The Ignored Resource

The Ignored Resource

Readers of my work may well be aware that recently my health hasn’t been brilliant and I am recovering from a series of strokes along with having to deal with being Coeliac, living a gluten free existence. That, whilst hard to say, is still easier to say than to do. Daily, myself and one in a thousand other people can be seen in supermarkets peering closely to scrutinise ingredients in things that, before our diagnoses, we could have wolfed down.

Naturally such a tale of woe comes with myriad pharmaceuticals. There are pills for nigh on everything and the doctors tend not to hold back on things. More power to their elbow however, they do make a lot of people better whom a hundred years ago might not have made it to fifty. But each pill has side effects that aren’t useful. There is also the fact that for the rest of your life you will be taking these chemicals to maintain the status quo. Naturally this is the time for exploration, a time to find out what is out there. What alternative cures are available, after all we made it on our own for thousands of years before the invention of modern medicine, have we in a rush of modernity lost some useful things? The general consensus is yes we have.

I decided to have a look at Herbalism and what that might offer for me; how much of the chemicals I have to take, could I lose and replace with natural cures?

Helen Romberg is a practising herbalist in Shrewsbury providing alternative treatments for a plethora of conditions. She starts by taking a general overall medical history of you until now, then tables your medications and sees what can be replaced and what the side effects are of what you’re currently taking.

The skill of the herbalist is knowing exactly which herb does what and which compliment each other to the benefit of the recipient. It is fact that there is a rich seam of cures out there in our gardens, in our fields and hedgerows and yet for many years now we have forgotten they are available and we have forgotten what they can do.

Modern medicines achieve some wonderful results. There can be no doubt of that and many people owe their lives to the wonderful breakthroughs but Helen thinks we have rather thrown the baby out without the bathwater. There is scope for our modern GPs to incorporate what herbalists can achieve. A lot choose not to.

How each doctor views the facts of Herbalism has a bearing on how you may ultimately be treated but Helen explained the majority of medical schools tend not to look at herbal cures, choosing only to support the furtherance of chemistry. Whilst there was no one available from the Department of Health to comment on the official standpoint, from a survey held in 2009, with reference to the regulation of alternative practitioners, one learns that, “It is clear this is a complex area and that opinions vary widely as to whether some form of regulation is necessary.*”

That standpoint took a full sixty five pages to reach. It is obvious that the debate will rage on.

One story Helen relates is of a client in Cairo, her previous place of residence. The client suffered immensely with psoriasis, she had a pre-cancerous mole and was going downhill rapidly. Through the use of herbs the lady was made well. She is still well now and often talks of her brush with an almost certainly fatal dose of cancer.

Naturally with all cures some respond and some do not. Consequently one should always solicit a GP’s opinion. There are also conditions that really do need a medical answer but the herbalists are registered, qualified, insured and they have to take the equivalent of the Hippocratic Oath.

Helen Romberg is herself a fascinating lady. Having lived all over the world with her army Captain husband and children she finds herself settled nicely into Shrewsbury life and even finds time to exercise her other passion - see the picture above. Helen is an extremely talented artist. As part of the Bayston Hill Art Group she is, Bayston Hill between consultations, working on their exhibition which will show in the Bear Steps in August.

I wonder if by then I might have replaced some of my chemical diet for one a little healthier. I hope so. Watch this space!

*Professional standards division, Department of Health survey, 2009.


Owen Lewis Owen Lewis

Owen Lewis was born fifty something years ago in the land of the black puddings. For the geographically challenged that is in Lancashire. Moving to Shropshire From 1970 Owen was brought up in Church Stretton. His first real job was in radio. After starting on BBC Radio Shropshire he became known on Marcher Sound, broadcasting throughout the North West for several years. After a university degree course in Theatre, Owen became an actor and went on to play "Pirate Bill" in The Alton Towers Hotel. He also made several television appearances. Returning to university he took his PGCE enabling him to teach. That saw him on the Essex coast as a drama teacher and latterly as a Creative Educational Liaison Officer making films and creating new teaching methods to employ on children in need of more help in their fundamental learning skills. Published playwright Owen ultimately wants a house boat in Amsterdam to focus on his work as Playwright and Poet.

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