Alternative Medicine: Find an Herbalist

Finding herbal healthcare.

| September/October 1998

  • Sea horses are a TCM remedy.

If you’re new to herbal medicine, you may not know where to go for good care. Here are some tips for getting off to a good start.

• Look in the phone book and ask a lot of questions. If you can’t find a ­listing for herbalists, try related categories such as “holistic practitioners,” “chiro­prac­tors” and “na­tu­ro­paths.” One resource is the Alternative Medicine Yellow Pages (Future Medicine Publishing, 1996), which can be found nationwide in natural food stores for $12.95. An updated version is expected out in early 1999.

• Ask your friends. Sometimes nothing is better than word of mouth. Don’t forget to inquire at your local health-food store.

• Ask your doctor. Don’t assume your physician will laugh when you ask about alternative medicine. More than ever before, medical doctors are asking questions, taking classes, and networking with alternative practitioners. And the Journal of the American Medical Association listed alternative medicine as one of the top topics for 1998.

• Call national resources. The American Herbalists Guild, which has members nationwide, can be reached at (435) 722-8434. The School of Phytotherapy (previously the National College of Phytotherapy) can provide information about the graduates of its bachelor’s program in western herbalism at (505) 275-0620. The American Association of Oriental Medicine can refer you to board-certified practitioners at (610) 266-1433.

The Three Pillars of Herbalism

Although most cultures have their own herbal remedies, three major systems of healing have had the most widespread influence.

Ayurveda: Pronounced “eye-ur-VAY-da,” this holistic science from India is more than 6,000 years old. Health is seen as a balance between the emotional, physical and spiritual. Treatments include yoga, meditation, exposure to specific sights and smells, changes in diet and herbs. Representative herbs include turmeric, ashwagandha, mustard, triphala, black pepper and ginger.

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