The providers at Rain City Integrative Clinic really enjoy working with botanical medicines. The advantage of herbs is their complexity. Medicinal plants contain a wide array of chemical compounds, which gives them versatile therapeutic powers.
What is botanical medicine?
Herbal medicine, also known as botanical medicine, is a medical system based on the use of plants or plant extracts that are taken internally or applied to the skin. Since ancient times, herbal medicine has been used by many different cultures throughout the world to treat illness and to assist bodily functions. Botanical remedies in the form of extracts, tinctures, capsules, tablets, and teas may be recommended by your provider as a way to address your medical concerns.
The providers at Rain City Integrative Clinic like to incorporate herbs and spices into your daily foods whenever possible. Using herbs and spices in this way allows patients to take advantage of their benefits in a sustainable way. For example, it appears that the daily use of the spice turmeric in curry dishes is one reason elderly people in India have one of the lowest rates of Alzheimer’s disease in the world.
What conditions is botanical medicine used for?What conditions is botanical medicine used for? Herbal medicine has been used to treat or alleviate virtually every possible medical condition. Some of the most popular herbal remedies and the conditions for which they are used include:
- Aloe used topically for minor burns, sunburns, skin irritation or inflammation
- Chamomile Tea ingested for upset stomach, heartburn, indigestion, and colic
- Garlic ingested to possibly reduce cholesterol and blood pressure, treat fungal infections and colds
- Ginger ingested for nausea and motion sickness and as an anti-inflammatory
- Passionflower ingested for non-sedating relaxation
- Peppermint Tea ingested for indigestion, nausea and other digestive problems
- Peppermint Oil (in enteric-coated capsules) ingested for irritable bowel syndrome and other chronic intestinal ailments
- Tea Tree Oil applied topically for fungal infections such as athlete’s foot and fungal infections of the toenails and fingernails
- Turmeric ingested to combat inflammation and protect against cancer and Alzheimer’s disease
Are there any side effects or conditions where botanical medicine should be avoided?
Yes. The providers at Rain City Integrative Clinic are trained to evaluate potential interactions between your pharmaceutical medications and botanical medicines. If you have specific concerns please consult your provider.
Where can I get the recommended botanical medicines?
In the U.S. dietary supplements are available to anyone, so consumers should educate themselves before buying. Good resources include the American Botanical Council and the Herb Research Foundation.
The supplement market is not well regulated overall. Due to this the providers at Rain City Integrative Clinic recommend brands that have quality control standards that can be independently verified. If patient decide to get herbs from other sources please follow these guidelines:
- Don’t buy whole dried herbs from bins or jars in stores. These loose herbs are probably worthless because dried plants deteriorate upon exposure to air, light and moisture and the more finely chopped the plant parts are, the faster they lose their desirable qualities.
- Avoid encapsulated powdered herbs because when plants are ground into powders, they’re exposed to oxidation, which causes them to deteriorate.
- Buy reputable brands that advertise the purity of their ingredients.
- The best herbal medicines are those you grow yourself. Maintaining a personal herb garden can ensure freshness and quality.
- Look for herbal preparations that have been "wildcrafted" (harvested from wild stands) or cultivated organically.
- Buy Chinese herbal products only from reputable sources and avoid those that do not list ingredients. (Some herbs from China have been contaminated with toxic metals.)