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Ruth Chapman, a medical herbalist, was our February Featured Therapist and regularly offers a free herbal medicine consultation from Only Natural.  This month we thought we would share one of her case studies with you so you might be able to get an idea of how herbal medicine can help different conditions.  Read on to read about the case study in Ruth’s own words.


Julia is a 43 year-old woman who came to see me following a diagnosis of fibromyalgia. Her doctor had prescribed antidepressants and advised painkillers for the condition. She was unwilling to take the antidepressants and found the painkillers unhelpful. She decided to take a natural approach.
Fibromyalgia is a complex condition involving the central nervous system. For details on the condition and natural approaches to its general management, see my blog on Fibromyalgia and Herbal Medicine.

Julia had experienced pain throughout her body, but mostly in her shoulders, neck and arms for the previous three years. She was finding herself increasingly exhausted and without any energy reserves. The problems seemed to start after a car accident.

Treatment Approach
The focus of my work with Julia was to help her immune system, provide support to the nervous system to aid its recovery and deal with adrenal exhaustion. She had also developed digestive problems with irregular bowel movements and occasional bad bouts of diarrhoea. The herbs prescribed changed over time but included the deep immune modulator Astragalus membranaceus. For Julia I chose Glycyrrhiza glabra (Liquorice) as an adrenal herb as this also works in the immune system. In Julia’s case hormonal imbalance played a part in her condition so Paeonia lactiflora was included. Paeonia and Glycyrrhiza work synergistically in hormonal balance. Hypericum perforatum (St. John’s Wort) is a great herb in fibromyalgia as it ‘reconditions’ the nervous system. Other herbs were also included in her mix.
I advised Julia to take a B complex mix for energy, Vitamin C for oxidative stress and Omega 3 supplements for cellular repair and mood.

In addition diet, sleep and a very gradual exercise programme fitted to Julia’s needs were part of her care. Whole foods, with adequate proteins and fats for energy were essential. Removing gluten from her diet was very successful in dealing with her digestive symptoms. I encouraged Julia to do meditation and breathing techniques to help with sleep and when she needed them, gave her night-time herbs.

Over the first few months of care Julia found her energy levels improving and her sleep was much better. It was then that she found her pain lessened and she was able to manage to live her life as a healthy and ‘well’ person who happens to have fibromyalgia.

Note: All identifying information has been removed or altered to protect the privacy of my patients.

Check out our events page to see when Ruth is next instore with us – perhaps you’d like to avail of a free herbal medicine consultation with her. Call us on 053 9123236 if you’d like to book.

Ruth Chapman photo