Why use plants as medicine?
Using plants as medicine has been with us as long as humans have been on this planet and continues to comprise some part of primary healthcare in dealing with disease and illness for about 80% of the world's population. Plants were our first medicine and continue to offer us the opportunity to heal our bodies, minds and spirits, and also to connect more deeply to each other and the world around us. When we take herbal preparations, our bodies often respond quite readily because they recognize them as something familiar, even if it is the first time we have used herbs in this way. When used as part of a comprehensive health protocol, herbal remedies can be a very simple, yet quite potent tool to bring our bodies towards greater balance and healing.
Compared to pharmaceutical medications, herbs come to us in their whole form vs. isolated chemical constituents. Though many pharmaceuticals are derived from plants, their use is often accompanied by side effects, sometimes quite harsh and severe. When taking medicine in whole plant form, those more potent botanical chemicals are balanced by others that help to soften or eliminate such side effects altogether. Some herbs do come with cautions and contraindications, however, and pharmaceuticals, over-the-counter medicines, nutritional supplements, and herbs can and do interact with one another, making it important to work with a skilled and knowledgeable herbalist when establishing a new, alternative health care regimen. Also, many herbal medicines can be used alongside conventional health treatments - they are by no means mutually exclusive. I am happy to establish collaborative care with your Primary Care Physician or other Health Care Professionals that you are working with, helping to create a care team that can support your health from a variety of angles.
Further, herbal medicine always has been and will continue to be a medicine for the people and for communities - it is generally safe, accessible, affordable, and sustainable. Anyone that has a desire can learn how to use herbs at home, even growing and preparing their own remedies themselves.
Amanda is an herbalist trained in the Vitalist Tradition - what exactly is Vitalism?
Vitalism is about channeling the body's natural abilities to heal by looking to the wisdom of Nature. It looks to the Life Power, or Vital Force, within each unique individual as a guide to understanding their current state of balance and imbalance. By paying attention to the Vital Force, we can gain clues as to the most appropriate path to healing for each person.
Often, the Vital Force speaks through symptoms. For example, a fever alerts us that an infection has taken hold in the body. The fever is not the disease itself, but rather is a sign that an active effort is being made by the Vital Force in resisting disease. It is a communication from the body about what is going on internally and what is needed to support the body in its healing process.
With this in mind, Vitalist practitioners work with the Vital Force to engage the healing efforts of the body. Contrary to the perspective of Western medicine, Vitalism sees the presenting symptoms as positive signs that the Vital Force is at work and is attempting to restore balance. As such, Vitalist practitioners use supportive therapies that will aid the Vital Force in its healing process, while avoiding methods that tend to be more suppressive of those symptoms. They see the Vital Force as their primary guide and they seek to work alongside it as an ally.
Supportive methods and therapies may include exercise, appropriate nutrition and dietary changes, ensuring proper digestion and assimilation, sufficient rest and sleep, hydrotherapy, adequate hydration, time spent in Nature, breathing techniques, meditation and herbal medicines.
Common conditions that may benefit from working with a clinically trained herbalist using herbal remedies and nutritional therapy (this list is by no means exhaustive) :
- Chronic Digestive Issues (heartburn/GERD, ulcerative colitis, Chron's disease, Irritable Bowel Syndrome, poor appetite, chronic nausea, chronic constipation/diarrhea)
- Reproductive Health Issues (menstrual cramps, PMS, PCOS, menopausal complaints, cervical dysplasia, STI's, infertility, BPH)
- Urinary Health Issues (chronic UTI's, interstitial cystitis)
- Chronic Respiratory Issues (asthma, bronchitis)
- Cardiovascular Issues (high cholesterol, hypertension, hypotension)
- Sleep Disturbances and Insomnia
- Musculoskeletal Issues (muscle cramps and spasms, joint pain, arthritis)
- Seasonal Allergies and Food Sensitivities
- Mental Health and Psycho-emotional Issues (depression, anxiety, ADD/ADHD)
- Chronic Skin Issues (acne, eczema, psoriasis, rashes)
- Autoimmune Conditions (lupus, Chron's disease, rheumatoid arthritis, ulcerative colitis)
- Insulin Resistance and Pre-Diabetes
- Chronic Fatigue
- Recurrent Infection and Illness
- Chronic Headaches
- Acute Conditions (cold, flu, acute respiratory infections)
What can I expect during a session?
I will conduct a thorough intake of your current health and health history including a review of all body systems - even those that may not seem connected to your primary complaint(s). Together you will look for patterns of imbalance and signs from your body about what is going on so that you can to get to the core of your particular issues. By looking deeper at the roots of disease vs. only symptoms, you put yourself in a better position to shift your health and start feeling wonderful.
I am also deeply passionate about educating her clients so that they are informed about their health and more fully understand the deep wisdom our bodies offer us every single day, always urging us towards healing and wholeness. She will share with you her thoughts and perspectives as well as current research on why a certain herb, supplement, or dietary change would be beneficial so that you have the information you need to decide whether or not these things feel right for you. The more knowledge you have about your body and what it needs, the better equipped you are to live a healthy, happy life. Her hope is that her clients leave her office feeling empowered and inspired about their health, and that this would ripple out to their families, friends, communities and future generations.
After your session, I will research pertinent items that came up during your appointment, making sure she is constantly staying educated and updated on the latest studies and research in the field. As no two people are exactly alike, no two health protocols will be alike either. She will spend time creating your herbal formulas, choosing herbs with your individual story and health goals in mind. Within 24-48 hours, you will be emailed a health care plan tailored specifically for you, including suggested herbal formulas, supplements, dietary changes and lifestyle recommendations. Herbal formulas will be available for pick up from my office within 1-2 business days or they can be mailed directly to your home for an additional shipping fee.
How often should I schedule my appointments?
In natural healing, a general rule of thumb is to give yourself one month of healing for every year you have been living with a particular imbalance or disease. Sometimes the body heals more quickly than this, sometimes more slowly, but always in its own time. Initially, it is ideal to see an herbalist every two weeks so that they can check in on how your herbal formulas, supplements, dietary suggestions and lifestyle changes are working for you. This also allows for a gentle approach to your health care regimen so you can slowly incorporate just a few changes after each session, giving you time to get a new routine under your belt before incorporating further changes. I will work with you to develop a treatment plan that meets you wherever you are at in your healing process.