frequently asked questions

Why don’t you list the herbs in each tonic on your website?
By listing the herbs it’s regarded as a claim to effectiveness, and as these herbal health tonics are unlicensed they haven't had scientific trials to prove they're effective. I am happy to tell you exactly what is in your medicine.

How long does it take for my order to be sent?
We aim to mail your order the same day you pay for it.

Why can't we pay for the orders online at your website?
The herbalist needs to contact you personally so you can make your order. But you can order our tonics, tinctures, powders, creams, ointments, lotions and cosmetics at our online store

How effective are your products?
Herbs are effective and have been used by people (and animals) for hundreds, thousands, of years. They are still used today because they are effective, otherwise they would not be used.

What is the dose for each product?
Generally the dose is 5ml 1-4 times daily in water on an empty stomach. But more information about the dose for you is given when we discuss your requirements, or those of your children.

How long have you been a medical herbalist?
I qualified in 1981 and have been in continuous practice.

Where did you train to be a medical herbalist?
At the School of Herbal Medicine in Great Britain. Qualified in 1981 with the National Institute of Medical Herbalists, UK, the oldest professional association of herbal practitioners in the world. Also at the School of Chinese Herbal Medicine, in London.qualified 1998.

What does Godshaer mean?
Godshaer was the name of my clinic in Christchurch. Godshaer is a native English plant also called Hart's Tongue. There's more about it in my website. There is a connection in the name with the Green Man and the Earth Goddess, along with other associations. Read up about Godshaer NB In 2011 I moved the clinic to New Milton and the clinic and the business name was changed to HERBACTIVE.

I see you use a lot of Chinese herbs, why?
Probably 75% of the herbs in my dispensary are European in origin. I am a Western-trained medical herbal practitioner, but I also trained as a post-graduate in the Chinese School of Herbal Medicine, London, so I have incorporated the Chinese range of herbs for treatment alongside Western herbs. I have a high regard for Chinese medicinal herbs and the standards and research conducted into each herb. I am a also a qualified Chinese Herbal Practitioner with the RCHM, London, UK and use this alongside the Western herbal treatment methods. I also use herbs from Africa, India, USA, Canada and South America. Read about my protest against my Chinese herbal membership because endangered species are still being used by Chinese herbalists both in China and in Britain, eg rhino horn, tiger bones, sea horses. Read more about my protest.

Do you use any animal products in your treatment?
No, never. There are far better and more effective herbs available as an alternative. In the Chinese system of herbal medicine there are many animal parts, insects, and such like used with little or no scientific ratification. I am strongly against all use of non-plants in Chinese herbal medicine. The continued use of tiger bones, rhino horn and other endangered animals I regard as an exploitation of gullible patients for financial gain, and I strongly support the campaign to legislate for these medicinally valueless products to become illegal both in China and throughout the world.

What is the difference between herbal medicine and homeopathy?
Homeopathy began just 100 or so years ago with a formula which says "like cures like". So using a minute amount of a herb or poison or virus or parasite is said to provoke the body to respond and heal. It has taken this theory beyond reason, called dilutions. By diluting a herbal tincture (the mother tincture) by a thousand times, even a million times, gives the product power over emotions, mental or even so-called spiritual levels of the individual to heal these unknown subtle fractures which are regarded as the cause of the illness. Hence, since it cannot be proven its claims are false, and since it has not a molecule left in the dilution, it is totally safe to take because it is "energized" water.
Herbal Medicine is a physical extract of chemicals from the plant (only plants are used in Herbal Medicine [although Chinese Herbalists use animals, insects, fish, minerals, etc as part of their pharmacy]). These chemicals are unique to each plant. Their action was determined over thousands of years of trial and error so that their uses are now known. Modern scientific analysis confirms these actions and sometimes discovers other important uses, eg recently against mycoplasma, and melatonin which was thought impossible. Plant medicines therefore work from the physical symptom or cause and also affect emotions, stress, and the mind, eg depression, insomnia, dementia, etc.

Have you got a question you want to ask Alan Hopking Herbalist? Email him now






Our herbal tonic medicines are carefully prepared on a personal and individual basis for your healing by medical herbalist Alan Hopking MA MNIMH FINEH.

Only whole herbs are used in our herbal medicines. Nothing else is added. If you have symptoms which you consider might be helped with herbal medicine please contact herbal practitioner Alan Hopking for a friendly confidential professional consultation. See terms and fees.

Once you have received your herbal prescription you can contact Alan Hopking at any time for more free advice (preferably by email). When you have completed your bottle of herbal medicine and if you want a repeat prescription you are requested to phone or email so that your progress can be assessed and adjustments made if necessary so that there is no break in your treatment. To order or re-order, click here.

MRCHM - see Alan Hopking's statement about renouncing his association with membership of this organisation

HERBACTIVE Centre of Herbal Medicine, England, UK. Freephone 0800 0834436

General advice to consumers on the use of herbal remedies from the Medicines Healthcare products Regulatory Agency

From the website of the Medicines Healthcare products Regulatory Agency (www.mhra.gov.uk) Department of Health, UK

• Remember that herbal remedies are medicines. As with any other medicine they are likely to have an effect on the body and should be used with care. • Herbal remedies may sometimes interact with other medicines. This makes it particularly important to tell your doctor or pharmacist if you are taking a herbal remedy with other medicines such as prescribed medicines (those provided through your doctor or dentist). • Treat with caution any suggestion that a herbal remedy is '100% safe' or is 'safe because it is natural'. Many plants, trees, fungi and algae can be poisonous to humans. It is worth remembering that many pharmaceuticals have been developed or derived from these sources because of the powerful compounds they contain. Any medicine, including herbal remedies, which have an effect on the body should be used with care. • Treat with caution any herbalist or other person who supplies herbal remedies if they are unwilling or unable to provide written information, in English, listing the ingredients of the herbal remedy they are providing. • If you are due to have a surgical operation you should always remember to tell your doctor about any herbal remedy that you are taking. • Anyone who has previously experienced any liver complaint, or any other serious health complaint is advised not to take any herbal remedy without speaking to their doctor first.


Pregnant/Breast-feeding mothers

Few conventional medicines have been established as safe to take during pregnancy and it is generally recognised that no medicine should be taken unless the benefit to the mother outweighs any possible risk to the foetus. This rule should also be applied to herbal medicinal products. However, herbal products are often promoted to the public as being “natural” and completely “safe” alternatives to conventional medicines. Some herbal ingredients that specifically should be avoided or used with caution during pregnancy. As with conventional medicines, no herbal products should be taken during pregnancy unless the benefit outweighs the potential risk.

Volatile Oils

Many herbs are traditionally reputed to be abortifacient and for some this reputation can be attributed to their volatile oil component.(6) A number of volatile oils are irritant to the genito-urinary tract if ingested and may induce uterine contractions. Herbs that contain irritant volatile oils include ground ivy, juniper, parsley, pennyroyal, sage, tansy and yarrow. Some of these oils contain the terpenoid constituent, thujone, which is known to be abortifacient. Pennyroyal oil also contains the hepatotoxic terpenoid constituent, pulegone. A case of liver failure in a woman who ingested pennyroyal oil as an abortifacient has been documented.


A stimulant or spasmolytic action on uterine muscle has been documented for some herbal ingredients including blue cohosh, burdock, fenugreek, golden seal, hawthorn, jamaica dogwood, motherwort, nettle, raspberry, and vervain. Herbal Teas Increased awareness of the harmful effects associated with excessive tea and coffee consumption has prompted many individuals to switch to herbal teas. Whilst some herbal teas may offer pleasant alternatives to tea and coffee, some contain pharmacologically active herbal ingredients, which may have unpredictable effects depending on the quantity of tea consumed and strength of the brew. Some herbal teas contain laxative herbal ingredients such as senna, frangula, and cascara. In general stimulant laxative preparations are not recommended during pregnancy and the use of unstandardised laxative preparations is particularly unsuitable. A case of hepatotoxicity in a newborn baby has been documented in which the mother consumed a herbal tea during pregnancy as an expectorant. Following analysis the herbal tea was reported to contain pyrrolizidine alkaloids which are known to be hepatotoxic.

Breast-feeding mothers

A drug substance taken by a breast-feeding mother presents a hazard if it is transferred to the breast milk in pharmacologically or toxicologically significant amounts. Limited information is available regarding the safety of conventional medicines taken during breast-feeding. Much less information exists for herbal ingredients, and generally the use of herbal remedies is not recommended during lactation.

Paediatric Use

Herbal remedies have traditionally been used to treat both adults and children. Herbal remedies may offer a milder alternative to some conventional medicines, although the suitability of a herbal remedy needs to be considered with respect to quality, safety and efficacy. Herbal remedies should be used with caution in children and medical advice should be sought if in doubt. Chamomile is a popular remedy used to treat teething pains in babies. However, chamomile is known to contain allergenic sesquiterpene lactones and should therefore be used with caution. The administration of herbal teas to children needs to be considered carefully and professional advice may be needed.

Perioperative use

The need for patients to discontinue herbal medicinal products prior to surgery has recently been proposed. The authors considered eight commonly used herbal medicinal products (echinacea, ephedra, garlic, ginkgo, ginseng, kava, St John’s Wort, valerian). On the evidence available they concluded that the potential existed for direct pharmacological effects, pharmacodynamic interactions and pharmacokinetic interactions. The need for physicians to have a clear understanding of the herbal medicinal products being used by patients and to take a detailed history was highlighted. The American Society of Anaesthesiologists (ASA) has advised patients to tell their doctor if they are taking herbal products before surgery and has reported that a number of anaesthesiologists have reported significant changes in heart rate or blood pressure in some patients who have been taking herbal medicinal products including St John’s Wort, ginkgo and ginseng. MCA is currently investigating a serious adverse reaction associated with the use of ginkgo prior to surgery. In this case, the patient who was undergoing hip replacement experienced uncontrolled bleeding thought to be related to the use of ginkgo.

From the website of the Medicines Healthcare products Regulatory Agency (www.mhra.gov.uk) Department of Health, UK


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