Botanical Medicine

Plants have been used as medicine for thousands of years. Botanical medicine (also known as herbal medicine or herbalism), when used properly, is a safe and effective approach to correcting imbalances and treating disease. Many modern pharmaceuticals are derived from plant constituents; however, increasing evidence shows that whole-plant or crude extractions may provide some of the same health benefits with fewer side effects and risk of toxicity. Herbs can be prepared and administered in several forms, including:

  • Tinctures – alcohol or glycerin extractions of herbs
  • Teas – dried herbs to be infused in hot water
  • Decoctions – boiled preparations of herbs. Decoctions are used for plants that require more time and heat for extraction of a medicinal dose such as mushrooms, roots, seeds and bark
  • Capsules – some herbal preparations may be powdered, dried and encapsulated
  • Powders – ground herbs that are not encapsulated
  • Tablets or Pearls – pressed herbs that are taken orally
  • Salves – thick ointments used topically to treat conditions such as rashes, burns and cuts to decrease healing time and scarring

There are several other ways in which herbal medicines may be administered, however the above preparations are some of the most commonly prescribed. Naturopathic doctors and herbalists are trained to select safe and effective combinations of herbs that come from high quality sources.