Derives from mid-14c., meaning “shopkeeper,” especially “pharmacist; one who stores, compounds, and sells medicaments,” from Old French apotecaire (13c., Modern French apothicaire), from Late Latin apothecarius “storekeeper,” from Latin apotheca “storehouse,” from Greek apotheke “barn, storehouse,” literally “a place where things are put away,” from apo “away” (see apo-) + theke “receptacle,” from suffixed form of PIE root *dhe- “to set, put.” (from the online etymology dictionary)
Medicinally, an 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 America has been overshadowed by dependence on modern medications the last 100 years, 75% 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 synthesized. 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 is 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 specializing in the therapeutic use of plants may be medical herbalists, traditional herbalists, acupuncturists, midwives, naturopathic physicians, or even one’s own grandmother.
We offer a few different options when it comes to working with our herbalists.
All of our staff members are trained herbalists or aromatherapists, so we are all able to answer questions you may have about herbs and essential oils, how they work, which ones are useful for what types of situations, and how to best use them.
When you come into our store, we are happy to assist you in finding what you are looking for, and to offer guidance when it comes to herbs, essential oils, or other pre-made products that can help your particular situation. These on-floor mini-consults are perfect for simple situations, things like colds, minor upset stomachs, trouble sleeping, scenarios like this that can be helped in 10 minutes or so. If it’s not overly complicated, we can also mix up a custom blend for what you have going on.
If you already have a blend of herbs or essential oils you would like made up, we are happy to help you with that at any time.
If your issues are deeper, or you are on medications of any kind, we may suggest you come to our walk-in clinic hours, or perhaps even schedule an appointment for a full consultation to really get to the root of your issues.
Herbs are powerful, and health is complicated, so in the best interest of your health and safety, we need to make sure we have enough time to devote to working on your issues before we can make recommendations for more complicated health situations.
Our walk-in clinic is for when you need to ask a few more questions and get more help than we can go into on the floor. Time slots are 25 minutes long, cost $25, and allow us to go over more complicated situations and make more personalized recommendations.
You will leave with a personalized herbal tea or tincture formula.
They are in essence the middle ground between the simple advice we can offer on the floor and a full-on consultation.
You can schedule an appointment ahead of time, or come in during clinic hours and put your name down.
If you schedule ahead of time you’ll be required to put in a valid credit card number to hold your spot, and if you no-show to your appointment, you’ll still be charged the $25. In order to make this available for those who need it, we’re going to be pretty strict on the no-show policy.
A full consultation with an herbalist is for people seeking to do deeper work on their health and truly work to achieve long-last changes in their life. You must be willing and interested in making changes to your diet and lifestyle, and not just be looking for herbs to be a ‘fix’ to your problems, but to act as allies in the bigger picture.
They are an on-going relationship between you and your practitioner, who will act as your guide as you navigate your own health journey; helping you to find the herbs and other healing modalities that best fit you and your health picture.
The initial consultation will be anywhere from an hour to two hours, during which time we will go in-depth into your health history so that we can gain a clear picture of where you are in your health journey. We will discuss the goals you wish to achieve in terms of your health, and develop a plan on how to reach them.
You will always leave the consult with some kind of recommendation, whether it is lifestyle, herbal, nutritional, or a combination of the three. Many times you will leave with a customized herbal formula and/or nutritional supplements that are right for your situation. If desired, you may also leave with a flower essence formula designed for your emotional support.
The follow-up consultations are usually shorter, but this depends on the severity of your issues and your own personal needs.
True health is not a one-time fix. It is something that must be worked on, especially when you are trying to change life-long habits. Because of this, we like to see our clients several times so that we can make sure you are staying on the path you chart for yourself.
There is no exact science to this method of healing, it all depends on you and how much you are willing to work on your own healing. Herbal remedies are extremely effective and naturally ease your body into a state of total holistic health and wellness, but they are not stand-alone fixes for chronic health issues.
OUR SCOPE OF PRACTICE
We are not licensed health practitioners. Which means that if at any point in time during any encounter with one of our staff members they feel that what you have going on is beyond our ability to help you, or if they see any red flag warnings of deeper or more serious health issues, we may refer you to seek help with alternate providers, including the possibility of us suggesting you go to an urgent care center.
We do this only out of concern for your health and safety.
Additionally, we cannot formulate for people who are not present in the store.
Our goal is to be your guide through the world of natural health, to help you navigate the realm of herbs and alternative healing modalities, and offer you a way to find your own path to health.
Herbal medicine is an art, not just a science. No one can predict which herb 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 gynecological 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 herbs 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 United States, plants are the least problematic.”
Herbalists can practice either as primary health care providers or adjunctive health care consultants. Most visits to an 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 American, 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 States and in most of the nations in the European Union. Professional education is offered in the USA 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 and Nepal, 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 universities in North America. There are currently 13 states that license the practice of naturopathic medicine.
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:
Herbs are also used for the symptomatic relief of minor ailments.
Much of the above information comes from the American Herbalist’s Guild website