Unless you are a person that likes to learn about the medical world, you may not know that every day you partake in Botanical Medicine in some form. Botanical medicine encompasses plants or at least matter that come from a plant. That matter is part of a disease preventative or a treatment.
All cultures, and far more generations than we can count, use plants to do things manufactured medicines do not do. You may also know “botanical medicine” by the name “herbal remedies” which either is correct. What about you, do you know much about botanical medicine and how it plays into your health?
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You can live anywhere in the world and know the controversy of natural plants used to heal illnesses or challenges. The term botanical medicine includes the parts of a plant that are not just herbs, such as:
- 1 Why Do People Use Botanicals?
- 2 Who is Using Botanical Medicines?
- 3 Are Plants Still Used in Pharmaceuticals Today?
- 4 Are Plants Non-Living Compounds or Healers?
- 5 Disease Prevention and Health Maintenance
- 6 How do Botanicals Work?
- 7 Why are Botanical Medicines Often Called Dietary Supplements?
- 8 Are Botanical Medicines Safe?
- 9 The Top 10 Herbal Remedies and what They Do
- 9.1 Cranberry
- 9.2 Saw palmetto (Serenoa repens)
- 9.3 Soy isoflavones
- 9.4 Garlic (Allium sativum)
- 9.5 Ginkgo
- 9.6 Echinacea (Echinacea purpurea; E. angustifolia; E. pallida)
- 9.7 Milk Thistle
- 9.8 Black Cohosh (Acteae racemosa; formerly: Cimicifuga racemosa)
- 9.9 St John’s Wort
- 9.10 Ginseng (Panax ginseng; Panax quinquifolius)
- 10 Where Can I Find a Botanical Specialist Near Me?
- 11 What is a Naturopath?
- 12 What is an Herbalist and Where Can I Find One Near Me?
- 13 What Principles do Naturopathic Medicine Follow?
- 14 Conclusion:
Why Do People Use Botanicals?
Botanical use in America is basically the same as how we use over-the-counter (OTC) medicines and prescription drugs either prescribed or suggested by our physicians. Most are available at any pharmacy to prevent disease, treat symptoms, and maintain our health and wellness.
History shows that humans have used botanicals for as far back as we have existed. As early as 60,000 years ago, Archeological excavations found medicine plant remains. The ones found are definitely not the meds you would take for a mere headache. These include cannabis, ephedra, poppies, and opium.
Since the beginning of time, humans experimented with plants to explore the possibility of them helping to heal our mind and body. In reality, humans tampered with plants for several thousand years in one giant “clinical trial” using medicinal plants. 
Who is Using Botanical Medicines?
If you have interest in botanical medicines, you are not alone. Herbal remedies in the U.S. are a leader in complementary therapies, and the sector is rapidly expanding. Consumers spent on average a 7.7 percent increase on supplements in 2017 than the previous years.
It is common knowledge that herbal remedies are medicines even though most are in a class that qualifies as a dietary supplement. People here in the U.S. use these medicines just like any other to treat diseases and their symptoms. 
An excellent example of that would be females using Phytoestrogenic herbs and black cohosh such as this red clover product. These treat menopause symptoms. There is a significant amount of clinical and scientific evidence that herbal treatments work.
However, the manufacturers of herbal remedies by law cannot claim that they prevent or treat diseases. The companies also cannot offer detailed information on ways to use the product. Because of this, consumers who want more knowledge of the products must rely on outside sources such as the web for information.
It is vital that you check the accuracy and credibility of the source you choose prior to making treatment decisions. It is essential that you know who is providing you with information and the evidence they cite.
Are Plants Still Used in Pharmaceuticals Today?
Scientist eventually felt that there is no reason to use plants themselves in pharmaceuticals because they have chemist that can synthesize compounds. Moreover, they could get their version more toxic and more potent than the natural version that nature provides. Today, Sadly, the majority of medicines are synthetic compounds.
However, the structure of pharmaceuticals that are synthetic often resemble the natural molecules. Therefore, out of 252 drugs, 11 percent derived from flowering plants.
Are Plants Non-Living Compounds or Healers?
Down through history, humans have taken the stance that the “vital spirit” of a plant contributes to its therapeutic effect. However, from opium, scientists isolated morphine in the early 1800’s leading to people to believe that a non-living, single compound in plants was accountable for its healing abilities.
That is what assisted with the creation of the biomedical representation of pharmacotherapy that continues to thrive today. In this template, humans recognize plants to be the provider of an individual chemical that targets a part of our body or a particular receptor site.
Disease Prevention and Health Maintenance
Herbal remedies are used to prevent diseases and maintain health. Moreover, people who practice holistic medicine have always been better researchers than the gov’t or CDC. Botanical measures have been curing people for thousands of years, and here is the proof to support the theories.
- Botanicals, such as saw palmetto and black cohosh, treat reproductive system issues including the prevention of an enlarged prostate and menopause.
- Botanicals, such as ginger, prevents or treats gastro problems like constipation and nausea.
- Kava helps reduce anxiety, and Valerian Root helps with insomnia (I take this, and it works)
- Botanicals, Like John’s Wort, assists with, mild depression, anxiety, insomnia, and other psychological symptoms. Combined with black cohosh, St. John’s Wort helps with relieving mood changes that come with menopause.
- Green Tea is an excellent antioxidant botanical that helps slow aging, maintain cardiovascular functions and prevent cancer.
- Echinacea is an Immune-active product that tones and strengthens immune functions
If you are taking botanicals or other drugs, you should do plenty of research to determine if there are any possible drug reaction.
How do Botanicals Work?
Many of the medicines you take today originated from various plants, this includes:
- Various antiparasitic
- Oral anticoagulants-blood thinners
- Digoxin-congestive heart failure meds
Also, 25 percent of all drugs include some plant-derived matter. Therefore, it is no surprise that herbal remedies often similarly help the body as manufactured drugs. Just like pharmaceuticals, Botanics adhere to the principles of pharmacokinetics and pharmacodynamics. These are the big scary scientific words for how drugs interact with the body.
- Pharmacodynamics is the study of all drugs and how they act on living organisms. The science behind this is to study how drugs affect the human body.
- Pharmacokinetics is the study of how our bodies digests, distributes and excretes drugs. Scientist look at how long it takes for absorption, how long it takes to act, distribution throughout the body, and how our body excretes the drug. In other words, studies to see how our bodies act while taking a drug.
Scientist conducts the same studies on components of particular botanicals to see how they are absorbed, distributed in our body and then excreted. These studies also reveal how the botanicals affect our body.
All these studies show where drugs go throughout our body, what it does and how it affects our overall health are vital. Just like with pharmaceuticals, there are medicines made with botanicals that the results are unknown.
Why are Botanical Medicines Often Called Dietary Supplements?
Dietary supplement is a category that the government uses to decide how all substances are regulated and sold.
Here are some fast facts:
- In the U.S., a large majority of botanical meds classify as dietary supplements. There are a few that classify as pharmaceutical drugs, such as digitalis leaf.
- Dietary supplements include amino acids, minerals, vitamins and other popular ingredients.
- Dietary supplements come in many forms such as powders, liquids, gel caps, tablets, and bars. The government regulates these under an expanded umbrella of food and not drugs.
The law that regulates dietary supplements is different from the regulation of pharmaceuticals. The main difference is that the manufacturers of all dietary supplements cannot label any claim that they prevent or treat diseases. The label can only read that the product affects function and structure.
If there is an imminent danger to consumers, the FDA has the authority to pull an ingredient or product off the market. In 2004 this happened with the supplements that contained the herbal stimulate Ephedra used to boost weight loss and performance.
The government pulled the product once it became linked to adverse reactions and even several fatalities. I remember when this took place. There was a sudden surge in products that contained this ingredient and an even more significant rush to get it on the shelves.
The Federal Drug Administration will also remove supplements for these reasons:
- Misbranded: That is due to there being an ingredient in the product that is undeclared
- Adulterated: Removal is for contamination. The Gov’t will pull it even though it does not matter if the adulteration could pose injury or risk.
Are Botanical Medicines Safe?
This question is a huge one that needs facts. You should take into consideration the potential risks and benefits of all particular botanicals and your unique situation. As with any drug, you have to consider the contradictions, such as allergies you may have and what your doctor suggests.
If you are taking botanicals or other drugs, you should do plenty of research to determine if there are any possible drug reaction.
With the quality and amount of scientific research of botanicals increasing, it is easier to find plenty of information on all the ingredients and the risk of each. Herbal remedies containing toxic components, such as carcinogens, ( matters that have the potential to cause cancer) and liver toxins do at times cause adverse reactions. However, as a rule, the Gov’t removes these products at once. 
Here is a partial list of Botanical supplements that contain potentially toxic constituents
- Life root
You can see the full list here.
The Top 10 Herbal Remedies and what They Do
Concentrated cranberry supplements and cranberry juice that contain the antioxidants, anthocyanins, grew in population thanks to its treatment and its prevention of urinary tract infections. Clinical studies in 2007, (Cimoli & Cimoli), revealed this information but it is not for all populations.
There are holistic studies (Blumber and McKay, 2007) that focus on the cranberries effect on the heart. Evidence shows that it, as well as other fruits that are rich in antioxidants, may cause a reduction in cardiovascular disease.
Saw palmetto (Serenoa repens)
A clinical study reported that palmetto compares to finasteride while treating Prostatic Hyperplasia. However, the most recent studies show no difference between placebo and saw palmetto.
Several plants contain matter called phytoestrogen that has some of the same effects as human estrogen. One of that example is the isoflavones found in flaxseeds, red clover, and soy.
American females like myself take isoflavones to treat menopausal symptoms before and after a hysterectomy. I take it for the later.
Garlic (Allium sativum)
Standardized garlic is incredibly popular in the U.S. due to its ability to lower serum triglycerides and cholesterol. Studies show that it does reduce the triglycerides, but not LDL cholesterol. There are other uses such as enhancing immune functions, stabilizing blood pressure, protecting against infections and support to cardiovascular functions.
I know several people that take garlic supplements daily and swear by its results. I may very well have to check into this after researching this information.
Note that you may want to keep your body odor and smelly breath in check if you do take the supplement as well as nausea. Heartburn, flatulence, and diarrhea.
I am confident this product is far from being unheard of today. When studies begin to circulate about its effects on the brain like improving moods and memory, it sky-rocketed in the U.S. Ginko Biloba exploded when Dr.s started sharing its potential.
When it first hit the scene, I too, started taking it for stress and the tough job I had at the time. Moreover, it works. There are well-investigated studies particularly for the cognitive functions and memory improvement for people with impaired cerebral circulation and the elderly.
Echinacea (Echinacea purpurea; E. angustifolia; E. pallida)
I know, I cannot pronounce it either.
Our Native Americans first discovered the use of Echinacea, like this product for treating respiratory infections, flu, and colds. There is credible science behind the product and its potential to improve immune cell response.
Although there is proof of the supplement improving the immune system, only certain preparations can do so. These are isolated polysaccharides or fresh pressed juice.
Milk Thistle is super popular in the states. The most common product people take for support for the liver is Milk Thistle. It is a liver protectant thanks to its powerful antioxidants called flavonolignans. Many studies are floating around the web with different theories. However, Milk thistle has been around for a long time and shows positive results.
Black Cohosh (Acteae racemosa; formerly: Cimicifuga racemosa)
As mentioned above, Black Cohosh is not only popular, but it is also effective for menopausal symptoms, especially the horrific hot flashes that are miserable. There are also suggestions that taking St. John’s Wort with Black Cohosh is more effective in treating symptoms due to menopause.
St John’s Wort
This supplement has been around in American a very long time. It is the treatment of the symptoms related to depression. Clinical test proves that by taking St. John’s Wort, it is effective and a healthy alternative to tricyclic antidepressants or SSRI’s for mild to moderate depression.
Ginseng (Panax ginseng; Panax quinquifolius)
These Korean or Chinese product uses are most commonly to improve mental and physical performance, increase energy, treat erectile dysfunction, and enhance the immune system.
Where Can I Find a Botanical Specialist Near Me?
There are times when reading information on the web is more confusing than helpful. With medical situations, it is always best to seek professional help. However, for this topic, what Dr. Would you need?
The first place to start is with your General Practitioner. Explain to him or her that you are interested in herbal remedies and what you know so far. Your Primary Care Doctor should be able to explain the factors relevant to your unique situation.
It is necessary to start there due to your GP knowing what medicines you currently take and the side effects or precautions you may experience. There are many pharmaceuticals that when mixed with botanicals is not safe. Therefore, it is vital that you speak with your Dr. before starting any new medicine.
There are healthcare providers that specialize in botanical medicines and have taken advanced studies. These Dr.s have more knowledge in this field for you to talk with that understand your concerns. If not, ask around for a specialist that is a trained Herbalist or licensed naturopath.
You may get lucky and find a healthcare provider that understands the power of botanical supplements. Do not be surprised if you also find a few that are entirely bias against supplements curing ailments. Let me give you an example.
My son was diagnosed with autism when he was four years old. Seeking help for him was impossible through the regular health care system. We were told more or less, “it-is-what-it-is.” That was unacceptable to me.
So, I hit the internet and found so much helpful information that told me there was hope. After reading a book by a celebrity that I will not mention her name, her writing saved my son. We took him to a Physician that practices holistic medicine.
Come to find out; our son had many vitamin deficiencies that were keeping him from blossoming. Vitamin D, E, Fish Oil, B-12 injections, melatonin—the list goes on and on of what she did for him that no one else could. Today, he is a thriving teenager.
Just do not settle. Supplements work!
What is a Naturopath?
Naturopathic medicine or naturopathy is a type of alternative medicine that incorporates a selection of pseudoscientific practices that have names such as “non-invasive,” “natural” and promotes self-healing.
Naturopathic physicians take the wisdom of nature and combine it with modern science. These practitioners focus on holistic, proactive, comprehensive prevention and diagnosis and treatment. In other words, they treat the body to heal what is wrong instead of masking the issue with drugs.
They must have a Naturopathic Doctorate from one of the accredited naturopathic Universities in America. In some of the states, there are those who hold a license which basically says they have passed the national exam.
What is an Herbalist and Where Can I Find One Near Me?
A Herbalist is an individual who dedicates their life to working with medicinal plants. These people specialize in the use of plants for therapeutic purposes. They could be either a Traditional Chinese Medicine Doctor, Ayurvedic, Naturopathic, Midwife, Traditional Herbalist or Clinical Herbalists.
What Principles do Naturopathic Medicine Follow?
The human body is an incredible vessel. It has the inherent ability to restore and maintain health. Naturopathic Doctors enable this healing process by taking away the obstacles and identifying the treatments that enhance healing.
The following are the key principles of naturopathic medicine:
- The healing power of nature
- Identify and treat the cause
- First, do no harm
- Doctor as teacher
- Treat the whole person
As you can see, modern medicine, nature and the human body are a fascinating combination. As we just learned, today’s medical world is forever evolving, and human-made meds are not always the answer.
I know this is much information, but I do hope if anything you learned that your body can heal in a natural form. The human body, nature, and science fascinate me. Nature is all around us and in that nature are cures, remedies, and help just waiting to be discovered.
How about you? Do you use any natural remedies to help combat ailments? Please share them with us in the comment sections. I would really love to get some feedback on this topic. Maybe you have success with a supplement that is not on this list, let me know.
I do hope you enjoyed my post about botanical medicine. It is quite interesting, right? After you leave your comment, please share this on your social media and help us help others. Thank you for the time it took to read this, and I do hope you read more on our site. Thanx-Malissa~