing relationship with the patient.
  • Inspires positive and lasting changes.
  • Provides nutrition, lifestyle, stress management, and psycho-spiritual advice.
  • Maintains a high standard of professional practice.

Benefits of Consulting an Accredited Western Herbalist?

Your practitioner:  

  • Is a fully qualified university-level specialist in herbal medicine.
  • Abides by a professional Code of Ethics.
  • Maintains continuous professional education.

How does Phytotherapy Work?

In phytotherapy, plant medicines are selected based on a professional consultation with the client and differential diagnosis will be conducted if further assessment is necessary. They are selected to stimulate or strengthen the body’s normal functions, and thereby assist the body to heal itself.  

The medical herbalist approaches each client as a unique individual when making a holistic diagnosis. Any herbal medicine prescribed may be a combination of plants chosen for the specific needs of the patient. Herbs that prescribed may be in the form of tea, tinctures, capsules, tablet, and a lotion/cream for topical use.

What to expect when Consulting a Western Herbalist?

  • A full and comprehensive consultation includes:
  • A detailed case and medical history, including diet, lifestyle, sleep pattern, digestion, emotional states, etc.
  • An assessment of the tongue, pulse, and other differential diagnostic techniques to determine one’s tissue type and energetic profile.
  • Individually prescribed and dispensed herbal medicine with clear dosage instructions.
  • Dietary, stress management, and lifestyle medicine.
  • Naturopathic assessment.
  • Confidentiality.
  • Professionalism.

Is Phytotherapy Safe?

Phytotherapy is for everyone (children, adults, elderly), and it can help to support wellness. 

Phytotherapy is a safe and potentially useful complementary health therapy to support the healing and coping of chronic health conditions within a holistic context – addressing imbalances in the body, mind, and spirit. The objective is, with the help of medicinal plants, to stimulate or strengthen the body’s normal functions, and thereby assist the body to heal itself.  

Phytotherapy is very safe and effective when prescribed by a fully qualified medical herbalist. Self-care with herbs and supplements, due to their complexity, should be complemented with professional consultations.

Can herbs be taken Alongside my Doctor’s prescription?

Western herbalists are trained to work with doctor’s prescriptions, so your herbal protocol will be chosen in consideration with any current medication. Follow-up appointments at regular intervals will be made to monitor your progress and adjust the protocol accordingly.

Is Phytotherapy Suitable for Children?

Under professional guidance, phytotherapy is generally suitable, safe, and useful to support children’s wellness and general health. 

WHAT IS THE DIFFERENCE BETWEEN PHYTOTHERAPY AND TRADITIONAL MEDICINE (CHINESE, AYURVEDIC, ETC.)?

There is value in any form of medicine, whether is conventional or traditional.

Traditional medicine is the cumulative clinical experience of hundreds or thousands of years. Our ancestors did not have much processed or refined food, pesticides, chemicals, emf exposure, air pollution, and everyday urban stress. 

Phytotherapy integrates medical science and traditional wisdom to offer a holistic, client-centered, and natural approach.


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