Professional and understated – The Herbal Clinic is tucked away on a quiet residential street in Swansea.
However, inside is a hive of activity. Herbal preparations simmer on the stoves, amber bottles line the shelves and patients keep the phone lines and consulting room occupied, with anything from allergies and asthma, to headaches and high blood pressure.
But let’s go back to where it all began.
Ifanca Hélène James was raised using herbal medicines; in the 1970s, after university, she qualified as a yoga teacher and decided to open her own health food and herb shop in Maesteg. Soon she was receiving so many health advice queries about which herbs and foods were suitable for different ailments, she had to do something about it. She realised she would need to take her studies further, so qualified to become a medical herbalist, opening a second clinic in Swansea.
The Herbal Clinic soon grew into a well-respected practice; following a TV studio documentary called ‘Health Choice’ in 1982, queues to see Ms James backed out onto Craddock Street, blocking the pavement. It was time for larger premises. The Herbal Clinic then moved to its current address at King Edward Road.
Ifanca James had the utmost confidence in her medicines and a determination to assist her patients – once she had taken a case, she would not rest until it was resolved. In practise she realised that there may be one or many factors contributing to the cause of an illness and that any disease could be resolved once the reason for its emergence was discovered.
This understanding became firmly ingrained into the clinic’s ethos. Today, as then, in- depth consultation is integral to treatment, to understand the physical, mental and emotional causes of illness.
Sadly, Ifanca was in a fatal road accident in Greece in 2010. Her tragic and untimely death shocked the many who knew and loved such an immensely energised and creative person. However, her legacy lives on in her son Meilyr James, who worked and studied alongside her for 15 years, completing an Honours Degree in Herbal Medicine, and diplomas in Iridology and Acupuncture, before finally taking over The Herbal Clinic. Having experienced a lifetime of the powerful effects of natural medicines, he continues, with his mother’s determination.
The Herbal Clinic Today
Today the clinic also offers acupuncture alongside herbal medicines. Acupuncture works as a balanced ‘triad of treatment’ in conjunction with herbal medicine and consultation, complementing the biochemical approach of herbs.
Some things however, remain unchanged; a team of dedicated staff, a commitment to patient care and the knowledge that good health (not just the absence of disease) is within reach.
To extract the medicinal properties from herbs they are mixed with a liquid which dissolves the necessary constituents within them. The Herbal Clinic is one of only a few herbal practices to use non-alcohol based vegetable glycerin for this purpose.
Glycerin extracts and preserves delicate enzymes, vitamins and ‘co-factors’ which remain biologically viable – in a state the body can recognise and utilise with ease. Another benefit is that glycerin tastes sweet, so too do some of the medicines though not all! The bitter taste of some medicines has a function as it stimulates bile to flow, crucial for absorption of nutrients and elimination in the digestive system.
What is Iridology?
Every person’s iris is as unique as a fingerprint. Iridology is the practise of examining the eye in order to determine the state of health within the body. The iris can be described as a miniature screen reflecting the condition of the inherent characteristics of tissue in an organ, its change and developments – long before they have manifested themselves into disease symptoms.
Iridology does not give names to diseases. It does not diagnose ‘asthma’ or arthritis’ in the eyes, but inflammation and the extent to which the tissue or organ has been affected.
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Published in ‘the Bay’ Magazine