Plants have powerful healing properties. Many pharmaceutical drugs have their origins in plant substances. Naturopathic doctors use plant substances for their healing effects and nutritional value. Many plant substances are highly effective in the right dosage and when used correctly with other herbs and treatments. Herbs can be prepared in many forms - teas, tinctures, and capsules. Naturopathic doctors are trained in both the art and science of botanical medicine.
Today, 40% of prescription drugs come from, or are synthesized from, plants. In recent years, some of the most important new medicines, such as the cancer drug Taxol (derived from yew trees) originate in nature. Aspirin, an over the counter staple for more than 100 years, and derived from white willow trees, is now taken by millions to prevent heart attacks, and can potentially reduce the risk of certain cancers.
Unlike drugs, botanical medicines include the active constituent and a host of other molecules. Some of these are synergistic and can augment the medicinal effect, while others counteract or mitigate side effects. Botanical medicines are the very embodiment of the Vis Medicatrix Naturae, the healing power of nature. Their energetic qualities are particularly well defined in Traditional Chinese Medicine and Ayurveda.