Herbal medicine or phytomedicine has been used for centuries to heal the body. The therapeutic effects and efficacy of herbs are varied according to the plant, region grown, harvesting methods, part of the plant used and extraction methods. When using herbs it is vital the correct part of the plant is used to obtain the desired therapeutic effect. Due to the expense of cultivating and extracting some herbs there have been issues with substitution. For example with Echinacea, the active ingredients are the alkylamides which are found in abundance in the root of the angustifolia species, however many commercial products use the purpurea variety and use the flowering tops and leaves of the plant as it is easier to cultivate. Unfortunately the alkylamides are not very concentrated in the aerial parts of the plant, so very little therapeutic benefit is obtained. A high quality Echinacea product will leave your tongue tingling. This is the direct effect of the active alkylamides present.
Herbal medicines are available as liquid extracts, teas, powders or tablets. Primarily at Red Suva we use the liquid extracts as it enables a more individualised prescription. It is important to consult with a qualified herbalist to ensure the correct herbs and prescription are administerd and in alignment with other medication you may be taking to avoid adverse reactions.