Rooted in Nature
Throughout our abundant plant kingdom many species and varieties have been identified with nutritional potential (phytonutrients) and important therapeutic value to human and animal life, while others are still considered for exploration or yet to be discovered. So far herbal research and traditional folkways has revealed marvelous value in many plants from their berries, vegetables, herbs, roots, bark and blooms, containing an immense variety of phytochemicals, compounds and discovered isolates.
Folk healing, otherwise known as regional or community traditions in medicine, includes these phytonutrients, but traditionally recognized as simply the outcome or attribute from a particular plant preparation. The laboratory of days past started in the garden or the wild and continued into the kitchen or community by way of teas, extractions, poultices, syrups, baths etc. Without fully comprehending the generations and decades of hard work, the exploration and study it took to compile this valuable medicinal history, including how to properly grow and harvest (or gather) the correct plant, find and utilize its medicinal part(s), prepare a useful medicine for effectiveness, and then to know how to re-administer therapeutically is all valuable cultural history to preserve and share. This medicinal exploration entailed great experience, practice, physiological study and collaboration, as it does today.
More recent medicinal discoveries and research usually happen in a chemical lab
oratory (pharmaceutical) to create an imitation of nature, to mimic a plant’s medicinal activity, while never fully captured since hundreds of phytochemicals and protective nutrients are involved and have important relations to one another, and many are not fully recognized yet. In fact many times nothing natural is left available for human consumption or medicinal use-it’s all stripped away, isolated or imitated to become a patented medicine to allow maximum potency and profitability. In consideration, there are plants with toxic compounds and may need to be avoided, but that is why the expert, education, traditional knowledge and research all have a valuable place. However with many medicinal plants, the unknown phytochemical(s) still play a potential role in effectiveness, delivery, and protection to the consumer or to build the plant’s nutritional and medicinal value.
Keeping medicine rooted in nature goes beyond current laboratory modalities and methodology. The herbalist today, researchers and doctors of holistic/naturopathic medicine are still very interested in keeping the plants’ therapeutic value alive and available. This is especially true because of plant’s synergy, its role and benefits greater than its individual parts, working beyond isolates and synthetics. Synergy and holistic perspective may release more potential than ever thought possible in medicinal options. Botanical microscopic constituents build into unbelievable resources we already know: oils, fiber, vitamins, antioxidants, minerals…and the unknown is still yet to be discovered and better understood. Thank you to all the researchers, scientists, practitioners and herbalists that continue to study in this naturalistic vein.