About Western Herbal Medicine
Western Herbalists are healthcare professionals who blend traditional plant knowledge with modern day health science. Originally from Europe (influenced by Egypt and the Middle East), Great Britain and North America, Western Herbal Medicine now incorporates plants from a variety of countries and traditions. Along with herbal medicine, Herbalists also provide lifestyle and dietary support (via "food as medicine"), to provide a truly holistic service.
Professional Herbalists aim to treat people rather than disease. This is an important concept to grasp because people are individuals, with different habits, diets and circumstances occurring in their lives - even if they have the same 'disease' or 'condition'. As a professional Herbalist, I aim to address you as a whole person and am as interested in your mind, vitality, lifestyle, habits and emotions as I am in your physical body.
A herbal medicine consultation may be of use if you ...
Are feeling stressed, anxious, tired or can't sleep at night.
Are a woman struggling with perimenopausal or menopausal symptoms such as hot flushes/sweats, mood swings, fatigue, poor libido, dryness and other intimate issues.
Have digestive bloating, nausea, cramping, diarrhoea, constipation or indigestion.
Have recurring colds, sinus or seasonal hayfever
Are a man or a woman dealing with a long term chronic health condition eg: type 2 diabetes, cholesterol problems, blood pressure issues, arthritis +
Are gender neutral / non-binary and would like a non judgemental, supportive practitioner
Have other health issues that you would like to see if herbal medicine can support
Consult a Qualified Herbalist
Unfortunately, the internet and social media are rife with unqualified people giving advice about herbal medicine. Often these people are enthusiastic and well meaning; other times, they are aligned with multi level marketing companies. Just because something worked for one person doesn't mean it will work, or is appropriate for someone else. Qualified Herbalists train for years to ensure they can correctly match herbs, at the correct dose, to the person. I am fully insured and a member of the professional association NHAA.
The herbal remedies
Western herbalists prescribe liquid extracts (called tinctures or fluid extracts), teas/infusions, decoctions, tablets, capsules, oils, creams, steams or pessaries (as appropriate). I have a good selection of liquid herbs available in my clinic, meaning I can make bespoke formulas that can be adjusted as needed. Tablets and capsules can also be provided where convenient or appropriate.
Dietary and lifestyle recommendations are also incorporated into treatment plans because no amount of herbs or supplements are going to 'fix' an issue without addressing the basics. Acute (short term) conditions often respond quickly (within days to weeks); whereas chronic (longer term) conditions take longer (months).
Quality of herbal products
I use a range of practitioner only liquid herbs and products that are registered or listed with the TGA (Therapeutics Goods Association). I also make some products myself, which are dispensed after a consultation. I always choose certified organic herbs where possible. It is important to note that herbs purchased cheaply over the internet from overseas do not have the same safety checks and standards that apply with herbs listed or registered with the TGA in Australia.
Diet, lifestyle, mineral therapy & Bach Flower Essences
Lifestyle, exercise & healthy food are important, which is why I also suggest simple dietary & lifestyle advice where appropriate. Nothing extreme - just simple, common sense advice and tips on how to incorporate 'food as medicine' into your life. I also work with low dose minerals, in the form of Celloid Mineral Therapy, Bach Flower Essences and Yoga based mind/body tools to help your nervous system relax, if appropriate.
About Rachel Hull
Hi. I'm Rachel Hull and I run The Urban Herbalist in East Geelong, Victoria (& online). I'm passionate about holistic herbal healthcare and how effective it can be when used appropriately. I love gardening and nature and, depending on the season, when you visit my home-based clinic you're likely to find at least a few medicinal plants. I believe in whole food and living a balanced life most of the time, without becoming extreme or obsessive. My initial encounters with herbal medicine were as a young teenager, when my family would visit a herbal apothecary in the South of Western Australia. I still remember the smells of the herbs, wood and beeswax. It must have made an impression because from that moment on, I had a feeling that one day, I would become a Herbalist too.
Way back in 1987 I began studying Swedish and Remedial Massage, and then spent many years training and practicing as a Yoga teacher. Yoga was my passion for 25 years and eventually led me to Ayurveda, which I began studying for 2 years in Northern NSW (2001). The addition of Ayurveda helped pull things together and filled in many missing pieces of the emotional and physical health maze. Eventually I was invited to teach and establish Yoga trainings in Shanghai, where I lived and worked for 16 months. Eventually I established my own business called 'Shakti Spirit Yoga & Ayurveda', which was based in Bali, although I taught around the world. This was an incredible experience and I met many interesting people. However, after 8 years of living overseas and 18 years teaching Yoga, Herbal Medicine was calling me more strongly than ever.
Upon moving back to Australia, I initially enrolled in a Traditional Chinese Medicine degree at the University of Technology, Sydney (UTS). In hindsight, moving from the rice fields of Bali to downtown Sydney was a bit traumatic. Although I loved many aspects of Chinese Medicine, after 1 year of full time study I changed courses and began studying Western Herbal Medicine instead. In 2018, after an extra 5 years of study (equivalent to a 3 year full time degree), I graduated with a Bachelor of Health Science (Western Herbal Medicine), from the Southern School of Natural Therapies (SSNT), Melbourne. So, although I practice and am qualified as a Western Herbalist, my previous exposure to Yoga, Ayurveda and TCM informs my herbal medicine practice. I am fully insured and a practicing member of the Naturopaths and Herbalists Association of Australia (NHAA).
I do understand that it is a big commitment to visit a new health practitioner. I can say that I love getting to know my clients and will do my very best to support you through any phase of life you find yourself in. So, if you are wondering if I may be able help you, feel free to book a free 15 minute Discovery Call. This will give you a chance to let me know what has been occurring for you and to decide if you would like my help. You can book an appointment or a Free 15 Minute Discover Call via the Book Now button below.