A system for the treatment of disease by minute doses of natural substances that in a healthy person would produce symptoms of disease.
phytotherapy – the use of plants or plant extracts for medicinal purposes (especially plants that are not part of the normal diet)
Dr Craig Wright is a homeopath and phytotherapist (medical herbalist) who has trained, lectured, researched and practised both in the UK and here in South Africa over the last 15 years. He combines nutritional and lifestyle advice, nutritional supplementation, herbal medicine and homeopathic treatments to help people back to a state of optimum health. He has a special interest in metabolic syndrome and diabetes, cholesterol and circulatory problems, cancer, developmental and behavioural problems in children and men’s health problems. Have a look at www.craigwright.co.za
or on FB at www.facebook.com/integratedmedicine
Craig’s Apothecary in the garden
Phytotherapy, or medical herbalism, can help with a wide variety of complaints. Herbal medicines can be used and prescribed in many forms such as tinctures, glycerites, powders, capsules, tablets, creams, oils and also water extracts called infusions (simple tea) or decoctions (boiled tea). Infusions and decoctions are simple and easy ways to prepare safe and helpful herbal medicines for yourself at home. Infusions are generally used for flowers and leaves and decoctions are used to extract the active ingredients from harder material such as roots, barks and seeds.
This morning on SABC’s breakfast show, Expresso, I attempted to show how the herbs Chamomile (Matricaria chamomilla) and Nettle (Urtica dioica) can be used to make a tea which is anti-inflammatory, anti-allergic and has anti-histamine effects. One or both of these herbs together, if drunk regularly (as an infusion), can help with allergies and hayfever prevalent at this time of the year.
Nettle can also be used with Dandelion (Taraxacum officinale) and Burdock (Arctium lappa) to make a decoction which is excellent for gently cleansing and detoxifying the body. Spring is a good time to clear out accumulated wastes and to help the body switch from a storage type metabolism to a more ‘summery’ usage metabolism. These three herbs can help the body’s organs of elimination and detoxification (skin, kidneys, lungs, skin and liver) to work more effectively and by so doing improve general health.
Ginger (Zingiber officinale) is also a fantastic tea for enhancing metabolism, improving digestion, increasing circulation and generally promoting health. In Ayurveda it is know as vishwabheshaja – the universal medicine!
While generally these are very safe herbs, if you have any doubt or are on any medications, always consult a qualified and registered phytotherapist or homeopath.
For An infusion
Add 250ml freshly boiled water to 1 teaspoon dried or 2-3 teaspoons fresh herb. place a lid on the container to prevent essential oils from escaping (e.g. a saucer on your cup). Leave to stand for at least 5 minutes, strain and sip. A small amount of honey may be added if you feel the need. Infusions are generally taken warm and between 1 – 6 times daily depending on age, body size and health problems
For a decoction
add 30g of dried herb (e.g. Dandelion root) or up to 90g of fresh herb to 500ml cold water. Place on the stove and gently bring up to boiling point with the lid on. Simmer very slowly for 10 minutes, then remove from heat and leave to cool down. Strain and drink a cup up to three times a day. This preparation will not keep more than a couple of days.
Keep yourself healthy with herbal medicines, but if you have a serious problem or your problem persists or gets worse or if you are unsure, please consult a suitably qualified practitioner!