Photo gallery

soon to be picturefull of roots, stems, leaves, flowers and fruit

Above: Herbactive Plant at Kingston Lacy
Below: Herbactive by the side of Bourne Stream in Bournemouth

Alan Hopking as depicted in a newspaper in 1986




Marshmallow Althea officinale

This is the official plant that used to be used by doctors for internal gastric ulcers and external leg ulcers, and found in the British Pharmacopoea. This is not the common mallow.


HerbPurple Loosestrife

Purple Loosestrife Lythrum salicaria

This is a perennial herb, native to Europe, but also found in central Asia, Australia, North Africa and very common in North America. It likes wet and marshy places. It has a creeping rhizome (underground stem). It can grow to a height of 120cm (4 feet).
Not used by herbalists these days, but in the past Purple Loosestrife was valued to relieve dysentery, diarrhoea, and stomach pains; the red flower suggested to herbalists its use for bleeding, hence it was used for internal haemorrhage, excessive menstrual flow, nosebleeds ; externally it was used as a compress for eczema. Amazingly, corroborating early herbal medicine uses, recent research has shown it has an antibiotic effect on the typhus bacillus and dysentery amoeba.
Go out onto the Marsh and gaze at the sheer beauty of this magnificent plant. Find it near the New Information Centre looking across the central Marsh.



Fleabane Inula dysenterica

Fleabane was used for dysentery as its name documents. This plant is dried and used powdered to kill fleas on animals. It has also been burned for its smoke in farm barns as an insecticide. It flowers from late July to September. Its fruit or seed is silky and crowned by a few short, unequal hairs of a dirty-white, with an outer ring of very short bristles or scales. It has a salty taste and astringent, so animals don't eat it.






Silverweed Potentilla anserina

Silverweed is abundant in England and throughout Europe, and can be found in New Zealand and China. The leaves are an identification method as their underside is a silver colour. The leaves are about 2-5 inches long, toothed. The flowers are buttercup-like and bloom from early summer till tate autumn. Large, with 5 petals of a brilliant yellow and the calyx is cleft into 10 divisions. It is a favourite food of cattle, horses, goats, pigs and geese. Sheep don't eat it though.
In herbal medicine, Silverweed is used for all kinds of bleedings, including for piles and leg ulcers as a lotion. It was used for cramps in the stomach due to wind or irritable bowel. It used to be applied to get rid of pimples and freckles, also to relieve sunburn.


Fleabane Water Mint

Water Mint Mentha aquatica

This plant is also known as Marsh Mint, it has a fresh characteristic smell of mint. It grows abundantly 1-2 feet high, in extensive masses in wet places, banks of rivers and marshes. It has whorls of lilac flowers.
In herbal medicine itt was used as a digestive aid and for loose bowels; for difficult menstruation; and for colds and flu and inflammatory complaints.



This is the outside entrance arch sculpture to the Church of Kilpeck, Herefordshire. 1140AD

This is the amazing image at the top of the right column of the arch of a man with foliage spewing from his mouth. A very early example of a green man (nature as the physician) - a sculpture in sandstone 1140AD Church of Kilpeck, Herefordshire, England.





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 ( 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 ( Department of Health, UK


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