Herbal Medicine


Plants are the original medicines and the chemical compounds within them have many medicinal and health-enhancing actions. The botanical extracts used by modern herbalists are safe, pure and work with your body to both relieve and prevent symptoms and restore full health. It is safe to take many herbs alongside conventional medication and Samuel is fully trained in potential herb/drug interactions, in order to offer complementary options.

Modern herbal medicine uses pure plant extracts to treat not only a wide variety of conditions but also the patient as an individual. No two people are the same and neither are their ailments, even if they have been given the same diagnosis. So, a professional medical herbalist will make up a prescription, using natural plant medicines that are unique to you.

Herbal medicine is a key resource for those looking to treat illness and regain vitality using natural means. By working with body and mind (and perhaps soul too), major improvements in health become possible.

Herbal extracts make potent medicines. Though they can help in acute illness, they are most likely to prove helpful in treating chronic health problems. Herbal medicines are best seen as allies - they can help you walk the path back towards good health, but they cannot necessarily walk it for you.

Things such as a sound diet, adequate sleep and rest, exercise, relaxation and a positive attitude are the building blocks that lay the foundations for the return to good health.

Attention to these areas of one’s life is an important part of the herbal approach to health. Herbal medicines can then be used to treat specific concerns or problems such as poor immune function, chronic inflammation, anxiety or digestive weakness.

With appropriate advice and an accurate choice of herbal extracts, this approach can produce rapid results where the person is basically healthy, though gradual, week on week, improvement is more common.

Conditions Treated

Herbal medicines can then be used to treat specific concerns or problems such as poor immune function, chronic inflammation, anxiety or digestive weakness. Samuel has particular experience and interest in helping couples conceive and in male fertility specifically.

There is considerable research evidence to support the use of herbal medicine as an effective treatment in the following conditions:

  • Functional Dyspepsia and indigestion
  • Irritable Bowel Syndrome (IBS)
  • Premenstrual Syndrome (PMS)
  • Back Pain and Osteoarthritis
  • Mild to Moderate Depression
  • Migraine
  • Acute infections including rhinosinusitis

You might like to consider some reasons to consult a herbalist

1.) Because you have a preference for natural medicines

For some people herbs fit their beliefs and values (about the world in general, and about “medicine” in particular) best and are their first choice

2.) You need a fresh perspective and to feel “listened to”

A herbalist can often provide a new and insightful view of your predicament arising from their understanding of traditional medicine and their holistic approach. They will take time in trying to fully analyse your whole situation.

3.) You’ve seen the research or had a personal recommendation

Many people choose to see a herbalist after coming across studies or stories suggesting the value of particular herbs whilst others are recommended by satisfied clients.

4.) You have heard the “ancient call”...

Somewhere deep within we “know” herbal medicine, we co-evolved with plants and herbal medicine is the default system of medicine for our species. At this crucial time many people are rediscovering and revaluing our original healing tools – the herbs (Acknowledgement: Peter Conway M.N.I.M.H.)


Treatments Duration Price
Initial Herbal Medicine Assessment up to 45 minutes


Follow Up Appointment up to 30 minutes

£25 (15 minutes)


What is a Medical Herbalist?

I completed a professional course in Herbal Medicine. Areas of study include biochemistry, physiology, pharmacology, pathology as well as clinical skills and required hours with patients in the student clinic. A medical herbalist can legally diagnose, prescribe and dispense medicinal herbal formulas including restricted herbs that are not for general sale.

How does Herbal Medicine work?

Plants contain a vast array of constituents known as phytochemicals, which can be used to gently support, rebalance and modify our own biochemistry. Herbs can be grouped according to their actions and many are specific to particular organs or body systems.
For example, herbal actions that may be used in a formula to restore digestive function can include:

  • Astringents (can reduce loose stools), bitters (to stimulate digestive juices)..
  • Carminatives (to reduce gas and bloating)..
  • Cholagogues and choleretics (to support bile production and flow). .
  • Demulcents and anti-inflammatory’s (to soothe and reduce inflammation)..
  • Laxatives (to support regularity)..
  • Spasmolytic (to resolve cramping)..
  • Hepatics (to support the liver)..
  • Pungent and aromatics (to stimulate appetite and reduce nausea or indigestion)..
  • Anti-microbials (to clear infection)..
  • Antacids or mucoprotective herbs (to reduce reflux or sooth ulcers).

A personal prescription might also include herbs to support the nervous system if stress was affecting digestion, or the immune system if you are reacting to multiple foods, or hormones if symptoms are worse at a certain time of the month.
As a form of holistic therapy, a medical herbalist would look at you and how your symptoms are related and seek to resolve the contributing factors not just supress a symptom.

What can I use herbal medicine for?

People can take herbal medicine for many different reasons. Patients might have a specific medical condition, be suffering from stress or anxiety, or just wish to maximise their well-being. While many herbs can provide symptom relief, the aim of herbal medicine is to treat the whole person and restore health not just supress symptoms. Herbal medicine can be really beneficial in supporting chronic long-term conditions and also, in acute first aid situation and as an adjunct to conventional therapies.

How long will it take for me to feel better?

This will be different for everyone and depend on your starting point. Some patients feel the benefits immediately, and some effects may take longer to feel. You may be prescribed a formula for acute relief of immediate symptoms and a main formula to address longer term issues, generally to experience the full benefits 3 months minimum is recommended, although the formula maybe adjusted as you go to address changing patterns in symptoms.
Some patients can take a short course of herbs to rebalance and return to their desired state of health while others with chronic and long-term conditions such as auto-immune may wish to continue to take herbs for a longer period of time to keep their condition in remission. Some herbs are only for short term use while others are safe to take long term.

How do I take them?

Herbal tinctures are taken in a specified dose usually in water or a little juice to mask the taste, at specified times each day, usually after a meal, or before if indicated.
Herbal tablets or capsules are also taken with water as above.
Herbal teas are steeped (1 tablespoon per mug) in boiling water for 10 minutes in a covered pot or cup to keep the essential oils in, and drunk usually up to three times a day. They can be brewed the night before and drunk cold the next day. Roots, and woody stems or seeds may need to be decocted (boiled) for 30 minutes to extract their constituents so read labels for specific guidance.

Is there evidence that they work?

Yes, lots of evidence in many different forms. Medical Herbalists mainly use whole-herb extracts in unique formulas for each patient, so it's difficult to produce the kind of rigorous, large-scale clinical trials that support the use of pharmaceuticals. However, there is a huge amount of clinical experience and history of traditional use underlying the effectiveness of herbal medicines. And an ever-growing body of clinical trials and observational studies.

I have tried buying herbal medicine from the high street and it didn’t seem to do much?

The supplement industry in the UK is very poorly regulated in terms of quality and most not all manufacturers often use very low levels of a particular herb to keep costs low and to ensure safety so that anyone with any existing condition on any medication can take the product. What this often means however, is that the product doesn’t contain a therapeutic dose- an amount that would be needed to deliver the desired outcome, which is why working with a medical herbalist who can prescribe the right dose for you is so important.

Are herbs dangerous, can they do harm?

All substances ingested at certain doses have the potential to make you sick, on the whole herbal medicines are very safe, at the worst side effects can be upset digestion although this is rare. We are all biochemically unique and some people may react to certain herbs but again this is rare. Some plants are very toxic and their use is restricted to licensed practitioners in regulated doses. Most reported case of adverse effects or toxicity from herbal medicine occur when the herbs are adulterated or mixed with the wrong plant, which is why it’s important to work with a herbalist who sources their medicine from a trusted supplier.

Isn’t alcohol bad for you? Why do herbal tinctures use alcohol?

Alcohol is a powerful solvent and allows the active ingredients that aren’t water-soluble to be extracted from the herbs. Since the amount of diluted alcohol ingested is very small- roughly the same as eating a very ripe banana, it is considered negligible and safe. Some people may If wish to decrease the amount of alcohol and you can add your dose to boiling water which will allow a good proportion of the alcohol to evaporate. Medicines can also be dispensed in powder’s, capsules and as teas which can be equally effective and more suited to certain individuals.

Is it the same as homeopathy? What's the difference?

A very common misunderstanding, homeopathy is a very different practice, using ‘vibrational’ essences of plants providing greatly-diluted essence of various substances. It doesn't use plant extracts containing active constituents and uses a very different underlying theory, although both herbal medicine and homeopathy share a holistic approach.

Can I take herbal medicine when I'm pregnant?

While certain herbs are contraindicated during pregnancy, many herbs are beneficial and can relieve common symptoms and support health during and post pregnancy. approach.

Will the herbs interfere with medicine I'm already taking?

Medical herbalists are trained in the pharmacology of most common prescription medication and will be able to prescribe in a way that avoids interactions to ensure your safety. And for those wishing to reduce or avoid taking medication herbal medicine can provide bridging support to reduce dependency on many common drugs.

Further Information

Please give us a call on 01842 821666 for further information.


Samuel graduated from the University College os Osteopathy in 2013 and is registered with the General Osteopathic Council.

Do you want to know more or need a consultation?


Castle Osteopaths
49 Castle Street
IP24 2DL

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01842 821666
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