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How Naturopathic Doctors Use Botanical Medicine

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For centuries, traditional healing practices have relied on botanical medicine, also known as herbal medicine, to promote good health and alleviate ailments. Safe and effective herbal treatments support natural recovery and help restore inner balance. Approximately 80% of the global population incorporates herbs into their primary healthcare routines.1Alostad AH, Steinke DT, Schafheutle EI. International comparison of five herbal medicine registration systems to inform regulation development: United Kingdom, Germany, United States of America, United Arab Emirates and Kingdom of Bahrain. Pharmaceut Med. 2018;32(1):39-49. https://doi.org/10.1007/s40290-018-0223-0

The rich origins of herbal medicine continue to influence contemporary use. Today’s botanical medicine combines evidence-based science with time-honored cultural and community experience. A documented history of patient tolerance, acceptance, and effectiveness further validates its benefits.2Wanjari AS, Wanjari DS. An overview on herbal medicine. RJPP. 2019;11(1). https://www.researchgate.net/publication/331806605_An_Overview_on_Herbal_Medicine

Many conventional pharmaceuticals are derived from plants. While some pharmaceuticals isolate specific compounds, herbal medicine embraces the complexity of nature, recognizing the potential for multiple plant elements to enhance the body’s innate ability to recuperate.

At its core, herbal medicine recognizes the interplay between the human body and natural world, harnessing the therapeutic properties of plants to support health and well-being. Botanical medicine also supports prevention and treats underlying causes of illness. This ancient wisdom resonates today, symbolizing the power of nature’s pharmacy to restore balance and heal.

Herbal Medicines Treat Specific Conditions

Although licensed naturopathic doctors are trained to prescribe pharmaceutical drugs in certain states, they prefer less toxic substances, like botanical medicines, to promote natural healing. Integrating herbal medicines into personalized treatment plans benefits patients while minimizing the risk of harm.

Botanical medicine effectively treats various conditions3Hassen G, Belete G, Carrera KG, et al. Clinical implications of herbal supplements in conventional medical practice: a US perspective. Cureus. 2022;14(7). https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC9375827,4Furhad S, Bokhari AA. Herbal supplements. StatPearls. 2023;July 19. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/books/NBK536964/?report=reader#_NBK536964_pubdet_:

  1. Digestive issues: Herbal remedies such as peppermint, ginger, and chamomile alleviate indigestion, bloating, and nausea.
  2. Insomnia and sleep disorders: Valerian root, passionflower, and lavender have calming effects, promote relaxation, and improve sleep quality and quantity.
  3. Anxiety and stress: Adaptogenic herbs such as ashwagandha, holy basil, and Rhodiola help the body adapt to stress and achieve balance.
  4. Pain management: Turmeric, ginger, and devil’s claw have anti-inflammatory properties, which may reduce muscle soreness and pain associated with arthritis.
  5. Respiratory conditions: Elderberry5Zakay-Rones Z, Thom E, Wollan T, Wadstein J. Randomized study of the efficacy and safety of oral elderberry extract in the treatment of influenza A and B virus infections. J Int Med Res. 2004;32(2):132-140. https://doi.org/10.1177/147323000403200205 (Sambucus), garlic,6Bayan L, Koulivand PH, Gorji A. Garlic: a review of potential therapeutic effects. Avicenna J Phytomed. 2014;4(1):1-14. echinacea, goldenseal, and thyme are used to treat coughs, colds, and respiratory infections.
  6. Menstrual discomfort: Chasteberry, black cohosh, and dong quai can help regulate menstrual cycles, alleviate cramps, and manage PMS symptoms.
  7. Immune support: Echinacea,7Kim HR, Oh SK, Lim W, Lee HK, Moon BI, Seoh JY. Immune enhancing effects of Echinacea purpurea root extract by reducing regulatory T cell number and function. Nat Prod Commun. 2014;9(4):511-514. elderberry, green tea, and astragalus strengthen the immune system and support the body’s natural defenses against infection.
  8. Cardiovascular support: Hawthorn and garlic support healthy blood pressure.

Naturopathic Training in Botanical Medicine

A cornerstone of naturopathic medicine, botanical medicine is one of the most effective therapies in the naturopathic toolbox. Licensed naturopathic doctors (NDs) treat illness while minimizing harmful side effects.

NDs complete rigorous herbal medicine training, with a special focus on the following areas:

  • Selection and prescribing
  • Side effects and interactions
  • Doses and formulations

Thorough education and training prepare NDs to recommend botanical medicine for a wide array of acute and chronic conditions. Combined with a central goal to treat the whole person—mind, body, and spirit—herbal remedies promote recovery and help patients fully optimize their health. Work with a licensed ND for optimal results and safe use.

Experience the benefits of personalized natural healthcare with a trusted, licensed naturopathic doctor in your area.
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Experience the benefits of personalized natural healthcare with a trusted, licensed naturopathic doctor in your area.
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Botanicals and Modern Science

Botanical medicine is informed by traditional knowledge and empirical evidence. More research is needed to better understand the inner workings of these remedies and expand science-backed herbal medicine practices. Ongoing scientific exploration will drive innovation in herbal medicine, leading to the discovery of new natural therapeutic agents and treatments.

Footnotes

This article is provided by

The Institute for Natural Medicine, a non-profit 501(c)(3) organization. INM’s mission is to transform health care in the United States by increasing public awareness of natural medicine and access to naturopathic doctors. Naturopathic medicine, with its person-centered principles and practices, has the potential to reverse the tide of chronic illness overwhelming healthcare systems and to empower people to achieve and maintain optimal lifelong health. INM strives to fulfil this mission through the following initiatives:

  • Education – Reveal the unique benefits and outcomes of evidence-based natural medicine
  • Access – Connect patients to licensed naturopathic doctors
  • Research – Expand quality research on this complex and comprehensive system of medicine

About The Author(s)

Author

Institute for Natural Medicine Staff

Our dedicated content team of professional staff writers represents decades of experience covering essential natural health topics in an accessible, evidence-based, and engaging way. Guided by a shared passion for holistic well-being, each and every one of our writers strives to empower our readers to take charge of their health.

Supported by a rigorous fact-checking and medical editing process from licensed naturopathic doctors that examines the latest in peer-reviewed research, our team brings their in-depth knowledge of natural health practices into every piece of content we produce. We strive to be the gold standard for evidence-based natural medicine, providing trustworthy information and inspiring narratives to help you live your best health, naturally.

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