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Supporting Women’s Health with Mother Nature’s Gift of Herbal Medicine


As a medical herbalist I know many, many health issues women face during their lives can be treated successfully with herbal medicine.  I believe this may reflect the fact that so many herbalists over the ages have been women -  and so much “folklore” or better said “folk wisdom” passed down from generation to generation was from woman to woman.  As women were often the “gatherers” rather than the “hunters” in ancient times it was they who discovered the amazing medicinal value of Mother Nature’s gifts – herbal medicine.

Today herbal medicinal approaches are not only backed by traditional use and folk wisdom but also supported by scientific literature.  In this era of “evidence-based” medicine herbs are being researched and their mechanisms of action elucidated. I am bemused by the fact that the modern research often confirms that which traditional experience of ages already demonstrates – herbs work!!!  Unfortunately modern science is a science of reductionism – breaking things down to the smallest unit e.g. in the case of herbal medicine looking for the “active” part of the herb.  This then lends itself to making an “analog” or slightly different synthetic “drug” similar to but not the same and therefore “patentable”.  This is missing the point of herbal medicine. Nature’s wisdom provides us with the whole herb and all of its constituents work together in synchrony. 

Common health concerns for women are of course related to our hormonal cycles such as period issues, PMT, PMS, fertility, polycystic ovarian syndrome, endometriosis, fibroids, pregnancy issues, lactation issues, peri-menopause and menopause to name a few.  These “women’s business” areas interestingly are the ones where there is an array of herbal approaches available.  Again reflecting the historical contribution of women’s wisdom to the art and science of herbal medicine. 

Many other health concerns faced by women are amenable to natural medicine and particularly herbal medicine approaches.  In our modern world issues women are often carrying more than their share – looking after everyone else before themselves.  This may be the result of commitments at work, to immediate family, to extended family and even friends!  This commonly manifests as adrenal fatigue/stress burnout.  I describe this as being a “bright flame burning – NO Fuel!” Purely mind over matter.  This puts an enormous drain on our health and wellbeing. It can only be sustained for a while before it takes its toll – fatigue, sleeplessness or extreme sleepiness, erratic emotions, anxiety, depression and just simply ill health.  Stress is without a doubt a major contributor to general ill health – immunity is suppressed, sex and adrenal hormones are imbalances, the digestive and general health functions are compromised.

Luckily again Nature’s Wisdom and the Wisdom of our ancient mothers comes to the rescue.  There are wide arrays of amazing herbs that support the adrenal or stress coping system.  These herbs are “scientifically validated”  in modern research but anyone who has taken adrenal support herbs for adrenal fatigue will also validate that they “feel more resilient” “More like themselves”.  Just another example of how Mother Nature provides the medicine for the modern world.

Belle McCaleb ND, RN, MSS-C, BSN, RYT is a Naturopath, Herbalist, Counsellor, Registered Nurse and Registered Yoga Instructor.  She specialises in Women’s Health and Cancer Support.  As a counsellor Belle specialises in psycho-spiritual issues including end of life and bereavement counselling.

Category : Cancer
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