Frequently Asked Questions

1. Can You Help Me?

I get a lot of questions asking if I can help with one condition or another. The best thing to do is to book in for a consultation, no matter what your health concerns are. A good question to ask yourself first would be, are you willing to make the necessary changes in your life to improve your health? If the answer is yes, then why not book in with me today?

To book an appointment click here.

2. How Do I Find the Clinic?

Please visit the clinic page for instructions on how to find the clinic by car, bus, train and by foot.

The clinic is located at 1 Cranmore Park, Belfast, BT9 6JF

3. Do You Sell Herbs to the Public?

No! Belfast Herbalist does not offer a retail service. I can only dispense herbal remedies and/or supplements following a face to face consultation. That’s the law! I am also unable to supply a new formula without a follow up consultation each time. All herbal medicines are dispensed in line with special provisions under the Human Medicines Act (UK) 2012. Consultations are strictly by appointment only.

4. Can I Collect Herbs From You?

No! Please see the previous post. All herbal remedies can only be dispensed following a face to face consultation under the Human Medicines Act. It is not possible for you, or someone else, to pick up herbs from the clinic without an approriate consultation.

5. Can I Ask for Information About A Health Matter?

Yes! If you are a patient of mine in regular attendance then you can simply email your questions, which are answered on a first-come-first-served basis. Information about alternative health solutions abound, but much of it is half-baked or simply unfounded. It can be difficult to get answers given so much contradiction and scaremongering from vested interests, however I do not give out information unless I have had a face to face consultation which allows me to note medications you may be taking, previous medical history, allergies and other sensitivities which need to be taken into account before any remedies or protocols can be suggested.

6. Do You Take Cards?

No! At the moment I do not have card facilities. Payment is by cheque or by cash only. It is also possible to pay online in advance of your appointment. There is a PayPal facility for this on the clinic page. Please note there is a small surcharge for this service.

7. Do You Do Home Visits?

Sorry, but I am unavailable for home or hospital visits without exception. It takes too much time to travel, and this eats into clinic hours which can often be limited due to waiting lists.

8. Can You Come and Talk to Our Group?

Yes, I am sometimes available for talks and lectures to corporates, schools, groups, professional associations and voluntary organisations. This needs to be booked well in advance. For more information about availability and fees please contact info@belfastherbalist.co.uk.

9. What Health Conditions Do You Treat?

I treat people not conditions. I make no medical claims. This is an important point to make. If you have been diagnosed by a GP or specialist please mention it. Any person with a serious medical condition should consult with a doctor before booking an appointment. Please visit this site for information about notifiable diseases. I offer an alternative perspective on any health condition.

10. What’s Involved In a Consultation?

At our first consultation we will spend 60-90mins going over the issues you wish to discuss. I use a comprehensive intake form which includes questions about your previous medical history; the symptoms you are experiencing; current medications you are taking; and an in-depth look at your diet and lifestyle. This may include physical examination, such as taking blood pressure, if appropriate. All information is strictly confidential and in line with data protection principles.

11. What Happens After the Consultation?

After the consultation I will make suggestions, which I believe will be of benefit for you, based on clinical experience, traditional use or modern scientific research. This will usually involve advice on your diet and lifestyle. I may ask you to keep a food diary. I may also recommend herbal remedies, which are manufactured on site, or supplements if required. Patients will get referral access to an online dispensary service for supplements with discount. At the first consultation I may ask you to recod a week’s food diary to give me an idea of what you are eating. When you send in your food diary, a report will be sent out summarising my recommendations. This may take several weeks.

I stress that unless you are prepared to potentially make changes, such as giving up smoking, adjusting your diet or increasing exercise for example, then you might reconsider coming in.

12. What About Follow-Up Appointments?

Follow-up appointments are scheduled approximately every 3-4 weeks from the initial consultation. At each session progress is reviewed, and protocol is adjusted accordingly if required.

13. How Many Appointments Will I Need?

This will depend on many variables such as compliance to advice I have given and appropriate use of herbal medicines. It also depends on the particular issues you may have, whether you are on medication, your age, gender, constitution and your own individual idiosyncrasies. Every one of us is unique and respond in different ways, however I may give an estimate based on previous clinical experience. Some conditions have taken many years to develop. Please note conditions which have been ongoing for some time can take much longer to work with. To book an appointment click here.

14. What Is Your Availability Like?

Waiting periods of up to 8 weeks can develop at certain times of year. If this is the case information and updates on waiting times will be posted on the Belfast Herbalist Blog. You can subscribe to the blog by entering your email. You will receive updates and articles from tiem to time. You can have your name added to a waiting list, and you can be notified if a cancellation occurs and an appointment becomes available. I am currently not available for appointments at weekends or Wednesdays and Thursdays.

15. Do You Offer Lab Testing?

Yes! I work with independent laboratories who carry out functional diagnostic tests such as DNA profiling, IgG-mediated food intolerances, heavy metal toxicity, parasitology, hormone profiles and blood chemistry using blood, urine, saliva and stool samples. Please note in some cases a blood-draw will be required, and the nurse needs to be booked in advance for this. Other than blood tests, test kits to be used at home are provided. Please note refunds are not possible on lab tests. Turnaround depends on the lab and is outside my control. I offer an interest-free installment scheme for laboratory testing charges.

16. What If I Need To Cancel My Appointment?

Please give a minimum of 24 hours to cancel an appointment otherwise you will incur a charge. The charge will be the appropriate appointment fee. Failure to turn up without prior warning results in both a loss of income and a lost opportunity for someone else who may be waiting to book an appointment. While exceptional circumstances do occur, please appreciate the situation. If I need to cancel or change an appointment due notice will be given. I normally send a reminder the day before your appointment – if you do not receive a reminder then you are not booked in – please get in touch.

17. Do Herbal Medicines Work, and Are They Safe?

Please read the section on herbal medicine here for a concise historical overview. Herbal medicines have been around for thousand of years; are found in every culture and are the world’s oldest medicine. If they didn’t work people would have stopped using them a long time ago. The World Health Orgnisation estimates that 80% of the world’s population still use herbs as their primary source of medicine! Many important pharmaceutical drugs are also actually derived from plants, and research continues to look at possible applications. For more information on the effectiveness of herbs see here. While positive clinical trials and systematic reviews exist for a growing number of herbs, other research provides information on plant chemistry from which potential applications can be extrapolated.

Evidence-based medicine (EBM) is a term used in biomedicine to suggest that any medicine needs to be proven to work effectively and safely by undergoing clinical trials, however it is the author’s opinion that many trials are deeply flawed or poorly designed to evaluate herbal medicines and may be unreliable. It is also worth noting in passing that many pharmaceutical drugs and surgerical procedures do not have clinical trials behind them! Thusands of years of tradition tell us how to use herbs wisely.

Please note herbs can take time to work. Although adverse reactions can occasionally occur, herbal remedies are very safe when used appropriately and in accordance with the recommendations of a qualified herbalist. This is why the consultation process is necessarily in-depth so that everyone can be screened for potential issues such as allergy, pregnancy and breastfeeding, or concomitant use with medications. Professional herbalists have an excellent safety record accordingly!

18. Are There Any Risks of Herb/Drug Interactions?

Herb/drug interactions can occur, but so can drug/drug interactions and even food/drug interactions. There is a lot of scaremongering in this area usually from people, including doctors and surgeons, who have not trained in the use of herbal medicines or nutrition and who are simply erring on the side of caution as a result. While there are many theoretical risks of interaction, the vast majority have not been borne out in clinical studies, or been flagged during centuries of use. I keep up to date with the latest developments in research and do not use any remedies which may cause risk. First, do no harm!

19. Are You A Member of a Professional Association?

Yes, I am a member in good standing of both the Irish Register of Herbalists and the General Naturopathic Council. I am also a member of the American Botanical Council and the American Herbalists Guild. This means I have had to meet strict training criteria, and in order to maintain professional membership I am engaged in continuous practitioner development (CPD). The public should only consult with practitioners who are members of professional associations and who are both insured and accountable!

20. How Much Does An Appointment Cost?

First Consultation:
£55 (@ 60mins)

Follow-Up Consultation:
£35 (@ 30mins)

  • Consultation fees do not include fees for herbal remedies or supplements.
  • Herbal tinctures are charged at £8 for 100ml, £15 for 200ml, £20 for 300ml and £60 for 1000ml.
  • Supplements vary but all patients will get a 10% discount and referral access to an online dispensary.
  • Concessions are available for pensioners, students, those on benefits or with low income. Please ask.
  • Payment can be made by cash or cheque only – currently we do not have facilities for credit/debit cards.
  • Please give a minimum of 24 hours notice of appointment cancellation or you will be charged accordingly.
  • To book an appointment click here.
  • Herbs