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"One of the best personal online services of herbal medicine you can find on the web. Alan Hopking MA MNIMH is a leading herbal medicine practitioner in the UK. He has been in practice for 30 years. He has appeared on BBC television and radio. His website is huge and very informative. Mail order worldwide. Many free offers with orders." Web Direct Inc.

"Everyone should be on your website, just sent it to the receptionist at the ENT’s office who gave me the ct scan a few weeks back." Dee. USA

Herbactive herbal tonics embody the concept that it is better to stay well (and get better) than to get sick and look for a cure. The oldest medical system in the world, herbal medicine, has been used in health tonics for thousands of years, and now scientific research and medical experience are verifying their health-giving properties.
Alan Hopking’s unique herbal tonics go further than the usual understanding of individual tonic herbs and Chinese tonic medicine. His approach is to select the organ, physiological system or medical condition and prescribe specific herbs along with supportive herbal treatment for the whole person so that an integrative functionality results throughout the person. It is for this reason that Alan’s herbal tonics have proven so successful and popular.

If you have any questions click here for answers to Frequently Asked Questions
For comments and testimonials see our Visitors Book

"Thankyou for the wonderful tonics you make." Joy Bolton

Life-threatening illness
Caisse - formula for life threatening illness (was called Essiac)
herbshield
CBD oil

immune system
white blood cell count
lungs
breast health and protection (including breast abnormal cell formation)
prostate health and protection
lymph nodes
astragalus
cancer bush herb - sutherlandia
information on herbal tonics for abnormal cell formation
abc daily herbal nutripowder plus (complete vitamin and mineral supplement and more)
wheatgrass and high chlorophyll tonic (with spirulina)
an article on Herbs to Prevent Cancer by Alan N Hopking MA
skinclear herbal soap and shampoo - no chemicals
black salve with bloodroot for tumours growths
abc daily herbal nutripowder plus

Women
abc daily herbal nutripowder plus
antioxidant herbal mixture
blood sugar problems or Stevia (organic alcohol-free) or white stevia
blood sugar and the pancreas - diabetes
breast protection
black salve and bloodroot
breast milk
breast enlargement
strengthen your bones after illness or at menopause
cysts
uterine lumps (fibroids)
fertility
flushes, flashes, menopausal ups and downs
thinning hair or hair loss in women or girls
bhringaraj hair oil for growth and colour
herbal hair colours
women with an excess growth of body hair (hirsutism) due to hormonal imbalance
breast milk
cystitis
thrush and candida
pms and pmt
tone up/strengthen your muscles or take a tonic
women's sexual stimulant
weight loss
The Lemon Stevia Detox Diet Slimming Program
high10-N-Gen blend (alternative healthy coffee)
stop smoking
herbal smoking mixture
allergies (not hayfever)
iron and minerals in your blood
cellulite
ovaries and oestrogen dominance
endometriosis
CBD oil for pain

haer!haer! scalp lotion for thickening women's hair
intestitial cystitis
morning sickness
prolapsed organs
snoring
sweating - excessive sweating at rest (not menopausal)
sport support - herbs to help you train to be a better competitor
rosacea
colds and flu - antiviral
water-detox method to lose weight or improve skin tone
herbal health cosmetics from head to toe

Stevia - the sensational sweetener with no calories and no glucose
organic whole stevia leaf powder
whole stevia 'ace' (alcohol-free concentrated extract) organic
stevioside - the isolation of the sweet flavonoid in stevia leaf
stevia vs aspartame
stevia and weightloss
stevia and the lemon detox weight loss programme
gymnema for Type 2 Diabetes
bitter melon for Type 2 Diabetes
white stevia powder
clear stevia drops

Email for more info
Or phone free on 0800 0834436 (UK only)
International phone +44 1425 839280

Men
abc daily herbal nutripowder plus
body-building powder
hair loss, thinning or greying in men
bhringaraj hair oil for growth and colour
muscles - strengthening and supporting
prostate health and protection and treatment
saw palmetto
willow herb for the prostate
andropause - the male menopause
read about lycopene and prostate protection
men's sexual stimulant (with Horny Goat Weed), a V8 Tonic!
herbs for a low torros
horny goat weed
premature ejaculation (with Broomrape herb)
fertility - increase your sperm count and sperm motility
stop smoking - cut down smoking - proven effective
herbal smoking mixture
weight loss
The Lemon Stevia Detox Diet Method for safe and rapid weight loss
alcoholism treatment
snoring
nasal polyps herbal drops
sweating - excessive sweating at rest
high10-N-Gen blend (alternative healthy 'coffee' - tastier!)
yehimbe - go to Herbal V8 or find more testosterone
sport support - herbs to help you train to be a better competitor
Arnica for sports injuries
noni juice for sexual enhancement, strengthened fertility, potency
rosacea
shingles
colds and flu - antiviral
water-detox method to improve liver function or strengthen the immune system

Email for more info
Or phone free on 0800 0834436 (UK only)
International phone ++44 1425 839280
prices of all our tonics and products

Digestive system
digestion and digestive herbs
abc daily herbal nutripowder plus
pancreas function and diabetes
gymnema - for diabetes
bitter melon - for diabetes
stevia or white stevia
heart burn
irritable bowel syndrome
coeliac disease
anorexia
colon health and abrasive colon brush
motion sickness and travel sickness
dysentery, chronic diarrhoea, digestive problems
chronic diarrhea
constipation - gentle to extra-strong laxatives
late onset diabetes or recent onset of childhood diabetes
wind, flatulence, bloating
worms, parasites, flukes, mycoplasma
stevia - natural sweetener for sugar addicts; for hypoglycaemia & diabetes
colitis, diverticulitis, crohns
coarse dry laxative
helicobacter pylori
leaky gut syndrome
extra strong laxative
bitters - swedish, european, chinese
white stevia powder
clear stevia drops

Cardiovascular
abc daily herbal nutripowder plus
white blood cell count
heart and circulation
read about lycopene and atherosclerosis
high blood pressure
varicose veins
leg ulcers
piles
extra heart beats, heart flutters, palpitations
blood cleansers

Nervous system
daily herbal nutripowder plus
worry, stress
headaches and migrainese
mental concentration and the memory
enhance your mood
sleep
SAD
sciatica
ME and FM
to galvanize energy from all the organs
poor energy and motivation
for nerve pain, nerve damage, neuralgias - nerve shield

CBD oil
lyme disease
shingles

Respiratory system
abc daily herbal nutripowder plus
colds and flu - antiviral
mild asthma and shortness of breath
COPD
catarrh and sinusitis
nasal polyps herbal drops
coughs, phlegm
cough syrup
hayfever
smoking
herbal smoking mixture
allergies (not hayfever)
bronchial problems

Kidneys and Bladder
abc daily herbal nutripowder plus
total kidney system support
weak bladder and incontinence
kombucha
overactive bladder
diuretic; need for increasing water flow; fluid retention
cystitis
kidney and bladder stones
SAD
adrenal exhaustion

Brain and Nerves
abc daily herbal nutripowder plus
depression
noni juice tonic
forgetfulness, memory problems, early alzheimer's
sciatica
brain function and protection
SAD
epilepsy
lumbago - pulled back/slipped disc
migraine
nerve problems
neuralgia
lyme disease
parkinsons
shingles

Joints
CBD oil for pain
abc daily herbal nutripowder plus
gout
arthritis and joint aches and pains
joints lotion
frozen shoulder
noni juice - helps with pain and walking difficulties
muscles - strengthening and supporting

Liver and Spleen
abc daily herbal nutripowder plus
liver detox and eczema
liver flush for gallstones (complete programme)
parasite removal
total detox (all the organs and systems, including the liver)
hepatitis c
splenic problems
blood cleansers
alcoholism treatment

Email for more info
Or phone free on 0800 0834436 (UK only)
International phone ++44 1425 839280

Skin and Nails
abc daily herbal nutripowder plus
psoriasis and skin disease
excess pigmentation - melasma
loss of pigmentation - vitaligo
sciatica
urticaria
skin herbs
spots, acne and pimples
warts
fungal infections on the skin or nails
ointments and creams
fungal trouble
lice infestation
ring worm
scabies
blood cleanser
rosacea
skinclear herbal soap
blood root ointment for skin growths
water-detox for eczema

Detox
totally detox your whole body - 7 Quantum Steps
thoroughly detox your liver
kill and purge all parsites and intestinal worms
for a complete clearing of a remarkable rubbish dump - your lymphatic system
water-detox method

Breasts
abc daily herbal nutripowder plus
increase your breast milk
breast enlargement
enhancing breast health and protection (including breast abnormal cell formation)

Your sex life
abc daily herbal nutripowder plus
potency for men and women
a herbal V8 for men
increase your testosterone
a herbal VW for women
frigidity (women) and the wonders of pasque flower
high10-N-Gen blend (alternative coffee)

Eyes and Ears
abc daily herbal nutripowder plus
styes and blepharitis
sight, seeing, and eye trouble
a perfect smoothie to improve your eyesight
sounds and tinnitus
deafness herbs
allergies (not hayfever)

Thyroid Gland
underactive thyroid gland
overactive thyroid gland
weight loss problems

Hair
abc daily herbal nutripowder plus
thinning hair or hair loss in women or girls
bhringaraj hair oil for growth and colour
herbal hair colours
women with an excess growth of body hair
premature hair loss, thinning or graying in men
headlice
hair lotion for women
skinclear herbal soap and shampoo

Mouth
abc daily herbal nutripowder plus
gums and mouth ulcers
mouthShield and gargle

Eyes Ears Nose Throat
abc daily herbal nutripowder plus
eye health and vision
smoothie for eyesight
ear health and tinnitus
nasal health and sinusitis and catarrh
nasal polyps herbal drops
nasal congestion

blood root drops for polyps
throat irritation, lung catarrh with cough
cough syrups
singers, orators, lecturers, talkers, heavy metal screamers

Preventative medication
prevention is better than cure tonic
malaria - if you're travelling to malaria areas
Swedish bitters - the amazing claims for this formula

Tonics
all the herbal tonics

Weight loss
weight loss
The Lemon Detox Diet Method
lymph circulation and nodes
weight loss and abnormal cell formation
stevia - for hypoglycaemia and losing weight
abc daily herbal nutripowder plus
water-detox method for weight loss
white stevia powder
clear stevia drops

you can't put weight ON!

prices of all our tonics and products

The herbs - Herbactive Herbalist's Materia Medica - Hopking's Herbal
i.e. what do the herbs do? what's their medicinal action? what are they used for?

herbs - a
herbs - bc
herbs - def
herbal - gh
herbs - ijk
herbs - lmn
herbs - opq
herbs - rs
herbs - tu
herbal - vw
herbs - xyz
bloodroot
myrobalan herb
stevia
drugs from plants - an informative list
astragalus
black cohosh
ginkgo
saw palmetto
devil's claw
hawthorn
st john's wort
garlic
arnica
herbs used for abnormal cell growth

Illnesses and their herbs
illnesses and herbal treatment
botanic actions for the treatment of illness

History of herbalism
history of herbalism and herbalists down the ages
reformers of herbal medicine
drugs from plants - an informative list
traditional uses of herbs

The herbalist
I am a herbalist

Tea
paradise garden tea
other herbal teas
high10NGen alternative 'Coffee' - healthy and delicious
swedish bitters herbal tea

Juices and Smoothies
wheatgrass juice and high chlorophyll plant extract drink
two special antioxidant juice formulas
what juicer and what blender is best?

Powders
abc daily herbal nutripowder plus
colon cleanse powder
body build powder
other herbal powders
spirulina
slippery elm and marshmallow root (or seperately)
high10-N-Gen blend (alternative coffee)
skinclear herbal soap and shampoo

Email for more info
Or phone free on 0800 0834436 (UK only)
International phone ++44 1425 839280

Price list
prices of all the tonics

Cosmetics
Herbactive's own range of herbal health cosmetics from head to toe

Questions
do you have any questions?
frequently asked questions

Other Topics

The clinic and dispensary
the clinic on the ducking stool and its history - my first herbal clinic
Godshaer and Herbactive - the name, the history, the herbal clinic

Related interests
what drugs come from what plants?
botanic uses and actions
about the godshaer herb and the old name of Herbactive Clinic
wheatgrass moisturiser
supplements, vitamins - a profile
photo gallery
the medicinal herbs of stanpit marsh

The ten chakras - Seer EHA Tonic
tonic for balancing the chakras (etheric centres) (the ten major hormonal inlets) the body uses to distribute energy

Health Philosophy
why use herbs? why see a herbalist? how do herbs work?

Healing Books
Four books by Alan Hopking on health and healing
Special Offer for all 4 books (one is now out of print)

On this site you will find information about:
the treatment of women and men;
treatment of specific illnesses;
herb uses;
a history of herbalism down the centuries;
herbs and drugs;
what the godshaer herb stands for and does;
how you can get treatment using herbal medicine.
And a whole lot more - see our index of contents.

Or if you want to cut to the chase, and get what you want to know from the herbalist himself without delay - email Alan Hopking

Herbactive ABC has become one of the UK's leading herbal health care centres and is dedicated to the best of health and wellbeing through the use of herbal medicine and natural therapy.
Herbactive Clinic and shop was opened as Godshaer Clinic in Bournemouth and Christchurch UK in 1981 by Alan Hopking. Read the full History of Herbactive Clinic.

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Archives of What's new on the site? -

* September already, and the worst summer since 1972! But there are still lots of berries to collect from Mother Nature! Or get them fresh in our AgeLess Tonic

* Need I say it's summer? Some may not believe it! But already there are abundant wild foods to collect to eat in salads and cooking. Take a look at our selection to get your mouth watering! Wild herbs to eat

* Take a look at an 800 year old sculpture of "nature as the physician" in our photogallery

* Oxygen therapy using H2O2 kills unfriendly microbes, fungus, viruses, parasites, blastocystis hominis, giardia lamblia, entamoeba histolytica that can cause symptoms from acne to serious diseases - oxygen therapy H2O2

* The Dukan Diet that keeps Kate Middleton and her sister slender and healthy. Follow the Dukan Diet

* Due to popular demand we now supply white stevia powder and clear stevia drops - 300 times as sweet as sugar

* Have you considered a Water-Detox? See our specific programme for 14 or 30 days. Water-Detox

* Blood Root (Black Salve) Ointment for skin tags, moles, skin growths, nasal polyps. Bloodroot

* Are you under-weight, too thin, can't put weight on no matter how much you eat? WeighMore

* Do you get spots, pimples or acne? See the latest info about this condition, spots and acne

* Have you read the 12 practical ideas to help improve a bad memory

* I'm very pleased to announce that on 16 February 2011, after over 10 years of consultations, the government has given the go-ahead to Statutory Regulation of Medical Herbalists from April 2012. This ensures greater safety to the public. I want to thank all of you who wrote to your MP in support of SR. This is a very big day. Thank you all. Find out more about Statutory Regulation.

* Good news for women with fibroids. We have sourced an important anti-oestrogenic herb called Prunella (Self heal). This is now included in our FibroidsLess Tonic, as well as in BreastShield to prevent cancer. See Fibroidsless

* Layrinthitis, a viral infection of the inner ear. Herbal treatment of Labyrinthitis

* I have made improvements to HerbShield (it now includes Cancer Bush Herb - Sutherlandia) and to BreastShield Tonic - this is now reformulated as anti-oestrogenic to help prevent cancer with additional herbs specific for breast health and protection.

* WormLess is still doing its wondrous work of literally eliminating worms from the system. Read the latest remarkable testimonial about round worms eliminated with WormLess Tonic

* Heard of Chai? If not you soon will! It's the 'new' tea that's taking America by storm. Yet Chai has been a spicy favourite in tea rooms in eastern Europe for generations. Try our unique Chai - tea of dreams

* Migraines have been reduced to nothing. Read Catherine's testimonial

* Yohimbe bark the sexual stimulant has recently had an official assessment

* We have moved to larger premises at last. As a result, we can now offer organic Alcohol-free Concentrated Tinctures (ACT) for all our herbs (just like we do for Stevia, Wheatgrass, Caisse). So any herb you'd prefer to have as an ACT rather than our usual organic plant-based alcohol tinctures you can order from us. You have a choice of over 300 herbs!

* "Nose to the left and Eyes to the right" Do you have nasal polyps? Or do you have cateracts, styes, or poor sight? Use our herbal nose drops and eye drops.

* Become a future Olympic Champion or judt get fitter! Use our great botanical mixtures: BodyBuild Powder and SportSupport Tonic and MuscleMore

* Do you react to the animal tallow and other chemicals in soap and shampoo? We now make a soap powder and shampoo powder that are totally herbal, nothing else added. Find out more

* We put cleaning fluid down the drains to keep them clean and clear but what about our pipework? A natural and efficient method for our 28 feet of intestinal pipework is ColonCleanse Powder

* Tired? Exhausted? No energy? Loss of interest in things? Try our new EnergyMore Tonic

* Flush out your liver and gall bladder with our 3 week treatment programme and feel more energetic with improved digestion - Liver Flush Programme

* Memory problems? Too many senior moments? ForgetLess

* Do you really need all those supplement pills and capsules? Find out about another way

* Worms and Parasites are becoming more and more common, either as a primary or as a secondary cause of illness. Cleanse and recharge your system with WormLess Tonic

* The BBC reports that over 400 medicinal herbs are seriously under threat. Read more in our News and History of Herbalism

*The BBC also reports that 5 BILLION people in the world rely on herbal medicine for their primary health care. Yes, 5 BILLION!

* It doesn't rain but it pours! Sweats and flushes in menopause. Here's help for this and many other symptoms at the change, click here

* Tinnitis - new herbs to reduce the sounds of ringing in the ears

* Diabetes Type 2 - new infomation about treatment, click here

* The campaign for government statutory regulation of professional herbalists is on again. We urgently need you to support us. Write to your coalition MP now - select your sample letter here. Or click here to find out what Statutory Regulation of Herbal Medicine means or watch Alan Hopking on video as he tells you what it all means Alan tells you about the threat to herbalists on YouTube

* Daily Telegraph reports: 5 out of 6 new drugs do not work, read the article

* Coffee? We have an alternative coffee without the caffeine of coffee! But it's got other mood-enhancers. It includes Guarana, Kola Nut, and boy does it give you a lift! Both hands in the air! Hi10Ngen! Add it to your cafetier! Hi10NGen

NEW! A Bargain Basket of herbal goodies is now available. So go and have a rumage to find some bargains

* NEW Stevia sizes now available! You can now buy 120ml in a dropper bottle; also you can now buy a 350g pack (the jump from 200g to 500g was too large for many) see new Stevia sizes and prices

* What are the stages of Alzheimer's Disease? How can you avoid Alzheimer's? Find out

* Hay Fever due to the high pollen count continues... control it with HayFeverLess Tonic

* It's summer. The World Cup is well under way. Wimbledon has begun. If you're playing more sport too - tennis, football, athletics, cycling, swimming, and so on... make your own Arnica Liniment for those aching, bruised, over used muscles! Arnica Also check out BoneMore for fractures, bruised bones, and to help bone grafts

* Sexual anxiety dysfunction. Read what Herbal V8 for men did for Mark's relationship. Herbal V8

* NEW !! New Fat-busters have been added to WeightLess Tonic. It's like a new formulation! Lose weight faster! WeightLess

* Ingrid bakes cashew nut and chocolate biscuits which required in the recipe 200g of sugar with just 1tsp of our Stevia concentrate. A friend tasted it and said it was 'just right' and could not tell it was stevia instead of sugar. Read more about cooking with Stevia

* The cell is said to be ageless; we can live to 1000 years it is claimed by an eminent scientist. see AgeLess

* Two years ago the National Institute of Medical Herbalists warned the Department of Health to state regulate UK herbal practitioners without delay - bogus herbalists could cause a medical tragedy - it has now happened

Two more important herbs are added to the ABC Daily Powder - Asparagus (Shatavari) and Mucuna (Kapikachu) - this makes 52 herbal nutrient powders for your health

* Lomatium is indicated for H1N1 as also Elder Berry, Goji Berry, Boneset - the very best antivirals are in my ColdLess Tonic

* Stevia here at Herbactive holds its prices below 2007 for 2010. Stevia 2010 - good news

* Herbactive was called Godshaer? What's in a name? Read about the connection with King Arthur and the Green Knight

* Breast protection to prevent breast cancer is primary for women in their 30s and especially when they start menopause. See our latest information about the two genes p21 and p53 and how herbs can support them. BreastShield

* Prince Charles speaks out for the Regulation of Herbal Medicine via the Foundation for Integrative Health and the London Evening Standard - see what he says.

* Atherosclerosis is scary. It can start from our teenage years and only strike in our 70s, or any time. It is silent and slow but often deadly leading to a stroke or heart attack. We now include a health tonic to help with the protection or removal of this conditon. Find out more about our approach to atherosclerosis.

* Final Report from the Department of Health (UK) regarding Professional Regulation of Herbal Medicine Practitioners - read the full text to see for yourself what it all involves. You have less than 1 week to send your support. - This is over now. Now we await the decision. Heartfelt thanks to all of you who took the time to write to MHRA and the government and your MP. We had a MASSIVE response. It reached the main BBC news on radio and TV. Read the Final Report

* Stevia is legalised in France. The EU authorizes France to use Stevia in commercial products for a 2-year trial period (ends September 2011). Stevia in the UK and other EU countries remains illegal for commercial use (in UK Stevia is legal to use for medicinal purposes). Herbactive sells Stevia for personal health improvement

" SAD - the multiple problems associated with Seasonal Affective Disorder are now addressed, see SAD

* Prostate problems, high PSA? We have fresh extract of Epilobium Willow Herb.

* PROST! Alan Hopking's unique preventive medicine method of treatment has been launched. PROST! What is it? Find out how you can stay healthy on herbs PROST

* We are very pleased to announce two new herbs acquired for diabetics. Each has a significant benefit for Type 2 Diabetes. Have a read: Gymnema and Bitter Melon

* Swine Flu is sweeping the country. Find out what herbal tonic you need to help prevent it. Swine Flu Virus Herbal Tonic

* Do you suffer from Hepatitis C? Consider our unique herbal treatment method. Hep-C Tonic

* You may not have heard that the Essiac name has now been trade marked (not by us!) so our once-named Essiac has changed its name to Caisse

* Astragalus, Flax Seed Oil, Golden Seal, Curcuma, Cat's Claw, Echinacea, etc for cancer preventative treatment are available here. Save by buying from a herbalist who makes the tinctures himself! click here for cancer preventing herbs

* Become a future Olympic Champion! Use our great botanical mixtures: BodyBuild Powder and SportSupport Tonic and MuscleMore Tonic

* Do you react to the animal tallow and other chemicals in soap and shampoo? We now make a soap powder and shampoo powder that are totally herbal, nothing else added. Find out more

* We put bleach down the toilet to keep the pipes clean and clear but what about our pipework? A natural and efficient method for our 28 feet of intestinal pipework is ColonCleanse Powder

* Now let's have a heart to heart! Your heart never stops pumping life-force and blood round your body for your health. Keep your heart, blood and blood vessels clear. Simple daily method: drink a glass of water in the morning adding a teaspoon of Heart & Circulation Tonic

*Tired? Exhausted? No energy? Loss of interest in things? Try our new EnergyMore Tonic

* Flush out your liver and gall bladder with our 3 week treatment programme for gall stones and feel more energetic with improved digestion - Liver Flush Programme

* Memory problems? Too many senior moments? MentalPepTalk

* Do you really need all those supplement pills and capsules? Find out about another way

* Sex - that demanding hormone that can crown a relationship (or cripple it). If you are having performance problems try our specific Herbal VW for women and Herbal V8 for men

* Worms and Parasites are becoming more and more common, either as a primary or as a secondary cause of illness. Cleanse and recharge your system with WormLess Tonic

* The BBC reports that over 400 medicinal herbs are seriously under threat. Read more in our News and History of Herbalism

*The BBC also reports that 5 BILLION people in the world rely on herbal medicine for their primary health care. Yes, 5 BILLION!

* It doesn't rain but it pours! Sweats and flushes in menopause. Here's help for this and many other symptoms at the change, FlushLess Tonic

* Tinnitus - new herbs to reduce the sounds of ringing in the ears

* Diabetes Type 2 - new information about how herbs can really help you, click here

* We believe that our green Stevia will have a hugely beneficial impact on your health. Try our Whole Green Stevia Powder and our Alcohol-free Concentrated Drops (and put sugar in the bin). Stevia

Order your tonics here
 

Terms and conditions

our terms and conditions

Linked sites

linked sites to Herbactive

 

 

 

 


Prescriptions

Our herbal tonic medicines are carefully prepared on a personal and individual basis for your healing by medical herbalist Alan Hopking MA MNIMH FINEH.

Only whole herbs are used in our herbal medicines. Nothing else is added. If you have symptoms which you consider might be helped with herbal medicine please contact herbal practitioner Alan Hopking for a friendly confidential professional consultation. See terms and fees.

Once you have received your herbal prescription you can contact Alan Hopking at any time for more free advice (preferably by email). When you have completed your bottle of herbal medicine and if you want a repeat prescription you are requested to phone or email so that your progress can be assessed and adjustments made if necessary so that there is no break in your treatment. To order or re-order, click here.

MRCHM - see Alan Hopking's statement about renouncing his association with membership of this organisation

HERBACTIVE Centre of Herbal Medicine, England, UK. Freephone 0800 0834436

General advice to consumers on the use of herbal remedies from the Medicines Healthcare products Regulatory Agency

From the website of the Medicines Healthcare products Regulatory Agency (www.mhra.gov.uk) Department of Health, UK

• Remember that herbal remedies are medicines. As with any other medicine they are likely to have an effect on the body and should be used with care. • Herbal remedies may sometimes interact with other medicines. This makes it particularly important to tell your doctor or pharmacist if you are taking a herbal remedy with other medicines such as prescribed medicines (those provided through your doctor or dentist). • Treat with caution any suggestion that a herbal remedy is '100% safe' or is 'safe because it is natural'. Many plants, trees, fungi and algae can be poisonous to humans. It is worth remembering that many pharmaceuticals have been developed or derived from these sources because of the powerful compounds they contain. Any medicine, including herbal remedies, which have an effect on the body should be used with care. • Treat with caution any herbalist or other person who supplies herbal remedies if they are unwilling or unable to provide written information, in English, listing the ingredients of the herbal remedy they are providing. • If you are due to have a surgical operation you should always remember to tell your doctor about any herbal remedy that you are taking. • Anyone who has previously experienced any liver complaint, or any other serious health complaint is advised not to take any herbal remedy without speaking to their doctor first.

PRECAUTIONS:

Pregnant/Breast-feeding mothers

Few conventional medicines have been established as safe to take during pregnancy and it is generally recognised that no medicine should be taken unless the benefit to the mother outweighs any possible risk to the foetus. This rule should also be applied to herbal medicinal products. However, herbal products are often promoted to the public as being “natural” and completely “safe” alternatives to conventional medicines. Some herbal ingredients that specifically should be avoided or used with caution during pregnancy. As with conventional medicines, no herbal products should be taken during pregnancy unless the benefit outweighs the potential risk.

Volatile Oils

Many herbs are traditionally reputed to be abortifacient and for some this reputation can be attributed to their volatile oil component.(6) A number of volatile oils are irritant to the genito-urinary tract if ingested and may induce uterine contractions. Herbs that contain irritant volatile oils include ground ivy, juniper, parsley, pennyroyal, sage, tansy and yarrow. Some of these oils contain the terpenoid constituent, thujone, which is known to be abortifacient. Pennyroyal oil also contains the hepatotoxic terpenoid constituent, pulegone. A case of liver failure in a woman who ingested pennyroyal oil as an abortifacient has been documented.

Uteroactivity

A stimulant or spasmolytic action on uterine muscle has been documented for some herbal ingredients including blue cohosh, burdock, fenugreek, golden seal, hawthorn, jamaica dogwood, motherwort, nettle, raspberry, and vervain. Herbal Teas Increased awareness of the harmful effects associated with excessive tea and coffee consumption has prompted many individuals to switch to herbal teas. Whilst some herbal teas may offer pleasant alternatives to tea and coffee, some contain pharmacologically active herbal ingredients, which may have unpredictable effects depending on the quantity of tea consumed and strength of the brew. Some herbal teas contain laxative herbal ingredients such as senna, frangula, and cascara. In general stimulant laxative preparations are not recommended during pregnancy and the use of unstandardised laxative preparations is particularly unsuitable. A case of hepatotoxicity in a newborn baby has been documented in which the mother consumed a herbal tea during pregnancy as an expectorant. Following analysis the herbal tea was reported to contain pyrrolizidine alkaloids which are known to be hepatotoxic.

Breast-feeding mothers

A drug substance taken by a breast-feeding mother presents a hazard if it is transferred to the breast milk in pharmacologically or toxicologically significant amounts. Limited information is available regarding the safety of conventional medicines taken during breast-feeding. Much less information exists for herbal ingredients, and generally the use of herbal remedies is not recommended during lactation.

Paediatric Use

Herbal remedies have traditionally been used to treat both adults and children. Herbal remedies may offer a milder alternative to some conventional medicines, although the suitability of a herbal remedy needs to be considered with respect to quality, safety and efficacy. Herbal remedies should be used with caution in children and medical advice should be sought if in doubt. Chamomile is a popular remedy used to treat teething pains in babies. However, chamomile is known to contain allergenic sesquiterpene lactones and should therefore be used with caution. The administration of herbal teas to children needs to be considered carefully and professional advice may be needed.

Perioperative use

The need for patients to discontinue herbal medicinal products prior to surgery has recently been proposed. The authors considered eight commonly used herbal medicinal products (echinacea, ephedra, garlic, ginkgo, ginseng, kava, St John’s Wort, valerian). On the evidence available they concluded that the potential existed for direct pharmacological effects, pharmacodynamic interactions and pharmacokinetic interactions. The need for physicians to have a clear understanding of the herbal medicinal products being used by patients and to take a detailed history was highlighted. The American Society of Anaesthesiologists (ASA) has advised patients to tell their doctor if they are taking herbal products before surgery and has reported that a number of anaesthesiologists have reported significant changes in heart rate or blood pressure in some patients who have been taking herbal medicinal products including St John’s Wort, ginkgo and ginseng. MCA is currently investigating a serious adverse reaction associated with the use of ginkgo prior to surgery. In this case, the patient who was undergoing hip replacement experienced uncontrolled bleeding thought to be related to the use of ginkgo.

From the website of the Medicines Healthcare products Regulatory Agency (www.mhra.gov.uk) Department of Health, UK

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