Botanical Medicine

Botanical medicine is the art and science of using medicinal plants and extracts to promote health and prevent and treat acute and chronic diseases.

Botanical Medicine - Bend Naturopathic MedicineNaturopathic doctors are trained in evidence-based western botanical medicine, also called herbal medicine. Naturopathic doctors utilize botanical medicine to provide effective and safe treatments that support the body’s ability to heal.

A little bit on human history and botanical medicine…

Wayyyy back when… there were no pharmaceutical medications. We, as humans, lived amongst the plants and animals. We cultivated them and cared for them. We practiced harvesting only what we need and nothing in excess. In this, the Earth also cared for us. It gave us special plants that could be used for medicinal purposes.

Indigenous populations still rely on ancestral history allowing them to utilize local plants to treat common and sometimes severe traditions. In western civilization, scientists studied the plants and the specific chemicals within the plants which were most responsible for the medicinal attributes of the plants.

Eventually, these chemicals were extracted and potentized into pharmaceutical medications. Today, science can synthesize compounds similar (but not 100% exact) to the naturally occurring chemicals and produce medications in much larger quantities. Many conventional pharmaceutical drugs are derived from plants.

Whole-Plant Medicine

I believe botanical medicine can be a very effective and safe approach to promote general wellness and prevent or treat most ailments. I respect whole-plant medicine. Whole-plant medicine refers to the use of a full flower, leaf, root, seed etc. for medicinal purposes.

While a single chemical found in a medicinal plant is studied to be primarily responsible for the plant’s healing powers, whole-plant medicine appreciates the synergy of all chemicals within a plant to promote absorption, enhance medicinal qualities and reduce toxicity of the single chemical.

This is in contrast to extracting only one chemical and encapsulating it. Plants have many chemicals and they have evolved in such a way that naturally balances each chemical. The indigenous healers passed down their knowledge of medicinal plants, including their inherent toxicities.

Anything in excess can become toxic, including high concentrations of a single chemical derived from plant matter. Though there are many benefits to modern medicine, it should be proceeded with caution and observed cautiously by a medical professional.

What kinds of botanical medicine might I recommend?

I do not currently have the facilities to compound (mix together and make) my own botanicals. Instead, I will recommend products from trusted companies and local herbalists.

These products may include:

  • A prescription for an herbal tea she formulated specifically for your health picture
  • Botanical topicals like salves, ointments or creams
  • Encapsulated products from trusted, quality-controlled sources
  • Tinctures – herbal alcohol or glycerin extractions