Frequently Asked Questions
Can You Help Me?
I get a lot of questions asking if I can help with one condition or another. The best thing to do is to book in for a consultation, no matter what your health concerns are. A good question to ask yourself first would be, are you willing to make the necessary changes in your life to improve your health? If the answer is yes, then why not book in with me today?
To book an appointment click here.
What’s Involved In a Consultation?
At our first consultation we will spend 60-90mins going over the issues you wish to discuss. I use a comprehensive intake form which includes questions about your previous medical history; the symptoms you are experiencing; current medications you are taking; and an in-depth look at your diet and lifestyle. This may include physical examination, such as taking blood pressure, if appropriate. All information is strictly confidential and in line with data protection principles.
What Happens After the Consultation?
After the consultation I will offer recommendations, which I believe will be of benefit for you, based on clinical experience, traditional use or modern scientific research. This will usually involve advice on making changes to your diet and lifestyle. I may ask you to keep a food diary. I may also recommend herbal remedies which are manufactured on site, or supplements if required. Patients will get referral access to an online dispensary service for supplements with discount.
What About Follow-Up Appointments?
Follow-up appointments are scheduled approximately every 4 weeks from the initial consultation. At each session progress is reviewed, and your protocol is adjusted accordingly if required.
How Many Appointments Will I Need?
This will depend on many variables such as compliance to advice I have given and appropriate use of herbal medicines. It also depends on the particular issues you may have, whether you are on medication, your age, gender, constitution and your own individual idiosyncrasies. Every one of us is unique and respond in different ways. Please note conditions which have been ongoing for some time can take much longer to work with. To book an appointment click here.
What Is Your Availability Like?
Waiting periods of up to 8 weeks can develop at certain times of year. If this is the case information and updates on waiting times will be posted on the News page. You can also subscribe for occasional updates by entering your email. You can have your name added to a waiting list, and you can be notified if a cancellation occurs and an appointment becomes available. I am currently not available for appointments at weekends or Wednesdays and Thursdays. Clinic days are Monday, Tuesday and Friday from 9.30am-6.30pm. I can also schedule a Thursday or Friday late afternoon/early evening appointment with one of our other herbalists.
What If I Need To Cancel My Appointment?
Please give a minimum of 48 hours to cancel an appointment otherwise you will incur a charge. The charge will be the appropriate appointment fee. Failure to turn up without prior warning results in both a loss of income for me and a lost opportunity for someone else who may be waiting to book an appointment. While exceptional circumstances do occur, please appreciate the situation. I will normally send a reminder the day before your appointment – if you do not receive a reminder then you are not booked in – please get in touch. If I need to cancel or change an appointment due notice will be given.
Can You Come and Talk to Our Group?
Yes, I am sometimes available for talks and lectures to corporates, schools, groups, professional associations and voluntary organisations. This needs to be booked well in advance. For more information about availability and fees please contact email@example.com.
Do You Do Home Visits?
Sorry, but I am unavailable for home or hospital visits without exception. It takes too much time to travel, and this eats into clinic hours which can often be limited due to waiting lists.
Are There Any Risks of Herb/Drug Interactions?
Herb/drug interactions can occur, but so can drug/drug interactions and even food/drug interactions. There is a lot of scaremongering in this area usually from people, including doctors and surgeons, who have not trained in the use of herbal medicines or nutrition and who are simply erring on the side of caution as a result. While there are many theoretical risks of interaction, the vast majority have not been borne out in clinical studies, or been flagged during centuries of use. I keep up to date with the latest developments in research and do not use any remedies which may cause risk. First, do no harm!
WHAT IS IN MY HERBAL FORMULA?
Herbal formulas are bespoke, meaning they are tailor-made for each individual based on their unique disposition. Many formulas are therefore proprietary, and designed by someone with the necessary qualifications and experience. Unfortunately, if you provide someone with a list of herbs in a formula they will search the internet for information probably out of curiosity. The internet is partial however - do a search on a herbal medicine and the top hits will not be herbal sites but sponsored pharmaceutical sites with comments made by people who are not qualified in herbal medicine, and therefore the information may be biased or unreliable and lead to uncertainty. Unless you know where to look, or how to critically appraise research, you may not find reliable information. I am happy to discuss individual herbs and their actions in clinic. I wonder how often those asking this question ask the same question of their GP!
Can I Ask for Information About A Health Matter?
Yes. If you are a patient with Belfast Herbalist you can email your questions, which are answered on a first-come-first-served basis. Information about “alternative” health solutions abound online, but much of it can be half-baked, lacking in evidence or totally unfounded. It can be difficult to get answers given so much contradiction from the untrained or because of unsubstantiated scaremongering by vested interests, however I do not give out information unless I have first had a face to face consultation which allows me to accrue key information such as prescription drugs, previous medical history, allergies and other sensitivities which need to be taken into account before any remedies or protocols can be suggested.
Do You Sell Herbal Remedies to the Public?
No. I do not offer a retail service. I can only dispense prescribed herbal remedies and/or supplements following a face to face consultation. That’s the law! I am also unable to supply repeat formulas without a follow up consultation each time. All herbal medicines are dispensed in line with special provisions under the Human Medicines Act (UK) 2012. They cannot be delivered or collected otherwise. Consultations are strictly by appointment only.
Can I Collect Herbal Remedies From You?
No. All herbal remedies are dispensed following a face to face consultation in line with the 2012 Human Medicines Act.
How Do I Find the Clinic?
Please visit the clinic page for instructions on how to find the clinic by car, bus, train and on foot.
The clinic is located at 1 Cranmore Park, Belfast, BT9 6JF
Do You Take Cards?
No. At the moment I do not have card facilities. Payment is by cash or by cheque only on the day. It is also possible to pay online in advance of your appointment. There is a Stripe facility for this and other payment options on the payments page. Please note there is a small surcharge for this service.
Do You Offer Lab Testing?
Yes! I work with MHRA approved independent laboratories who carry out functional diagnostic tests such as DNA profiling, IgG-mediated food intolerances, heavy metal toxicity, parasitology, hormone profiles and blood chemistry using blood, urine, saliva and stool samples. Please note in some cases a blood-draw will be required and this needs to be performed off-site by a qualified phlebotomist. Other than blood tests, test kits to be used at home are provided and can be posted to your address. Please note refunds are not possible on lab tests. Turnaround depends on the lab and is outside my control. I offer an interest-free instalment scheme for laboratory testing charges.
What Health Conditions Do You Treat?
I treat people not conditions. I make no medical claims. This is an important point to make. If you have been diagnosed by a GP or specialist please mention it at your appointment. Any person with a serious medical condition should consult with a doctor before booking an appointment. Please visit this site for information about notifiable diseases. I offer an alternative perspective on any health condition.
Do Herbal Medicines Work, and Are They Safe?
Herbal medicines have been around for thousands of years; are found in every culture and are the world’s oldest medicine. If they didn’t work people would have stopped using them a long time ago. The World Health Organization estimates that 80% of the world’s population still use herbs as their primary source of healthcare! Many important pharmaceutical drugs are originally derived from plants, and research continues to look at possible applications. While positive clinical trials, meta analyses and systematic reviews exist for a growing number of herbs, other research provides information on plant chemistry from which potential applications can be extrapolated.
Evidence-based medicine (EBM) is a term used in biomedicine to suggest that any medicine needs to be proven to work effectively and safely by undergoing clinical trials, however it is the author’s opinion that many trials are deeply flawed or poorly designed to evaluate herbal medicines and may be unreliable. It is also worth noting in passing that many pharmaceutical drugs and surgical procedures do not have clinical trials behind them! Thousands of years of tradition tell us how to use herbs wisely.
Herbal remedies are very safe when used appropriately and in accordance with the recommendations of a qualified herbalist. This is why the consultation process is necessarily in-depth and detailed so that everyone can be screened for potential issues such as allergy, pregnancy and breastfeeding, or concomitant use with medications. Professional herbalists have an excellent safety record accordingly!
Book your Consultation!
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1 Cranmore Park,
Belfast, BT9 6JF