Chinese Herbal Medicine is one of the great herbal systems of the world, with an unbroken tradition going back to the 3rd century BC. The herbs and formulas have been tried and tested over two milennia in China and East Asia.
Alex is the resident Chinese herbalist at West Hampstead Acupuncture. In a herbal consultation he will undertake a thorough traditional diagnosis to determine the precise pattern of imbalance underlying a particular set of symptoms.
Fundamentally, Chinese Medicine is attempting to restore balance to the body and maintain it in an equilibrium between the extremes of Cold & Heat and Dampness & Dryness. Balance or imbalance is determined by the interrelationship between the different organ systems in the body. For example, if the stomach is too cold, food may not be adequately transformed into energy in the body. Warming herbs that 'enter' the stomach would then be used.
A key aspect of Chinese Herbal Medicine is that herbs are not used in isolation. Herbs are combined together into formulas to have synergistic effects. Herbs can be added to slow down or speed up the prescription, to make it stronger or weaker, to direct the action to particular parts of the body, to minimise side effects of other herbs or to protect the stomach. As a Chinese herbalist one can make a very refined accurate prescription in this way specifically tailored to the needs of the patient.
Alex has a Masters degree in Chinese Herbal Medicine and is a member of the Register of Chinese Herbal Medicine. This is the pre-eminent self-regulating body in the UK. As such he only prescribes herbs from approved suppliers from the Register. This means that the highest standards are applied to quality, safety and sourcing of the herbs. Following current UK regulations he also does not prescribe any animal products or minerals. Complying with CITES regulations, no endangered species are used. Finally, he does not use any herbs banned for use in the UK.
An intial herbal consultation with Alex costs £45 and follow up consultations are £35. If you are already having a course of acupuncture at the clinic the total price is reduced by £10. Alex will then order the herbs for the client and charge them at cost (typically £10 a week). In the majority of cases, herbal powders are the main form of administration used.