Vitamin Junkeys

Botanical Medicine 101 Ep 12

Botanical Medicine 101
Vitamin Junkeys Episode #12 (running time 8:05)
Date: August 12, 2008
Podsafe Music: Ice Cream by Christopher Dale Courtesy of the Podshow Music Network
Show hosts: Jennifer Lyall & Dr. Jean Jacques (Dr. JJ) Dugoua, ND HBSc PhD (Cand.)

This episode examines:
What is Botanical Medicine?
Who prescribes Botanical Medicine?
Are there particular ailments that Botanical Medicine is good for?
How do you know what Botanical Medicines to take?
Where do you get Botanical Medicines?

What's Dr. JJ taking today:  Jennifer takes Rhodiola, sometimes called Russian Ginseng

Ginseng and Rhodiola is an adaptogen, which helps with times of stress and energy issues. Some people use it for weight loss. Rhodiola seems to work better for women.

What is Botanical Medicine?
Botanical Medicine is herbs that we put in a form for therapeutic use. For example, it could be a tea, a raw herb, a botanical tincture (where they take some part of the plant an put it in alcohol), capsules. Botanical tinctures don't typically taste good. About 35% of most drugs come from plants, for instance aspirin comes from white willow.

Who prescribes Botanical Medicine?
Naturopathic Doctors, Herbalists, Doctors of Chinese Medicine, but the method of prescribing is different from Western prescription of botanical medicine. Some medical doctors may also prescribe botanical medicine.

Are there particular ailments that Botanical Medicine is good for?
It can be used for many applications. In many cases where is there is a drug for a particular ailment, there is often a botanical medicine for the ailment. For example there are botanical medicines for sore throats, blood pressure, arthritis, headaches, pain. HOWEVER YOU MUST BE VERY CAREFUL, as some botanical medicines can interact with other medications. YOU SHOULD ALWAYS CONSULT A PROFESSIONAL like a naturopathic doctor before taking any botanical medicines. One example is St. John's Wort- it commonly throws off drug levels.

How do you know what Botanical Medicines to take?
Echinacea is one example of a common Botanical Medicine 
It has an "o.k." safety profile, so usually there isn't a lot of concern taking it. Also, people tend to take it for a short period of time, maybe a week.

Generally with Botanicals you should consult with a healthcare professional before taking them- you have to be very careful. You should view botanicals the same way that you view drugs- you don't usually take botanicals for prevention, it's usually to treat something specific.

Where do you get Botanical Medicines?
You can get them at most health food stores, herbalist stores, they are also available online, however, Dr. JJ doesn't recommend buying them online, unless you know specifically the brand and form of the herb you are looking for, that your doctor has recommended. This is a good solution for people who live in smaller communities that don't offer the same selection that is available in the bigger city centres.

Dr. JJ looks at a tea that Jennifer got from a herbalist to help with sleep. It contains Jamaican Dogwood, which some people use for sleep, and some people use for pain; Skullcap is very good for calming people down and reducing anxiety, and Lavender is also calming and gives a nice aroma to the tea.

Naturopathic Doctors also can create tinctures to treat specific ailments. Jennifer shared that when her family gets sick, her naturopath will create a botanical tincture specific to the symptoms that the person has.

Botanical medicines don't taste good, but they work! Jennifer often mixes it with juice to get her kids to take the botanical tinctures.

In closing....
You can find a naturopathic doctor in your community through the Find a Practitioner link at

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Camera: Jerome Marrin, Mai Hab ib

Editor: Jerome Marrin, Jerome Marrin Media Productions

Special thanks to: Slurp Media &


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About Vitamin Junkeys

Join Jennifer Lyall and Naturopath, Dr. JJ Dugoua as they have fun exploring alternative therapies and healthy living. Weekly episodes are released every Tuesday.

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