Plant Medicine

The Benefits of Plant Medicine


Plant medicine takes a holistic approach, aiming to treat the underlying cause of disease rather than just the symptoms. Medical herbalists prescribe plant medicine to treat each individual according to their unique needs, and prescriptions are adjusted over time according to outcomes. They can prescribe plant medicine alongside other medications, with many patients referred to medical herbalists by their GPs for complementary care.

The UK lags behind other countries in using plant medicine as an effective and complementary form of modern medicine. Many drugs are derived from plant chemicals, humans have used plants as effective medicine throughout evolution, and scientific research now supports the efficacy of many plant medicines. Of those studied, some have been shown to be as effective as the drug equivalent, but with few, if any side effects, such as addiction. Always consult your healthcare practitioner before making changes to prescribed medications.

How to Take Plant Medicine

Before taking any plant medicine always read the product caution label or consult a registered medical herbalist if you are pregnant, have a medical condition, allergy or are taking any medication.

  • You can attend a course to learn how to grow and make your own plant medicine. It is important to identify, grow, harvest, prepare, store and take you plant medicine correctly.
  • You can buy plant medicine off the shelf, if you source the product from a reputable supplier. In today’s vast array of herbal products, this task can be challenging as not all products are regulated and may be of varying quality and even contain ingredients not noted on the packet. The British Herbal Medicine Association (BHMA) is a regulatory body promoting the use of plant medicine products manufactured to pharmaceutical standards to ensure consistently high quality and effectiveness for the consumer. BHMA products are approved by the government agency the MHRA (Medicines and Healthcare products Regulatory Agency) and these products have a THR (Traditional Herbal Registration) logo on the packet.
  • An efficacious way to take plant medicine is through consultation with a registered medical herbalist who prescribe medicine suitable to your individual condition over time. Registered medical herbalists strive to offer qualified over-the-counter suggestions and personalised plant medicine, avoiding unnecessary expenses on inappropriate remedies.

Registered Medical Herbalists

Dilston Physic Garden is dedicated to providing easily accessible information about plant medicine that is firmly rooted in science in order to help bridge the gap that has grown between plant medicine and general medicine. Scroll down for registered medical herbalists affiliated with Dilston Physic Garden.

In the UK, medical herbalists can train with 3 main associations with members holding a BSc degree or equivalent. NIMH members are trained in the same diagnostic skills as GPs, and other associations encompass alternative diagnostic and treatment approaches:

  • In the UK the National Institute of Medical Herbalists (NIMH), established in 1864, is a leading professional body for medical herbalists who use plants with traditional uses validated by modern scientific research and clinical trials, and study both orthodox and plant medicine. You can find a NIMH registered herbalist near you by searching their website. 
  • The European Herbal and Traditional Practitioners Association (EHTPA) established in 1993, is the main professional practitioner association in the UK affiliated with Irish and Danish herbal associations. It represents professional associations of herbal/traditional medicine practitioners offering western herbal medicine, Chinese herbal medicine, ayurveda and traditional Tibetan medicine, and is dedicated to enhancing the legal basis of practice across EU Members States and promoting best practice.
  • The Association of Master Herbalists (AMH), established in 1995, uses an alternative naturopathic approach with a strong affinity to the North American eclectic school. Practitioner members are trained in modern plant medicine as well as assisting in corrective nutrition and appropriate exercise. Many members use alternative assessments such as the art of iridology and pulse diagnosisYou can find a AMH registered herbalist near you by searching their website. 
  • The Unified Register of Herbal Practitioners (URHP) is an international register formed in 1997, embracing members trained in various herbal traditions across the world, including western herbal medicine, ayurveda, traditional Chinese medicine, Tibetan medicine, and unani tib or Perso-Arabic traditional medicine. Members utilise the modern, scientific understanding of plant medicine, as well as drawing on the traditional herbal usage, nutrition, acupuncture and various alternative modalities including energetics, naturopathy, reflexology and reiki.

Dr Nicolette Perry (PhD), pharmacognosist at Dilston Physic Garden, emphasises the importance of seeking qualified professional advice and reputable medicine. She states, “Visitors often inquire about taking a particular medicinal plant for common conditions like irritable bowel, sleep problems and anxiety, and some may have unsuccessfully tried over-the-counter herbal products. At the physic garden we are honoured to have affiliated with us medical herbalists and pharmacists here in the North East who can provide effective safety-assured prescriptions and information, and who also provide informative and inspiring courses open to the public. Ensuring that you use a plant medicine that is effective and adheres to a standard is foremost. The Dilston Dispensary of Plant Medicine, a pioneering initiative in the North East, is a collaborative effort with Dilston Physic Garden, reflecting years of dedicated work by medical herbalists including Davina Hopkinson.” 

Dilston Dispensary of Herbal Medicine

You can have easy access to qualified information at the Dilston Dispensary of Herbal Medicine with medical herbalist Davina Hopkinson on Wednesdays 12.30-2.30 pm. Just contact Davina in advance to make an appointment.

The dispensary is also available via phone or video call (normal consultation rates apply). Davina Hopkinson is a member of the National Institute of Medical Herbalists (NIMH) and gained her degree in herbal medicine at Lincoln University. 

Consultation, Medicine & Prices: £25 for thirty minutes. £45 for forty-five to sixty minutes. Plant medicine is purchased separately at approximately £8.50 per 100ml /weeks prescription.

About Davina

Davina has over 20 years experience in prescribing effective plant medicines to patients. Davina says, “One of my favourite plant medicines is verbena. Use of this herb has been recorded consistently since Egyptian times and it used to be revered as something of a cure all. These days one of its main uses is a relaxing nerve tonic. The English herbalist Culpepper described it as being useful for people who are “frantic” and I think this is an apt description, who these days is not frazzled and stressed out!”

Davina works from home and visits patients in their own homes around the North East and works with the physic garden in organising educational school visits for children, as well as running the NIMH Junior Medical Herbalist Club and her popular Children’s Potion Clubs.

Registered Herbalists in the North East

Davina Hopkinson,

Medical Herbalist BSc MNIMH. 


Jill Schnabel, 

Medical Herbalist BSc(hons) PhD MNIMH.


Milana Kopkowska,

Pharmacist, trained in dispensing herbal medicine.


Ross Menzies,

Medical Herbalist BSc(hons) psychology DBTH MAMH. 


Sarah Hughes, 

Medical Herbalist, Nutritional Therapist BSc Hons, NT Dip, MA, CNHC, mNIMH, mBANT. 


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