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Botanical Medicine: A Revised Classic Practice

  • Disclaimer- there are some information about botanical medicine. If you are interested in plants for therapeutic purposes, please consult your primary care physician first. This is NOT a prescription or recommendation from our doctor. Just information only.

Botanical Medicine may be something that you do not hear much of. If you are a part of the functional medicine, herbal, and naturopathic communities this is something that may be more commonplace than you think. As the title employs, botanical medicine is as old as the human race itself.


Botanical medicine or phytotherapy, actually may be older than acupuncture. While acupuncture is over 3,000 years old, botanical medicine has been dated in some areas as old as 5,000 years ago in Sumeria and some prehistoric documents leading it 60,000 years ago making it one of the oldest forms of medicine!

Where is the movement?

During my naturopathic studies, it has been said that modern medicine as we know it was birthed from botanical medicine as plants were furthered studied in the late 19th century and into the very early 20th century it was discovered that many plants had potent ingredients that would help with symptoms. By extraction of those potent elements one could theorized that it would make a more efficient drug to better relieve symptoms. Many naturopathic and holistic practicioners believe this is where side effects came from as the potent chemical of the plant did not have a buffer to settle select effects such as nausea or headaches. This is one theory and principle that is practiced by Naturopathic physicians and other botanical medicine practitioners.

Specific examples:

  1. Digoxin/ Digitalis (Cardiac glycoside class of drug) potent ingredient is from the plant Foxglove (This drug is used for congestive heart failure)

  2. Beta Blockers are derived from the plant Hawthorne berry. ( note: the prior drug can be enhanced with the use of Hawthorne so please note that this is for information only and not a recommendation to take.)

Some plants used in Botanical Medicine

Ginger ( Zingiber officinale): This one is highly recommended and used naturally by "lay" people. Great for colds, effective coughing, antimicrobial, fat-burning, antioxidant, Anti inflammatory, fever-reducer, and so much more!

Ashwagandha (Withania somnifera): This herb is a powerhouse which is a great anti-inflammatory, helping digestive disorders, helps in the cases of hypertension, and even has sedative properties.

Elderberry (Sambucus nigra): This herb has some recent popularity as it is helps to relieve a cold or flu at the first sign! This helps in chronic sinusitis, rheumatism, colds, mild laxative, and helps with relieving fevers.

In the case of a COVID patient- you could use all three of these example herbs in order to make a tincture which is more concentrated or as a tea using the elder flower instead of the berry. This would be something that a holistic therapist would formulate.

To learn more information, please contact a holistic provider or contact our office at

Be Well and Get Out In the Garden in March!

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