Naturopathic Medicine: A New Model for Health
These days many people know about the availability of natural medicines like herbal remedies, homeopathy, and the use of vitamins and minerals to treat and prevent disease. However, not many people are aware that there is a profession that is highly specialized in the use and prescription of natural medicines. A naturopathic doctor (N.D.), or naturopath, is very well educated when it comes to the appropriate use of nutritional supplements, herbal remedies, and other alternative treatments. Naturopaths are also knowledgeable about interactions between drugs and natural medicines. You might be asking yourself, what exactly is naturopathic medicine? How do I recognize a formally trained, licensed naturopath? And what can naturopathic medicine do for me? Let’s begin with a brief synopsis about the origins of naturopathic medicine.
Naturopathic medicine has been around in its primitive form since pre-historic times. In those days there was likely a “healer” in the village or a wise elder who knew what herbs and plants were useful for what condition. They were also aware of which foods were beneficial for which maladies; and what foods to avoid when ill. All ancient cultures have their traditional healing wisdom, the Persians, Native Americans, East Indians, Chinese… The list goes on and on. Hippocrates, a Greek physician who is considered by many to be the father of modern medicine, described the concept of “the healing power of nature” almost 2500 years ago.
Naturopathic medicine as it is known today developed in Europe in the late 1800’s before coming to North America. Dr. Benedict Lust popularized the term “naturopathy” and used it to describe a medical practice using herbal remedies, homeopathy, acupuncture, nutrition, lifestyle counseling and manipulative therapy. In the early 1900’s he opened many naturopathic colleges and healing centers in the United States. Naturopathic medicine flourished in North America until…