Why would you want to use botanicals?  Plants are central to the traditional health practices of many cultures. The World Health Organization estimates that today, botanicals are used as a primary form of health care for 80% of the world’s population, providing an affordable and effective form of health care that has stood the test of time.

In the early 1900s, there was a dramatic shift in the practice of medicine in the United States. These changes discounted the role of botanicals in health care and elevated the use of pharmaceuticals in primary care.

Fortunately, we've seen a resurgence of interest in using botanicals as a complementary form of health care since the 1960s. Today, the demand for plant-based approaches to maintaining good health continues to expand our options for maintaining vibrant health.

As consumer demand encourages the increased availability of plant-based products, rigorous clinical studies focused on the chemistry of botanicals have contributed to a science-based understanding of how they work. This research has produced impressive evidence for using botanicals in everyday health care.


To understand the many benefits of botanicals, we need to take a quick look at the biochemistry of plants. All plants produce active chemical compounds known as secondary metabolites. These compounds are not essential to the survival of individual plants, and it is unclear why plants produce them. However, what is clear is that these metabolites have a profound impact on the human body.

When ingested, they affect biochemical pathways and cellular receptors throughout the body. They may regulate and strengthen the function of individual organs and tissues to improve digestion, respiration, immune system health, mood, and cognition. And with continued use, botanical remedies can restore balance and equilibrium throughout the body. Many are considered potent agents for longevity and increased vitality.


After thousands of years of common usage, botanicals have stood the test of time. A combination of global health trends and scientific research has validated their use to remedy many health issues. Plant-based solutions contain a myriad of health benefits and are critical in preventative care. Increasing interest in botanical remedies signals a return to our roots, a nod to our ancestors' wisdom, and an affirmation that nature still supports our well-being.

As a result, we've seen a definite shift towards a more holistic approach to health and wellness in mainstream medicine. The use of botanicals as a complement to conventional treatment is on the rise, offering a sustainable alternative to a solely drug-based approach to healing.


Botanicals are rarely toxic when used at the appropriate dose. While dosage recommendations vary from herb to herb and condition to condition, a reliable herb reference book, ideally one written by an experienced herbal practitioner, can provide useful guidelines for dosing herbal supplements. 

Botanicals and pharmaceuticals can work together in synergy, offering a holistic approach to health, in most cases. As many pharmaceuticals are derived from plant compounds, using botanicals or whole plant extracts, which contain many different compounds for support, may offer a more comprehensive range of actions in the body with fewer side effects. Botanicals can enhance the therapeutic effects of some pharmaceuticals and provide alternative options for those who prefer not to rely on drugs.

Given the many possible combinations of pharmaceuticals and botanicals, you should always consult your primary care provider or prescribing physician to be sure you can safely use them together.

For more reading you may find helpful, see What Causes DrynessHow to Relieve Dryness, and Tributary Botanicals.