Phytotherapy is the practise of herbal medicine.
In order to qualify as a Phytotherapist one must undergo a five year training period at a university and have a degree in Phytotherapy. Phytotherapists have the clinical skills to examine a patient and make a diagnosis. They can refer a patient for blood tests, scans, Xrays or to a medical specialist as required.
Phytotherapy or herbalism is probably the oldest medical practice in the world and is still widely practised. Modern phytotherapy encompasses the old with the new: Traditional herbs with modern medical practice. In South Africa phytotherapy is a registered profession, and to become registered, a university degree in phytotherapy is required. At present the university of the Western Cape is the only university in South Africa which offers a recognised course.
Most phytotherapists use dried herbs and herbal tinctures or tablets. Medicines are formulated and prepared by the phytotherapist who can also make a syrup, cream, lotion or ointment for a wide variety of internal or topical applications. Most medicines and topical medicaments are formulated specially for the individual. What can you expect when you visit a phytotherapist?
- The first visit takes about an hour, maybe longer
- A complete history is taken – that means questions are asked about your whole body
- A medical examination is conducted
- If necessary blood tests, scans, or other tests may be requested
- Diet and lifestyle will be discussed
- Herbal medicine will be formulated and dispensed
- Treatment will be explained
Herbal medicine is most effective when dispensed and formulated by a phytotherapist. It is much stronger than the over-the-counter medicines and the dosage is correct for the condition. It is also specific to your body’s needs.