The Science of Natural Medicine

illustration_salix_alba_natural_medicine_benchmark“If we could see the miracle of a single flower clearly, our whole life would change.” 
– Buddha (Siddhartha Gautama), Fifth Century B.C.

Human beings have used plants for their healing properties for thousands of years. Over the course of human history, plants have provided food, shelter, simple tools, fuel, medicines, and clothing. In the early modern period, botany, botanical study and botanical illustration formed the foundation of modern science and pharmacology. In the 20th century, the discipline of botany became more strongly aligned with the hard sciences and with newer frontiers within the biological sciences, represented by such fields as molecular biology, genetics, and biochemistry.

It is not surprising that plants have always held such an interest for us. Plants continue to be the first choice for natural medicine in maintaining wellness by the majority of the world’s peoples, and even for those of us who obtain medicines from the drugstore, about half of those remedies had a biological source or are still obtained directly from plants, while there remain many sources of natural medicines still to be uncovered.

Although modern science has greatly advanced our knowledge and understanding of botanical pharmacology, in our daily lives we use plants in some ways that would seem familiar to medieval herbalists in monasteries. Open the medicine cabinet, and among the collection of over-the-counter and prescription remedies – many of them with a plant origin or a molecular model derived from plants – we may find echinacea to ease the symptoms of a cold, chamomile for relaxation, or perhaps an extract of milk thistle as a natural medicine for an aging dog with diminished liver function.

Human history and well-being is inextricably connected to the world of plants. As the second decade of the 21st century draws to a close, humanity is proactively adjusting our relationship with the world’s flora. In many respects, we are coming back to practices of the past, when plants could live and adapt in ways that allowed them to continue to evolve.

Naturopathic doctors (NDs) are trained physicians who use nutrition, botanical, homeopathic, physical and natural medicine to support recovery and maintain wellness. They are licensed to prescribe medications, perform minor surgery, and utilize a variety of proven therapeutic methods in the prevention, diagnosis and treatment of disease, illness, injury, and physical conditions. NDs apply the methods of modern science and the wisdom of traditional medicine and to form a synthesis beneficial to the health of 21st century people.

The Benchmark Clinic of Integrative Medicine is located in NW Portland. Our practitioners offer a bridge between the Western medical model of health care and the traditional, time tested methods of healing and maintaining health. Our providers are adept at bringing together the best of both modern and natural medicine in a supportive, comfortable environment. Contact us here.