Botanical medicine is a 5000-year-old system based on the use of plants for the treatment of acute and chronic health conditions. The practice of botanical medicine has a diverse cultural and geographical history.
Naturopathic doctors today benefit from the combination of these sources of experiential knowledge and what modern research tells us about the workings of these medicines.
Fundamental to naturopathic medical care, botanical medicine is central to the curriculum and to the clinical practice at BNMC.
There is a great variety in plant-based medicine. The part of the plant selected (root, bark, leaf, flower, etc.) and the type of preparation used (tea, decoction, tincture, salve, etc.) will determine its effect and application.
Additionally, herbs are most often combined in a way that is best suited for the individual being treated. The added effect of the cooperative herbs, or synergy, is a foundational benefit of botanical medicine.
This notion of synergy is believed to be responsible for much of the effectiveness as well as for the safety of botanical medicines. This is in opposition to pharmaceutical agents which are highly dosed, single, and often synthetic chemicals. The hundreds to thousands of constituents found between and within interacting herbal remedies instead work in harmony with our bodies, greatly minimizing the risk of adverse side effects while attaining a balanced approach to the treatment of ailments.
Botanical medicine practitioners are buoyed by recent research which is verifying these statements, confirming what years or experience have told us.
The safety, effectiveness, and also ready access to herbs help us to understand why this medicine continues to bet he most common therapy worldwide, with over 80% of Earth’s population using herbal medicines in some form or another.
One of the great benefits of botanical medicine is that its practice exists on a spectrum – from highly trained medical professionals to everyday gardeners. Anyone with a flower pot can practice basic botanical medicine and naturopathic doctors will often send patients home with instructions for creating their own remedies – from teas to baths.