A bit about me and the Herbalism I practice

My name is Petra and I am a medical herbalist. Medical herbalism is a system of natural medicine using plant extracts and herbs to help treat physical and some minor mental disorders. I studied a system of medical herbalism called ‘physiomedicalism’. Physiomedicalism is a system of herbal medicine that evolved in North America during the later half of the 19th century. In Physiomedicalism the whole body is treated and aims to restore balance or harmony between all the organ systems. When all parts of the body are in balnce, ‘Vital Force’ akin to the life force known as ‘chi’ in Chinese Traditional Medicine, can flow freely and the body is considered to be in a state of health.

How I use herbs

I use herbs to  address the underlying physiology of the disease, that is the underlying organic change, rather than the presenting symptoms. For example, some skin diseases are thought to be the result of the body being unable to eliminate toxins via the liver or kidneys, the outbreak of the skin condition  is therefore ‘just’ a symptom due to some organic change in another organ system which has unbalanced ‘Vital Force’.  To return the body to a balanced state we need to return Vital Force to its normal state, which in turn will return the body to health which will be evidenced by a cleaning up of the skin condition.  Where the disease manifests itself is of secondary importance, although we may also prescribe herbs to soothe the skin condition.

In the horse world we might look at founder as one of the conditions where founder is not the disease itself but a symptom. Current research validates this by suggesting that founder is precipitated by a diet which has caused the horse to develop insulin resitance, somewhat akin to diabetes in humans, and thus we would look at diet and supporting the pancreas, balancing its actions. Naturally we would also suggest proper natural/barefoot hoof care by a specialist barefoot trimmer to manage the symptom of founder and use herbs to relieve the pain and inflammation associated with founder.

Herbs have been used since the dawn of time as medicines and, in fact, many common drugs are ,in actual fact, made from herbal extracts. The natural chemical properties of certain herbs have been shown to contain of themselves, medicinal value. However, unlike conventional medicine, herbalists use the ‘whole’ herb or plant rather than isolating and breaking down chemical compounds and then synthesising it. This is because the plant, being a part of Nature, is said to represent perfect balance; healing requires the natural combination of elements in the plant or herb, not just a single chemical within it.

“… physiomedicalism is medication in harmony with true physiology, recognising in all conditions the indications of the ‘Vital Force’ and hence abstaining from all poisonous medication, (believing that) whatever has for its tendency to kill cannot have for its tendency to cure”. (Physiomedical Therapeutics, Materia Medica and Pharmacy, T.J. Lyle, Ohio 1897)

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