I have just finished giving my consulting room a bit of a make-over and I’m pleased with the results. If you have a couple of minutes, I’d like to show you around…
The cabinets along the wall are new. Previously there were a random set of pine cupboards, filing cabinets and display cases there. The new white billy bookcases came from IKEA – thank goodness for IKEA eh? I keep my dried herbs in there. I think they look smart don’t you?
The tinctures now have the full height glass-door cabinets all to themselves which makes dispensing far more straightforward. All these rows of labelled herbal medicines is reminiscent of the apothecaries of old don’t you think? My professional herbal medicine suppliers all have Good Manufacturing Practice status, conduct chromatography and constant quality control on all products, and most of them are organic or biodynamically produced. Yes, I am proud of them.
I’ve reorganised the preparation area retaining the pine sink unit which has been such an excellent workhorse – again thanks to IKEA (when they are good they are very, very good). Behind the central filing cupboards is my dispensary area where I have scales, measuring cylinders, bottles, cream jars, labels and so on. Down there, on the left of the sink is a silent fridge (like a hotel mini-bar) where I keep temperature-sensitive supplements such as fish oils and probiotics.
Come and stand in the dispensary area. Now look back: to the left is the examination couch; in the middle is my desk where I carry out consultations and write up patient notes. On the desk? Oh, that’s my sphygmomanometer for taking blood pressure, my stethoscope, otoscope (for examining ears) and opthalmoscope (for looking at the retina of the eye) when these need examining.
Here is the entrance and waiting area. There is space for hanging coats and a bathroom just at hand.
So as not to finish this post with a picture of the loo, here is a shot of my dried herbs that I took while I was reorganising them. I stock well over 50 species from Angelica and Borage to Rosa and Yarrow, which I prescribe as infusions of leaves and flowers, decoctions of roots or cold macerations, as appropriate.
Tinctures are alcoholic extracts of herb roots, bark, stems, resins, leaves, flowers or seeds. This is a very old method of extracting the many medicinal compounds that plants provide. Indeed it enables a greater range of these substances to be released than water alone can, and, at the same time, the alcohol preserves the resulting medicine for a long, long time. Clever.
I stock over 200 different herb tinctures, and the triple strength ‘fluid extracts’. I also stock certain very potent, potentially toxic herbs, that only trained, qualified and insured Medical Herbalists, and pharmacists are legally permitted to use. From this bounty I put together each patient’s medicine, individually, according to their need, as determined during the consultation. I do not use any ready made formulae, knowing as we all do, that each one of us is unique. Even when two patients share a diagnostic label that does not mean that their medicine will be the same, as the path and progress of their condition is specific to them. That is the art and science of medicine. It isn’t new, and neither are we. Of course modern research methods continue to confirm the effectiveness of herbs and of this approach to promoting and supporting a return to health.
My aim has always been to create a space that is professional but comfortable, ensuring patients feel at ease during the consultation. I hope you think I’ve succeeded!
Thanks for letting me show you around!