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Welcome to InTune Herbalists

What is Herbal Medicine?
Herbal medicine is the science and practice of collecting, preparing and using medicinal plants for improving health. Herbs enhance and repair the normal functions of the body enabling it to mend and defend itself against disease. Herbal medicine has been used in all cultures of the world since the dawn of time. Replaced in some countries by pharmaceuticals introduced in 1930, herbal medicine remains the practice of choice in most countries. Herbs are prepared directly from plants, and are used in a liquid, powder, tea or capsule form. Herbal Medicine is regulated differently depending on the country, sometimes as a medicine, sometimes as a food. The United States regulates the use and manufacture of herbs and supplements as a food, under the Food and Drug Administration. Herbalists practice according to the state law. The law of Florida asks that the client be made fully aware of the skills and education of each practitioner, so they can make an educated decision about the service being performed.

What is an Herbalist?
An Herbalist is person trained in the use of medicinal herbs for healing, their preparation, their effect on the human body, and the safety issues involved in their use. Herbalists consider each client as a whole person, meaning that each person is different, each person needs to be interviewed in depth to understand their health picture. Health is influenced by diet, life style, and family background, such that observing symptoms is not enough to determine a course of action. Herbalists determine the underlying health issue that results in the symptoms each client is experiencing, and believe that using herbal medicine, whole foods and lifestyle changes aimed at the symptom's cause is the preferred way to help each client. Herbalists don't diagnose or directly treat disease. Herbalists use herbs to strengthen the body, so that the body can heal itself, and remain strong enough to ward off new disease. Herbalists believe that the body is capable of taking care of itself, and only through incorrect use, or abuse has the body become dis-eased. Nudging it back to its normal state will allow it to remain healthy.

Are Herbs safe?
Herbs are regulated in the USA as foods, and are generally regarded as safe but caution has to be taken when using herbs. You should be sure to tell your herbalist when you are pregnant, breast feeding, have kidney or liver issues, and what pharmaceuticals you are taking. Herbalists are trained in herb-drug interactions, and have knowledge of herbs that are toxic, or harmful in specific situations. However, every client is different and all reactions are not predictable. If you are taking an herb and have a reaction, stop taking your formula and call your herbalist.

Where can I buy herbs?
Herbalists can suggest formulas in the form of tinctures, teas and powders. The formulas are usually unique for the client, and would not be able to be purchased anywhere else, as they are a combination of herbs determined by the herbalist. Capsules or pills can be found in many health stores, or can be supplied by the herbalist, the choice is up to the client. Quality does differ between manufacturers of herbal supplements, so it is best to show the bottle of the herb or supplement you are taking to your herbalist so he/she can advise you as to whether the manufacturer produces good product. Some herbalists choose to grow, harvest, and prepare their own herbal formulas. We buy from growers and processors that we know have high quality products.

What are the benefits and shortfalls of herbs?
First, herbs are not heavy artillery for attacking advanced disease; your herbalist is not the practitioner of last resort when all else fails. Herbs are best at nudging the body back to health and keeping it there. Using an herbalist to keep you well is a wonderful policy. Second, herbs can perform unique tasks, like tone the liver, digestive system, and kidney, so that they perform as they should. Third, generally speaking herbs have no side effects, and go about their duties without harming the body. Herbs have been used for thousands of years, their strengths and weaknesses recorded over time.

Why see an herbalist?
See an herbalist to remain healthy. See an herbalist to determine how you might overcome some health issues. Don't see an herbalist instead of going to the emergency room. An herbalist will spend a long time trying to understand your health picture. Together you will determine a path that is comfortable for you both. You will learn how to listen to your body and hear when it is out of tune and learn simple ways to get it back in tune. An herbalist will help you stay well. An herbalist will show you how to do it yourself.

What is your training?
Tai Sophia's Herbal Medicine program is about three years long and is approximately 90 credit hours. It is the only Master of Science in Herbal Medicine degree which is fully accredited by Middle States, the same organization that accredits universities such as John Hopkins. Our courses included: Anatomy and Physiology, Cell Biology, Botany, Pathology, Herbal Preparation, Applied Biomedicine, Materia Medica, Issues of Quality, Safety and Efficacy, Nourishment, Clinical Skills, History of Herbalism, and Practice Management. Finally, as part of our clinical training, we have seen at least 100 clients. And we wrote a Master's thesis on a plant of our choosing before graduating.

Are herbalists insured?
Yes, herbalists are insured against malpractice just like other practitioners.

Do herbs work?
Yes, herbs work, and are effective at addressing a wide range of health concerns. Herbs are medicinal plants and are chemically complex, containing hundreds of phytochemicals, primary and secondary metabolites. Each metabolite is an active chemical constituent. Plants have many of the same needs as humans, such as food, nutrients, and protection, but obviously they are stationary and can't move away from danger or toward better food and drink. The primary metabolites feed the plant, and the secondary metabolites protect, repair, and regulate the plant's growth rate. These secondary metabolites are often responsible for the therapeutic properties of herbal medicines. When a plant is used as an herbal medicine, all its phytochemicals are included, both primary and secondary. The plant's many active constituents may contribute to their safety and address more than one health issue.

Pharmaceuticals on the other hand are natural (from plants) or artificial, with a known chemical structure that is highly purified, allowing them to be patented, owned, and developed by a company. The dosage, pharmacokinetics, mechanism of action, and guide for its recommended use for medical indications, are all developed, after having been tested for safety, and efficacy in a series of trials.

Plants cannot be tested the same way since the hundreds of active ingredients all interact, and the plants advantage comes from its complexity... whole is stronger than its parts. The way we know that medicinal plants work is by the hundreds of years of anecdotal and written record of their use. There is also a growing amount of modern research demonstrating the effects of herbal remedies on clients in controlled settings.

Pharmaceuticals are usually used differently than herbs. Pharmaceuticals are generally aimed to combat disease, and reduce their symptoms. Herbs improve health by strengthening the tissues and organs of the body over time. Herbs may reduce some of the symptoms of disease, but the intent is to discourage disease from occurring in the body.

Jody and Randy Old iN TUNE 772 539-0220