Herbal medicine has been used by people since the dawn of time to both treat disease and maintain good health. It is only in more recent times that medicine has separated out into more distinct branches, with pharmaceuticals forming the everyday medicine of most people in the 1st world. That said, at least 60% of the worlds population still rely on herbal medicine as their primary form of healthcare. It is also important to remember that 80% of modern drugs have been derived from plants. The beauty of plant medicine is that correctly used there are hardly ever any side-effects as each plant contains hundreds, if not thousands of phyto chemicals helping to create a balanced and holistic natural medicine, which when skilfully selected works with you.
Nowadays herbal medicines are very commonly purchased as stand alone products, often sold in shops or online. There are a vast array of products out there and with that there is a great variation in quality, extraction methods, and strength in products. Buying herbal medicines directly off the shelf without expert advice means there are a lot of things you could be second guessing – including whether or not your chosen product/herb is even the best one for you. In fact you can run the risk of spending a lot of money and not making much progress, or even worse, finding the product doesn’t agree with you.
Seeing a qualified medical herbalist takes the guesswork out of herbal medicine! It’s the fast track way to have an expert match you with the right herbs, taking your individual health care needs into consideration. Healthcare which is underpinned by herbal medicine is not about matching a product with a condition, but about matching a person with the right plants.
Herbs by Bee dispensary range
Only registered individuals have access to the dispensary range.
High quality, therapeutic grade herbs are used throughout my practice. I make many of my own top quality, fresh, organic tinctures. Small batch medicines are made by carefully growing and ethically harvesting plants in their prime, taking the wider environment into consideration. I use a variety of top quality herbal medicine suppliers, selecting each one for their strengths. This does make dispensary management more challenging, but quality counts and is something I won’t compromise on.
Herbal medicine prescriptions are formulated and reviewed at the end of your consultation and are based around your individual needs. If your herbal medicines are working well for you and there isn’t a need for a follow-up consultation you can order repeat prescriptions of your medicine. In such cases we will usually agree on having a review at a future date.
The cost of herbal medicines vary depending on what has been prescribed. Generally speaking personalised herbal teas blends work out the most cost effectively. An outline of prices may be found below.
Herbal tea blends
Personalised herbal tea blends work out very cost effectively and are also fantastic for treating a range of conditions, they are particularly suited to digestive complaints and urinary system complaints. I source the highest quality therapeutic grade dried herbs to blend into bespoke prescriptions and do my best to create prescription blends that are tasty and easy to take! Wherever possible organic and ethically sourced herbs are used.
For access to a range of great tasting non-prescription herbal tea blends, check out the Bee’s Teas range. If you are interested in purchasing single dried herbs this is an option too – just get in touch to enquire.
Liquid medicines (tinctures)
A bespoke blend of herbal tinctures (alcohol based herbal extracts) is most commonly prescribed. A liquid blend of herbal medicines is quick and easy to take, which makes it suited to busy modern lives. Less pleasant tasting herbs and roots are also more difficult to use as infusions, but ideal in tinctures, which are generally taken two or three times a day at approximately 5ml per dose.
I make as many of my own fresh plant tinctures as possible using organic alcohol and am passionate about producing the best quality tinctures. Many of the plants are grown in my garden, which benefits from a permaculture approach or grow wild on our 2 acres of land, which we lovingly look after. The care and quality which goes into the small batches of medicine I make really set them apart and approximately half the medicines I dispense consist of tinctures which I have produced.
Herbal Powders and Capsules
A range of herbal powders and capsules are also stocked.
Herbal medicine charges
Prescription herbal tea blends: £9.50 per 100g (if taken three times per day will last approximately 25 days).
Prescription herbal tinctures (liquid medicine): £9.50 per 100ml, which generally lasts 1 week. These are most commonly prescribed due to ease of use.
Flower Remedies: £10 per dropper bottle.
Herbal capsules, creams, oils and balms are individually priced.
A dispensing fee of £6 is charged for repeat prescriptions, if multiple items are dispensed the charge is £10.
Medicines are posted out to individuals upon request.
Recycling: Tinctures and capsules are usually dispensed in glass bottles – please return any medical glassware for re-use and recycling.
Sustainability is a hot topic nowadays. It’s a big word and seems to mean different things to different people. It’s something that has always been on my radar and in the early 90’s when I lived in a communal house in London I used to get everyone to separate recyclables from waste and used to lug it down to my nearest recycling centre by foot with one other recycling minded soul! In 2007 after qualifying as a herbalist I presented a talk on sustainability and herbal medicine. My focus on taking small sustainable actions has continued to define the way I live and practise. The refinement process is never ending…
In terms of my practice, these are the standards I work to:
Where possible I like to use plants that can be grown in the UK. I do my best to avoid using endangered herbs and am careful about the sourcing of the endangered herbs I do use. I buy organic dried herbs and tinctures where I can– this means no pesticides, natural fertilisers and where possible more of a closed system of less stuff being transported around to make the same stuff!
I am passionate about making as many of my own herbal medicines as I can – by providing you with medicines that may consist of 50% tinctures I have made myself you are supporting this aspect of sustainability. About 120 medicinal plants grow onsite where I live, we don’t use any chemicals on our land and we produce approximately 2 cubic tons of our own compost, which gets worked directly back into the soil. We have chickens and their waste and bedding goes in the compost too! Occasionally I get horse or other manure in as an additional top up.
I produce approximately 150 litres of my own herbal tinctures per annum using organic grain alcohol. This means a saving of 150 plastic bottles, transport miles and the packaging that would have gone with that! The quality of these medicines surpasses anything that I can buy commercially.
Medicines made from everyday common plants in our local fields and hedgerows mean minimal transport miles, come from a sustainable source and are stored in glassware that is reused. I am very careful about where I wild harvest from to help ensure low pesticide and pollutant contamination . Medicine making is a labour of love. It is my balancer from working intensely with individuals, it gets me outdoors engaging with nature closely and observing my local patch and the seasons. It is in itself medicine for the soul.
A number of the medicinal herbs I use regularly in my practice I grow myself. Their growth styles and habitats vary and their progress is lovingly and carefully monitored by me. Harvesting occurs when they are at their prime and a proportion of the ‘crop’ is always left for the bees! Wildlife and diversity thrive and I grow using a mix of permaculture and organic gardening techniques.
Glass is used in most cases and patients are encouraged to return their glassware so that it can be thoroughly cleaned and reused. Natural cleaning products are used wherever possible.
Plastic is only used upon patient request or for posting out medicines or those travelling abroad. I do have plans to reduce plastic use even further and therefore it is likely that the stock I have will still last a considerable amount of time as it’s use become less frequent.
Buying in herbal medicines means that in addition to the herbs I receive packaging! Posting out medicines means I send out packaging! I reuse as much packaging as I can from my suppliers, compost what I can and recycle what I can. This is all done through a multitude of ways:
Cardboard boxes are spread out in my herb garden and vegetable beds – they act as week suppressants and help retain the moisture in the soil. I usually add a layer of grass clippings on top, which makes them look more attractive and means I have the perfect ‘green to brown’ ratio for the two to compost down together and nourish the soil directly in-situ.
Corn starch chips, bubble wrap and brown paper is reused when I send out medicines in the post. If I have surplus to requirement then the corn starch chips go in our green waste bin for composting (to attractive to rats to put in our own compost bins!) Bubble wrap always gets reused for posting medicines on to patients, small boxes and jiffy bags get reused for posting out medicines too. Brown paper – which is thankfully being more commonly used for packaging now, is shredded and added to our own compost.
Plastic bottles are reused were possible and the surplus are recycled. I am now requesting a to receive a number of herbs in 1/2 litre plastic bottles as I can reuse these when I post out medicines. I have spoken to my suppliers about using glass, however, between an increase in breakages and weight it isn’t feasible. Plus a surplus of glass would need recycling too and this is an energy intensive process in itself. One of them used to send out medicines in brown glass bottles, which was great, but this needs to be offset by the increased weight and therefore travel cost implications.
Pressed out plant matter from tincture making is an asset to the compost bin too. On the rare occasion tinctures go past their best date they are used as compost activator! I compost as much as I can and if I have any concerns about vermin it goes in our green recycling bin, which takes food waste to be composted in a mega-heap.
Reducing my personal footprint, along with that of my business is an ongoing refinement process. I am by no means perfect, but I do make a conscious effort to do what I can, where I can, and it’s a practice I have been doing for since moving to the UK over 20 years ago before household recycling existed, when I used to walk just under a mile with heavy bags of paper and glass to drop into the nearest recycling collection units! That and using fabric shopping bags for approximately 25 years. It’s about conscious living, rather than faddish living, and as the saying goes ‘every little helps’!