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Holistic medicine addresses itself to the physical, mental and spiritual aspects of those who come for care. It views health as a positive state, not as the absence of disease. It emphasises the uniqueness of the individual and the importance of tailoring treatment to meet each person’s needs. The promotion of health and the prevention of disease is a priority, whilst emphasis is placed on the responsibility of each individual for his or her own health. The therapeutic approaches employed are aimed at mobilising the person’s innate capacity for self-healing…Illness may be an opportunity for discovery as well as a misfortune.” It is clear that herbal medicine is, without a doubt, a complementary therapy. However, it is also clear that it is so much more. In order to truly appreciate herbal medicine I believe that the words complementary or alternative need to be either reclaimed from the herbal or alternative movement in a way that truly acknowledges the breadth of knowledge, expertise and wisdom that herbal medicine encompasses or completely disregarded. Herbalism is a holistic practice that weaves science, nature, art and intuition in order to benefit the health of an individual. In order to develop a health care system that looks at disease on an individual basis and works to prevent unnecessary disease and improve wellbeing, it is paramount that orthodox medicine, herbal medicine and other therapies work together as a collective to reconnect ourselves to our bodies, our communities and our capacity to heal with a healthy understanding of illness and what it means to us. A healthcare practitioner, whether primary or complementary, must always act in the best interest of the patient.


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