What is Botanical Medicine?
Botanical or plant medicine is a system of therapy, which exclusively uses plants as healing agents. Plants can include herbs, essential oils and other plant materials.
Botanical medicine is the oldest form of medicine on earth and is used as the primary medicine by over 75% of the world's population. The World health organization encourages botanical medicine because it is cheap and effective.
Botanical medicine has been meeting people's needs for thousands of years. In Germany and many parts of Europe, Botanical medicine is recognized as an important component in the total health of a person. More and more Americans are increasing their use of herbs as natural complements to drugs and drugstores medicines.
There is also an enormous scientific information and research in the field of Botanical medicine especially in the aspects of safety and indications. For example, the German Commission E is the authority body in the German Health Office, which provide authoritative information on the use of herbs.
Botanical medicine is the forerunner of modern drug medicine. Many drugs were invented based on the compounds of plants. Examples are Taxol (a chemotherapy drug) from the pacific yew and the aspirin from the Willow bark.
However Botanical medicine are not drugs. Botanical medicine uses the whole plant and not isolated active principle. It is based on the concept that Mother Nature knows best and medicine should be gentle with minimum side effects.
Why use Botanical medicine?
'Herbal preparations serves very often to regulate and stimulate the organism to promote self healing tendencies'
Dr Hildebert Wagner, University of Munich.
Botanical medicine is holistic. It is based on the philosophy that we have an innate ability to heal ourselves, and medicines are used to enhance this restorative mechanism rather than replace it. Plant medicine is used within the holistic framework, treating the whole person rather than the disease or one part of the body.
Botanical medicine empowers you to take a proactive role in your own healing, as it requires on your part to modify diet and other lifestyle modifications, so as to gain maximum benefit from the therapy.
Botanical medicine is about preventive health. Certain herbs can be taken for long term health, beauty and resistance to stress.
Botanical Medicine promotes respect for life.' You can sip herbal tea without worrying that a rat or guinea pig had to die to enable you to do so' mentioned well known English herbalist David Hoffmann.
Botanical Medicine matches the biological complexity of humans. The biological complexity of humans is ideally matched with remedies of biological complexity - plants and herbs.
Botanical medicine acts bidirectionally rather than uni-directionally (e.g. synthetic drugs). Plant remedies serve to normalize body functions rather than attempting to kill viruses or bacteria directly. As a result, botanical medicine has minimum side effects.
Botanical medicine is ecology driven rather than economics. It teaches that we are all interconnected and when the earth is healthy, we are healthy.
What should I expect?
During consultation, the condition is examined along with an assessment of your diet pattern, lifestyle, emotional factors, body types, medical history and any medical diagnosis. The phytotherapist will find out what is the underlying cause in holistic terms. The phytotherapist will attempt to remove barriers to health and empower the client to restore his own healing capability.
According to the phytotherapist's assessment of the client, a herbal or essential oil formulation will be created. The formulation may contains 2 to 4 herbs / essential oils and usually given in liquid form. Sometimes one herb or oil is enough to address the condition.
The prescription is reviewed and adjusted at follow up consultations.
Note: Please do not attempt to use herbs without proper consultation with your phytotherapist or health provider. A traditional naturopath or herbalist does not diagnose disease, though he may perform evaluations to determine the root cause of problems. The primary clinical management of the condition remains with your medical doctor.
What can Botanical medicine treat?
Botanical medicine is particularly suitable for chronic disorders and is an excellent complementary therapy for illness recovery and management of long term health problems. Examples of conditions that may be treated by botanical medicine and recommendations by German Commission E are:
Chronic insomnia, nervous excitement.
Dermatitis and other skin ailments
Nervous intestinal problems
Mild form of cardiac arrhythmia
Diminished efficiency of the heart
Support and complementary treatment for cancer
Counter effects of stress
Flu, cold and sinusitis
Weak digestion e.t.a.
Menopause and PMT.
How long does treatment takes?
Treatment of chronic health problems may take several months but some improvement will be experienced within 4 - 6 weeks. Take note that the effectiveness of the treatment also depends on the client's effort to modify his or her diet and lifestyle factors.
For acute problems, such as cold and flu, response to treatment can be quite good.