Here is how to know when you need to see a doctor and when you should seek herbal remedies

Herbal remedies. Pixabay
Herbal remedies. Pixabay

To see a herbalist or not to see a herbalist? That is the question.

To see a herbalist or not to see a herbalist? That is the question.

Well, sometimes it is. Often people feel they need to choose between seeing their doctor and taking prescribed medicines or seeing a herbalist instead.

This is simply not the case.

The two approaches to health care complement each other beautifully.

A qualified herbalist will never encourage you to go against the advice of your GP, but they may offer treatment and advice that can offer you a different perspective.

I always prefer that my patients are seeing their doctor alongside seeing me.

A doctor can refer you for various tests and examinations that a herbalist doesn’t have access to.

This is an important part of identifying or ruling out conditions that need specific treatment.

Sometimes though, your tests may not reveal any problems and this can be incredibly frustrating, especially if you are being told that there is nothing wrong, despite feeling unwell.

In cases like this, your herbalist may be the best person to help.

Doctors are trained to identify, treat and manage diseases.

So if there is no obvious disease present, there is nothing for them to cure.

You may be offered medication to help manage your symptoms but it’s common to want to understand your health and get to the bottom of any problems.

A herbalist isn’t there to treat disease.

He or she is there to promote and improve your health.

Most herbalists will take a holistic approach to treatment and they will dig deeper to find the cause of your symptoms even if it isn’t immediately obvious.

Is your diet playing a role?

Are you absorbing nutrients as well as you should?

Is your tiredness connected to poor sleep, sluggish digestion or chronic stress?

When you speak with a herbalist, we will discuss all aspects of your well-being and take time to explore every angle.

Enough digging will usually reveal the less obvious causes that might otherwise go undetected.

Once you have a diagnosis or have been told that there isn’t one, your doctor may offer you medication or treatment.

I encourage people to be proactive in their exploration of their treatment options as I’m a big supporter of informed choice.

If you’ve been offered medication, treatment or surgery, ask your doctor about it.

Will it cure your condition or will it only alleviate the symptoms?

How long will it take to work?

Are there any side effects or after effects you should be aware of?

Are there other ways of managing your condition? What will happen if you choose not to take the medicine or have the surgery?

Once you know the pros and cons, you can then decide if this treatment plan is right for you. This is an excellent time to speak to your herbalist.

A herbalist can offer diet and lifestyle advice that your GP may not have the time to explain.

They may be able to help you with the side effects of certain medications or offer you an alternative method of managing your symptoms if you are worried about taking long term drugs for chronic conditions like pain or digestive upset.

In my practice I’ve helped people with skin conditions to reduce their reliance on steroid creams, change their diet to manage their IBS, lower or come off strong pain medications that were making them ill.

If someone sits in front of me and I truly believe that herbal medicine has nothing to offer them, I will openly tell them so.

My job is to improve a persons health and sometimes that involves explaining the limitations of herbal medicine and encouraging them to take their doctors offer of advice, medication or surgery.

If you’re unsure about what choices are right for your health, remember that you are not restricted to a single line of treatment. See the physio, have the surgery, visit a therapist, take the medication, adjust your diet and if appropriate, take the herbs that your herbalist has to offer.

For more information on how herbs and nutrition can improve your health, contact Nicola at her herbal medicine clinic on 01524 413733.