Wiseleaf Western Herbalism | San Franciscoo

What is Western Herbalism? (What is your philosophy?)

Today Western Herbalism is a medicine for all people just as it was in the beginning. Our form of health care begins with the practitioner honoring and recognizing the healing potential within another. It is a form of holistic healing, using whole medicinal plants to affect a change in health (different than an isolated constituent processed into a pharmaceutical). As Western herbal practitioners we use the same basic methods as our ancestors to create medicine. Practitioners gather their own plant materials and process them in alcohol or vinegar for use as extract. We still blend herbs for tea or bath.

Living in the extremely biodiverse ecosystems that make up the United States, Western Herbalists try to use as many local plants as possible. We are also unafraid to borrow an herb or three from the ancient forms of Traditional Chinese Medicine or Ayurveda. As Western Herbalists, we remain true to our eclectic origins, and choose to use what works.

Western Herbalism has its origins in the cottage gardens of Europe, as well as in the transmission of plant knowledge from the Native American tribes to the European immigrants. It began with thyme, oregano, lobelia, chapparel, and mugwort. It began with people using plants to heal their family members at home, out of necessity, and with love.

Meanwhile, Western Herbalism became more organized into a system of medicine, thanks to folks like Galen, Culpepper, Mrs. Grieve (and so many more.) Like many systems of belief throughout history, it has been lost, stolen, accepted then rejected, and burned. It was at one point the medicine of North America, yet twenty five years ago found itself to be the snake oil cousin of "modern medicine" and "miracle pills."

While it is hard to explain where exactly Western Herbalism came from, it is certain that our field is currently resurfacing and recreating itself here in North America—an herbal renaissance that I am happy and excited to be a part of. People are realizing that their miracle pills have difficult side effects and are searching for alternatives. It is time to reach into our eclectic herbal "tool kit" and pull out the remedies.

What kinds of health concerns are herbs helpful in resolving?

Many health situations can be helped by using herbs as your medicine. A few examples are stress relief, anxiety and depression, enhanced immune function, digestive wellness, hormonal balancing, blood sugar regulation, nervous system repair, adrenal fatigue symptoms, etc. The list really does go on. Please don't hesitate to inquire whether herbs might be helpful for you. (Healing happens.)

What can I expect will happen at my western herbal consultation?

With your first visit, you can expect a lot of conversation. There are a few forms to be filled out, but mostly we'll talk in detail about the nature of your health concern. Then we'll move into taking a detailed health history. We'll talk about your body's tendencies, and how it's responding to whatever is happening acutely, otherwise called symptoms. Occasionally I may take your pulse or your blood pressure, but I am not a licensed physician, nor will I do anything invasive. After all that talking, we'll come up for air an you'll have a cup of tea while I create your herbal formula for you to take home that day.

In what form will I take my herbs?

Well, that depends on what is happening with your body, and your preferences. I recommend medicinal extracts (tincture), and Infusions (tea) for the most part. Sometimes one needs something more involved like an herbal bath or a poultice. A medicinal extract comes about by soaking an herb in alcohol, vinegar, or honey for a period of time. The herbs are eventually strained and composted, leaving behind a potent liquid containing the herbal medicine. This is what you might take several dropperfuls of, three times per day, for instance.

What is herbal formulation?

Herbal formulation refers to the practice of blending your herbs for you. I have a small dispensary on site where my herbal extracts are stored. These are all simples—that is, only one kind of herb in each bottle. I then decide which herbs are best to work with, and how much of each herb, and put it in a bottle. Or a brown bag or jar. Part of the power of this Western herbal practice is being able to create a formula that is tailored to a person's unique needs. Your medicine is for you.

Is is possible to take pharmaceuticals and herbs at the same time?

It is possible, but one must be careful. Each situation is different, and I advise on a case-by-case basis.

How long will I need to take my herbs?

The length of time needed to resolve a health concern really varies from person to person. We will usually talk at our initial session or first follow up about a time frame that feels appropriate to both the practitioner and the client.

Do you accept insurance?

No. At this time I cannot be reimbursed by insurance agencies.

What is Reiki?

Reiki is a Japanese form of bodywork that promotes relaxation and healing. It harmonizes the body's energetic meridians, or flow of "life force," creating a sense of calm well being. Reiki is a non-invasive form of body work, performed fully clothed. The practitioner gently lays their hands on the body of the receiver, usually beginning with the forehead, moving down to the legs and feet. Reiki works on all aspects of our human being, physical and emotional, and releases the tension our body is trying to process. It's a wonderful way to recharge and rejuvenate the body/mind/spirit.

Any other questions?

I am always happy to address your concerns via email or telephone.