Being a naturopathic doctor, one aspect of my practice is herbal medicine. Herbal medicine can range from incorporating certain botanicals into their diet to creating custom tincture to provide holistic support for patients. Herbalists, such as myself, are able to identify and utilize the healing properties of certain plants and incorporate them in a medicinal way to support patients in a natural way. So what exactly does an herbalist create and how can they help with your current health conditions? Let’s dive into my herbal medicine practice and how I use botanicals to get my patients living healthier, together!
Herbal medicine can be traced back to over 5,000 years ago when herbs were concocted for pain relief and bandaging up wounds. While most of our conventional medicines are now in pill form, about 40% of them are originally derived from botanicals used all those thousands of years ago. While conventional medicine has its place in some situations, I prefer the natural approach. I love being able to take my strong clinical background and training in drug-herbs and drug-nutrient interactions to formulate herbals from both Eastern and Western traditions – truly bringing these traditions into the 21st century.
While a lot of naturopathic doctors use natural herbs and botanicals to help their patients, one thing that separates me from others is the fact that I can create my own herbal formulas, tinctures, or teas that are completely customized to my patients. Each person is different and needs different levels of care. Most of my patients truly appreciate that I am able to understand and work with them individually to make sure the formulas I create for them can safely be combined with medications they may already be taking. My approach has always been a holistic one – treating the body as a whole, not just the symptoms. I work with my patients to make sure that the formulas recommended support their whole system as well as their main concern. When, and if possible, and in conjunction with their conventional providers, herbal formulas can help to reduce the pharmaceutical or pill burden, along with naturopathic recommendations provided.
One set of concerns that bring many patients to me for natural methods is pregnancy and lactation. I completely understand not wanting to pass any harmful chemicals over to our children while we are nurturing them, both in and out of the womb. All my herbal recommendations keep these concerns in mind to make sure they, as well as their babies, are safe the entire time we are working together. While sometimes tinctures and herbal medicine may leave a bad taste in your mouth – check out my #BittersChallenge video – not all of them have to be. Tasty liquid formulas can be put together for even the pickiest of eaters. Another perk to herbal tinctures or teas is for adults who may have a difficult time swallowing pills. Just a few drops under your tongue or mixed into a warm cup of tea and you’re working towards better health!
For example, one botanical I love working with is a commonly known one – chamomile. It is actually one of the oldest and widely used/studied medical plants! Chamomile is a multimodal herb – instead of targeting one or two issues like a majority of conventional drugs do, it has many compounds that target different areas of our body simultaneously. In fact, it has AT LEAST 120 different compounds including terpenoids and flavonoids which have been found to be bioactive and benefit a large number of common health conditions in humans. Everything from inflammatory conditions to improving life quality of cancer patients, this is a truly amazing botanical that is natural and easy to incorporate into your diet. In traditional herbalism botanicals are combined together in formulas and we are finding that together these botanicals often have a synergistic effect, being that they work better together.
Interested in learning more about herbal medicine? Please contact me to find out how we can get your body moving and grooving in a more natural way that is unique to your needs and lifestyle!