Herbal medicine, botanical medicine, herbalism, and phytotherapy all refer to the use of plants for therapeutic benefit. Plant medicine as a whole can be seen in our agricultural practices with nutrition, as well as being recognized anthropologically through generations of cultural and historical knowledge. As long as humans have been on Earth, we have looked to plants for help in health and survival. In fact, many pharmaceutical drugs are derived or inspired by chemical compounds found in plants! (i.e: aspirin, opiates, digoxin, paclitaxel, etc)
As a holistic herbalist, I view herbs in terms of their actions and energetic effect on body tissues through pattern differentiation. Put simply, by determining if your body is expressing more hot/cold, dry/damp, or tense/relaxed symptoms, I can choose specific plants with similar or opposing effects to correct and restore balance in the organ systems. My practice is greatly influenced by the works of Matthew Wood, Sajah Popham, and former NUNM professor Dr. Paul Kalnins.
Plant medicines are seldom used for one action! I love choosing herbs that connect many things in your symptom picture. There are wide-reaching benefits of herbal medicines that have allowed them to be so helpful throughout centuries in modulating disease, reducing inflammation and helping us better process stressors in our environment. Modern medicine is slowly recognizing the physiological effects of botanical medicines by researching into the specific constituents and mechanisms to identify exactly how these plants have a therapeutic effect on our cells, tissues, and organs. I often refer to this research for the most up to date insights into their effectiveness for certain conditions. This information adds to the existing rich traditional wisdom to give us even more depth into the diverse ways nature helps us heal.
Herbal medicines are traditionally prepared as alcohol or glycerin extracts known as "tinctures" which I often combine to create personalized formulas. You can either take these formulas directly in the mouth or diluted in water. Herbal teas are another popular way to use plants medicinally, as well as, powdered, encapsulated and put into bottles for even more convenience.
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Disclaimer: The state of Texas does not currently license Naturopathic Doctors. Thus, Dr. Nicole Shusterman, ND maintains an active naturopathic medical license in the state of Kansas, and acts in Texas as a naturopathic wellness consultant, not as a physician. The recommendations Dr. Shusterman provides are not intended to diagnose, treat, or cure any disease.
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