A big difference between mainstream Medical Doctor's (M.D.'s) and us crazy Naturopathic Doctors (N.D.'s) is the amount of time we spend with our patients. I got asked why....
A 40 minute visit gives us time to get a full history on health issues. Many patients feel rushed in doctors offices. Naturopathic Doctors are trained in delving into the cause behind the symptoms. Why do you keep on getting sore throats. Why does your rash never quite go away. With digestive issues, often we need to discuss the when, how's and what's of the situation and its past, to find the culprits. Hormone issues such as PMS and menopause need time to look at everything that is going on. In any health issue there may be many factors at play such as past injuries or illnesses, diet, stress, chronic nutrient deficiencies, and genetic predispositions.
The 40 minute visits also gives me time for a non-invasive physical exam. Naturopaths trained in Chinese medicine look at the tongue, and the pulses in 6 different ways. This takes time. More well known physical exam techniques such blood pressure and temperature are also assessed. Physical signs of an unbalanced system give important information for diagnosis. A quick fix is not always satisfactory. Looking at the layers of health physically, mentally, and emotionally, help us find long lasting vitality through remedies that treat the underlying cause.
60 minutes with a patient allows us to hash through emotional layers. The time and the space to verbally process all facets of an issue is incredibly powerful medicine. A full family history with dynamics that have affected mental health also need this time. It's worth it. Patients come away feeling clearer, and in control.
Can you believe, with all this time, I can still run late?!
We chose our herbs and spices by flavor, culinary attributes. Are you ready to see them as medicinal?
Celery Seeds (Apium graveolens) - Got some of these odd ones hiding in the back of your spice jar? These are great for your kidneys! They are a mild diuretic, and can help treat cystitis. Their action on the kidneys also eases gout by increasing elimination of the sharp uric acid crystals that gather in those toe joints. Ouch! Drink cherry juice too, you gouty folk. Other types of arthritis can be helped if poor kidney function is a cause. Celery seeds are also a calming "carminative", soothing digestion, and an antispasmodic. They can decrease blood pressure too. Sprinkle these mild seeds on salads, soups, potatoes, popcorn...the more that are in your life, the more benefit you will get. The medicinal effects are small with small doses, but they add up over time. Fabulous preventative medicine.
Parsley (Petroselinum crispum) - Another kidney herb! We know this guy as an amazing halitosis cure. Did you know he's also high in iron, Vitamins A, C, E, and flavonoids!? This gives them anti inflammatory and antioxidant actions. The powerful little volatile oils in parsley relieve digestive cramps, and stimulate the uterus, if you have one. It can promote regular cycling, ease menstrual cramps. If you have them. You'd have to get parsley root for these stronger medicinal results, but the leaves would help a titch. They are good fresh or dried. The dried parsley leaves are yummy as a tea actually. Throw a teaspoon in your tea strainer, alone or with other leafy friends. Steep five minutes. If you keep a lid on your steeping tea, the volatile oils drip back in, instead of steaming off into the universe. Better in your belly, no? Parsley Seeds are almost the same as the celery seeds in their kidney stimulating properties, helping to treat joint pains. Careful with these parsley seeds though - a sprinkle would be fine, but going hard can be toxic, especially during pregnancy and if you have kidney issues. Now you know.
Rosemary (Rosmarinus officinalis) - I have been using this on everything I can, ever since I came back from a conference on breast cancer. New research found that cancer cells hate this stuff, so I love it! Rosemary has long been known to improve memory, and as such has been used as a symbol of fidelity between lovers in the olden days. Wonder if it still works like that. It stimulates circulation to the brain. Great for cramming students with migraines. Even better for cramming students with migraines and vertigo. Fabulous for cramming students with migraines, vertigo, and dysthymia. I also love rosemary oil topically to treat minor skin infections, acne spots, and fungus. In many cases it works better than tea tree oil I find, probably because if its stimulating properties for spots with poor circulation. Rosemary for remembrance.
Thyme (Thymus vulgaris) - Thyme counters the effects of aging. Really. New study (see below) proves what they discovered in Scotland in the 1900's. There are many species/types of this herb, and the ones that have the most volatile oils, the most aromatic, will have the highest concentration of thymol. Thymol is the active ingredient that makes it so tonifying, so youth giving. Kills worms too. Take a tsp or so of both dried thyme and rosemary leaves, throw them in a tea strainer, add boiling water and a lid (keep those volatile oils in your cup), and enjoy. This is a wonderful migraine cure. So mild, but it can really take the edge off a bad headache, and wipe out a wee one. Thyme tea on it's own feels great on a sore throat (add honey).
The Application of Medicinal Plants in Traditional and Modern Medicine: A Review of Thymus vulgaris (2015).
A new phytocosmetic preparation from Thymus vulgaris stimulates adipogenesis and controls skin aging process: In vitro studies and topical effects in a double-blind placebo-controlled clinical trial (2021).
Find all these herbs and spices at your local grocer. Quality matters. Better taste means higher medicinal constituents. Yes, medicine can taste good. That's the fun thing about this. If you love the smell and taste of a herb, it is exactly what you need. Make your food flavorful. It will bring you AND your body joy.
"The Encyclopedia of Medicinal Plants" by Andrew Chevallier (1996).