Natural Medicine

Natural Medicine

Naturopathic treatments generally vary from allopathic medicine in that we use lesser force to stimulate the body’s ability to overcome disease and pathology. Treatments are directed toward the underlying cause of a condition instead of just trying to get rid of the symptoms. One example is using pharmaceutical drugs to get rid of the symptoms of heartburn instead of strengthening the digestive system or identifying and eliminating an offending food. Without addressing the underlying cause, symptoms will continue to worsen and more drugs will be needed to counter the symptoms.

An article from the Seattle Times reported that, “the number of deaths and serious injuries associated with prescription drug use rose to record levels in the first quarter of 2008 with 4,825 deaths and nearly 21,000 injuries.” Herbal medicine is a gentle but effective way to stimulate the body’s natural healing ability. Using plants as a remedy goes as far back as recorded history (if not farther) and today, as awareness and information about plant medicine grows, there is a thriving industry producing and selling these products. Not all products are created equal, however, and consumers must use caution when choosing which brands to buy. The beneficial properties of plants can be increased by dose or volume but also by quality. For example, many plants only have a medicinal effect if they are harvested at a certain time of the year so products that include those same plants harvested year round will be of inferior quality. Also, many companies increase the potency of their product by only including the “active ingredient” while excluding much of the rest of the plant. Herbalists know, though, that by using the whole plant there is an added synergistic effect which may ally the side effects of one part taken in high doses such as providing minerals that would otherwise be depleted by using the active ingredient alone.

Naturopaths are trained to assess the value of products and I maintain a close relationship with my herbal product vendors to ensure the highest quality and integrity of manufacturing.

Working with plants is not just about physical healing. Achieving balance and peace is just as important a goal as physical health. Consider all the various ways in which we form relationships with plants and how they contribute to peace of body, mind, and spirit: satisfying hours spent working in the garden, a flowering cherry tree in Spring, the lavender fields in Squim, vegetables fresh from the garden to the table, memories of flowers at your wedding or at the funeral of a loved one, the scent of stepping off the plane in Hawaii.

One of my favorite books, Plant Spirit Medicine by Eliot Cowan put such a relationship in this way: “Consciousness, therefore, is not merely thought, much less intellect or reason. It is the feeling of being alive and being related to all life. Consciousness as pure feeling exists already in the plant and is hidden in the rock, even within the atom itself. It is only when we come to look upon all things as human that we are capable of truly humane existence. Such a lesson is taught to us by plants and herbs whose existence is still grounded in the unity of nature, through which we may return to understand ourselves better. Therefore, plants may communicate directly to that essence of feeling which makes a true human being. Plants bring us the love, the nourishing power of the sun, which is the same energy of the stars, of all light. They exist for psychological, as well as physical nourishment.”

 

Local Food Banks Need Your Help During the Holiday Season!

Highline Area Food Bank

White Center Food Bank

Des Moines Food Bank

West Seattle Food Bank

Kent Food Bank & Emergency Services

Rotary First Harvest

Beacon Avenue Food Bank

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