AIBU to see a herbalist?

(34 Posts)
FadBook Wed 26-Feb-14 09:06:59

Posting here for traffic really.

I'm meeting with a herbalist today and I don't really know what to expect. I have early menopause and the symptoms that go with it and want to explore alternative options rather than taking HRT or an anti-depressant (which is being recommended as an alternative to HRT).

Has any one got any experience of taking herbs as a treatment?
AIBU to think this could actually be an alternative?
Any other alternatives to HRT that anyone can recommend?

mistlethrush Wed 26-Feb-14 09:09:22

A herbalist is very different from a homeopath - they will give you things made of actual herbs rather than sugar pills - and lots of our modern medicine is derived, originally, from plants. As long as they're good, they might be able to help. I used to get the most awful foul cough medicine from a herbalist and it worked every time - I think on the basis that I had to get better asap as it was so disgusting to drink!

Footle Wed 26-Feb-14 09:20:29

National Institute of Medical Herbalism is the qualification I'd look for.

Beavie Wed 26-Feb-14 10:03:09

I used to work in a health food shop and we sold these

www.boots.com/en/Phyto-Soya-High-Strength-Menopause-capsules-60-capsules_42651/

It's a natural alternative to hrt, and there are other products in the range too such as vaginal gels.

I'm not menopausal yet so no personal experience but it was a very popular product and LOADS of women who came in would rave about how marvellous it was and how great it was not to take hrt anymore.

Worth a shot maybe?

FadBook Wed 26-Feb-14 10:09:35

Thank you. She's got the relevant qualification and is friend of a friend / comes with a recommendation.

I just don't know what to ask or what to expect.
And I've got no comparison in terms of costs per month either.

specialsubject Wed 26-Feb-14 10:10:37

yes, herbal medicine is indeed real (aspirin comes from a herb, for example) as opposed to homeopathy which is fraud.

generally herbal medicine that works ends up in the mainstream sooner or later. Make sure your herbalist has real qualifications and knows what else you are taking.

if he/she starts talking about chemicals vs natural, leave rapidly.

Financeprincess Wed 26-Feb-14 10:13:15

I don't understand why you wouldn't use pharmaceuticals that have been fully tested and are prescribed by the NHS.

Beavie Wed 26-Feb-14 10:18:13

Because of the side effects, maybe?

SomethingkindaOod Wed 26-Feb-14 10:22:27

Why would you want to take anti depressants as a treatment for the menopause? Genuine question as I'm not there yet but suspect am starting to hit the peri menopause stage. I wouldn't take HRT because I saw my Mum going through almost every type available and getting some really bad side effects. She gave up in got through it without anything in the end. Why anti d's?
YANBU, if they're fully qualified give it a go.

FadBook Wed 26-Feb-14 10:22:42

I don't understand why you wouldn't use pharmaceuticals that have been fully tested and are prescribed by the NHS

A little bit more background, I'm 30. I've went through early menopause when I was 17. Being medicated on HRT has huge risks for me, including cervical and breast cancer. I could potentially be on it for 15 years. I need to look at other options and if I can avoid HRT I will. The sides effects and evidence of a link between HRT are too strong to ignore and not at least explore alternatives.

I would only see someone who has the NIMH qualification. These are medically qualified herbalists who have had years of training and will know about contraindications with other medicines.

I have found herbalism useful to counteract the unpleasant side effects of some medicines, and my mum used herbalism succesfully during her cancer treatment to alleviate the side effects of chemotherapy.

chocoluvva Wed 26-Feb-14 10:24:49

She will probably give you a very detailed questionnaire and ask about your lifestyle and diet. It would be helpful if you have a rough idea of what your blood pressure is and your weight.

Another option would be to see a nutritionist who specialises in women's health, as nutritionists recommend supplements, many of which are herbal. Not a dietician though - not specialised enough.

chocoluvva Wed 26-Feb-14 10:26:53

Herbs are a concentrated form of diet - iyswim. So having a very good diet tailored to your individual needs should be helpful.

cardibach Wed 26-Feb-14 10:28:34

THe idea that there are no side effects with herbal medicine is flawed. As others have said, many drugs are herbal in origin, and many poisons are in fact herbal. I am with the wonderful Tim Minchin on this - 'Alternative Medicine”, I continue
“Has either not been proved to work,
Or been proved not to work.
You know what they call “alternative medicine”
That's been proved to work?
Medicine'
Herbal medicine is obviously better than nonsense like homeopathy, but still, if it actually works it has become part of mainstream medicine (although the active chemicals will often now be created in a lab).

BloodyUseless Wed 26-Feb-14 10:30:00

Side effects are the down side of drugs that actually work. Don't you think "conventional" doctors would prescribe herbal medicines if they were effective AND had no side effects? In fact the herbs that do work probably do have side effects. It's the ones that don't I'd be suspicious of.

Martorana Wed 26-Feb-14 10:33:12

"Herbs are a concentrated form of diet - iyswim"

Nidswym

HavantGuard Wed 26-Feb-14 10:41:05

There's no problem with seeing a herbalist. As people have pointed out, herbal medicines have actual ingredients (unlike homeopathy) and some can be beneficial.

I would get traditional medical advice on anything you are given by a herbalist before taking it. They can have real impacts on your body and can for example make bleeding worse, raise blood pressure etc.

chocoluvva Wed 26-Feb-14 11:59:39

Herbs are edible - we eat similar/the same things in smaller quantities as part of our diet anyway.

Many herbal supplements haven't yet been researched for their effectiveness - doesn't mean they don't have an effect. Or they might have the same, but less of an effect than pharmaceutical drugs. Eg cinnamon supplements have been shown to reduce blood -glucose levels but not by as much as metformin.

FadBook Wed 26-Feb-14 13:47:16

Thanks everyone. The consultation was really beneficial and enlightening actually. Her advice / diagnosis seems plausible and "fits" to what is happening in my life at the moment (anxiety, stress, not sleeping) and her suggested treatment will improve on that part, which in turn improve on the menopausal symptoms.

She was extremely knowledgeable of general health, symptoms, remedies and general nutrition, which I found helpful.

I'm pleased I explored it. And I've found the comments on this thread helpful too. Thanks for responding.

truelymadlysleepy Wed 26-Feb-14 13:56:50

Have you heard about this?
I understand they'll really helpful
www.daisynetwork.org.uk

FadBook Wed 26-Feb-14 14:49:47

Thanks truely I had heard of them but you have to pay to be a member to access quite a lot of the resources / info. Have been tempted in the past, I will have another look.

Hi fadbook - if you are interested in a dietary approach you may find Woman Code, by Alissa Vitti, interesting reading. Also, many people find simply giving up sugar yields amazing results, if you want to try that then give it a month or two to see how effective it is for you.

FadBook Wed 26-Feb-14 15:02:41

Thanks sleep will have a look on my kindle. I don't eat masses of sugar as don't have a sweet tooth. my general diet is quite good. There are some improvements I can make though

CorusKate Wed 26-Feb-14 15:11:04

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

chocoluvva Wed 26-Feb-14 16:02:24

That's why herbalists are highly trained.

I think most culinary herbs probably are used as medicine. Eg turmeric is used as an anti-inflammatory, ginger as as anti-sickness help, oregano is anti-bacterial, cinnamon helps with blood-sugar control, pelargonium root for upper respiratory-tract infections.

We probably would lots of other herbs such as black cohosh, agnus castus etc if they weren't so bitter.

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