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The Role of Botanical Medicine in 100 Years of American Naturopathy.

The introduction of naturopathy into America was a development of the German nature cure in a new land where it succeeded similar hygienic and herbal systems. The combination of water cure and other natural methods was not unfamiliar in America. The American hydropathic movement of using water in the treatment of disease was centered in New York in the mid-19th century. Its major practitioners and teachers included Dr. Joel Shew, Dr. Russel Trall, Mary Gove and her husband Dr. Thomas Nichols, and Dr. James Caleb Jackson. Hydropathy evolved into hygeiotherapy when Dr. Trail incorporated popular health reform ideas such as temperance, vegetarianism, and avoidance of drugs from such promoters as Sylvester Graham, Samuel Thomson, and others. The Water Cure Journal, established in 1846 by Shew, was renamed the Herald of Health by Trail in 1863. The momentum of the hydropathic and hygienic movements dissipated with Trall's death in 1877.(1,2) John Harvey Kellogg (1852-1943) had been a student of Trall's who afterwards pursued a conventional medical education. He practiced and taught "biological living" in his books, the Seventh Day Adventist magazine Health Reformer, and in his sanitarium at Battle Creek, Michigan. Dr. Kellogg was largely responsible for the eventual acceptance of rational hydrotherapy and electrotherapeutics in conventional physiatrics.(2) Meanwhile, empirical water cure experienced a resurgence in the 1890s due to the influence of the German priest, Fr. Sebastian Kniepp (1824-1897), and his book, My Water Cure.(1,3,4)

Samuel Thomson (1769-1843) had initiated a rebellion against depleting, "heroic" medical practices in America in the early 1800s by combining simple herbal remedies with steam baths and enemas. His system placed heavy reliance on two chief herbs: cayenne (Capsicum spp.) and lobelia (Lobelia inflata). A botanic medical reform movement of Neo-Thomsonian doctors developed which in 1852 came to be known as physiomedicalism, a term denoting "nature's medicines." This group was founded in 1838 by Dr. Alva Curtis, who established its first school in Ohio the next year. Its basis of practice was epitomized by Dr. William Cook's Physio-Medical Dispensatory published in 1869. The physiomedicalists emphasized the use of sanative, or nonpoisonous, botanical remedies to balance functions and enhance vitality.(5,6,7) They promoted nutrition of tissues and excretion of waste, restoration and maintenance of proper tone of diseased tissues, and removal of obstacles to vitality. Obstructions to health were perceived as irregular action of the nervous and/or circulatory systems. These deranged functions led to a loss of equilibrium and chemical destruction of tissues, manifesting as disease symptoms. Physiomedicalists used combinations of herbal remedies to assist in the correction of these pathological imbalances.(8) However, with the death of Alva Curtis in 1881 physiomedicalism began its decline in America.(5)

Benedict Lust (1872-1945) was a German immigrant to America in 1892 when he contracted tuberculosis. After being cured in Germany by Kniepp's treatments, Lust returned to the United States in 1896, commissioned by Fr. Kniepp to spread his methods of water treatment combined with herbs and simple lifestyle changes.(1,3,4) Lust established a sanitarium, store, and the magazine Amerikanische Kneipp-Blatter in New York. He had also examined other nature cure institutions in Germany and had obtained an osteopathic degree in New York in 1898. He combined all natural methods together under the distinctive term naturopathy. Thus, his English-language magazine The Kniepp Water Cure Monthly was renamed The Naturopath & Herald of Health in 1902. That same year Dr. Lust established the Naturopathic Society of America and the American School of Naturopathy, functioning as president of both (prior to, and following, name changes) until his death.(1,4)

Contemporary and complementary to the establishment of naturopathy, an elaborate explanation of the principles of natural healing, The Philosophy of Physiomedicalism by Dr. J. M. Thurston, was published in 1900. The enhancement of vitality was paramount for physiomedicalists, and herbs were only used to draw out potential vitality, not produce it. The human organism was perceived as essentially a realm dominated by vital force expressed as functional actions. In disease conditions its nature is inherently resistive, eliminative, and restorative. For instance, vital action of the body was seen as the most powerful antiseptic; so while fever was controlled, it was not subdued. Cleansing the cellular environment by assisting elimination was deemed necessary before nutritive processes and restoration could begin. While herbs could assist healing, overprescribing by amount or number of remedies was considered counter-productive, since the body responds better to being coaxed than dr iven. Various botanicals were condemned as neural poisons in any amount. These included aconite, belladonna, cannabis, conium, datura, digitalis, hyoscyamus, nux vomica, opium, physostigma, strophanthus, tobacco, and veratrum.(9)

In 1910 the only physiomedical college remaining in America was the College of Medicine and Surgery in Chicago, Illinois,(10) which by 1912 had merged with a regular medical school.(11) A 1902 graduate of this college, Dr. Swinburne Clymer, after acquiring an osteopathic degree practiced for sixty years in Pennsylvania.(12) His book Nature's Healing Agents, written in 1905, describes nonpoisonous herbal remedies being used by what he called the "natura physician." In his natura system, or newer science of medicine, diet and plant remedies supply the chemical needs of the body that, when unmet, lead to disease. He also utilized the steam bath, wet packs, and enemas from the old Thomsonian system.(13) The philosophical and practical connections between the former physiomedicalism and emerging naturopathy were evident.(8)


The first issue of the first volume of The Kneipp Water Cure Monthly, begun in 1900 and edited by Benedict Lust, included an article entitled "Herbs and their Healing Power." It stated, "As a first help in all diseases, herbs should be in every household; and once there, they will be valued very highly." Over 20 herbs were specifically mentioned (camomile, chickweed, coltsfoot, common elder, dwarf elder, juniper, peppermint, bilberries, anise, fennel, aloes, fenugreek, blackthorn, nettles, eyebright, ribwort, rue, shavegrass, St. John's wort, yarrow, chicory, and violets).(14) In 1902 certain of these and other herbs were described in The Naturopath in the article "Kniepp's Popular Healing Remedies and Their Application."(15) The medicinal importance of small amounts of nonpoisonous plants in mixtures was described in Lust's 1908 article "Science of Herbo-Therapy." The plants were grouped according to organ system or activity. He emphasized that plant cure is not a separate sys tem but is "supplemented by the other factors of nature cure, as light, air, water, gymnastics, massage and mental influence." Lust stated that plant cure is more rapid and radical because it supports the healing power in the body more than any other method, and it eliminates from the body substances that produce disease.(16) Dried herbs or "teas" made from them were the only forms recommended.(14,15,16)

A guest article by Dr. Karl Kahut of Berlin entitled "PhytoTherapy (Plant Cure)" was included in the same 1908 volume of The Naturopath. He told how the old physiatric nature cure used only external applications of physical agents without medicines. He insisted that if medicines are not poisonous and contain only substances similar to those in the body, then they agree with the nature of the body. He thereby defended plant cure as part of nature cure. However, he noted that some natural substances such as arsenic, mercury, and strychnine can be poisonous and destructive, and these are not used by nature cure.(17)

In 1916 The Naturopath began a regular Phytotherapy Department (subtitled "The American Herb Doctor"). It was edited by M. G. Young and discussed human ailments and medicinal herbs.(18) So it was in 1921 that an editorial was deemed necessary to address the concern in a profession claiming to be drugless as to whether herbs are drugs. It stated: "The principle behind the use of these simple remedies is quite different from the administration of poisonous and metallic drugs which contain no vital principle and cannot be metabolized by the animal body . . . .It is not therapeutic substances or treatments that cure but the forces of the body through its natural power of reaction. Cure is brought about through the elimination of encumberance [sic] and the raising of vitality . . . .Herbs supply the different glands of the body with vital, organic material to so chemicalize the accumulated wastes that they are readily eliminated . . . .If "medicine" has extracted their active princip les and conc octed therefrom poisonous, life-destroying drugs, shall we condemn the herbs? Reason is all that is required in this matter."(19)

Another important spokesperson for naturopathy had a different view. Dr. Henry Lindlahr was also an American immigrant from Germany whose midlife treatment by Fr. Kniepp for diabetes reportedly saved his life and restored his health. Lindlahr then spent a year at other nature cure establishments in Germany before returning to America. In Chicago he studied osteopathy and received a license in drugless healing in 1902 before obtaining his medical degree in 1904 from the National Medical University. There he ran a sanitarium, started the Lindlahr College of Nature Cure and Osteopathy, and wrote a number of influential books on natural therapeutics.(1,4,20) A staff member at his sanitarium wanted to sell a number of German herb teas in the supply department, but Dr. Lindlahr replied, "No, I will not agree. Though I am in sympathy with the use of these preparations in many cases, my great aim is to emancipate people from the dope idea, and we will never do that so long as we give o r sell medicine to any extent."(21)

Even Lindlahr's students did not necessarily share this attitude. Dr. Anna Abrahams Bingesser was a graduate of Lindlahr's college.(22) Her husband Carl, also a naturopath, was director of the best known sanitarium in Kansas, located at Waconda Springs.(23,24) They had worked there together since their marriage in 1907 and provided naturopathic care typical of their own German heritage.(24) They were also respectful of the native American traditions associated with this famous mineral springs that was sacred to tribes throughout the Great Plains. Anna incorporated into her practice the use of herbs which she learned from a local healer known as "Indian John."(22) Naturopaths respected Indians' knowledge of herbs, including the ability to counterbalance toxic botanicals given internally. The similarities in Indian usage of American plants compared with Old World uses of herbs of the same genera were noted approvingly.(25) Naturopaths also learned innovative native American appli cations of indigenous plants.(26)

In an ongoing association of herbs and vegetables as naturopathic remedies, a series entitled "Food Remedies" by Florence Daniel appeared in the magazine Nature's Path beginning in 1927. This publication was started and edited by Benedict Lust as an outreach to educate the public. Among the food remedies described were apple, asparagus, celery, cresses, cinnamon, coffee, fig, garlic, grape, lavender, lemon, nettle, nutmeg, olive, onion, orange, parsley, pineapple, plum, prune, radish, rhubarb, sage, spinach, thyme, tomato, and turnip. In the same volume after Lust condemned the use of pharmaceutical medicines advertised for ordinary ailments, the use of wild spring herbs as food and medicine was advocated. Dandelion, horseradish, mustard, dock, leek, wild turnip, burdock, cowslip, catnip, sarsaparilla, peppermint, wintergreen, and wild ginger were discussed.(27) In response to the question, "Are herbs drugs?" the early naturopathic belief was, simply stated, "Herbs are vegetable s."(19)


Naturopaths began identifying with herbs and expanding their herbal repertoire more in the mid-1930s. One of the first articles to document medicinal herbs of the Southwest used by Indians and Hispanics appeared in Nature's Path in 1933. It discussed hierba cota (Thelesperma gracile), mastranza (Mentha rotundifolia), ocotillo (Fouqueria splendens), hierba de la piedra (grey lichens or "rockweeds"), contra hierba (Kallstroemia spp.), mariola (Parthenium incanum), gobernadora (Larrea tridentata), and canutillo (Ephedra spp.) among others, and described teas made from them.(28) In 1935 a column entitled "Herbs" became a regular monthly feature in this magazine, but it covered only their use as teas internally and for poultices, salves, and baths externally. Articles on "Nature's Herbs and their Remedial Values"(29) and "Herb Foods and the Kingdom of Life"(30,31) appearing in The Naturopath from the mid- to late-1930s illustrate a contrast in ideas about how herbs are considered. Wh ile teas are mostly recommended, a few tinctures began to be mentioned in the context of remedies, as distinct from foods.(29)

Dr. William Turska recalled beginning his naturopathic practice in Oregon after graduation in 1933 from the Seattle College of Chiropractic and Naturopathy. "Naturopathic physicians were using crude drugs and making tea out of them and calling it herbology. I introduced Lloyd's tinctures which I had been studying for years. Since 1925 at age 15, I had been studying herbs and tinctures and eclectic medicine. These Oregon naturopaths said, "Oh no, we can't use tinctures or fluid extracts, those are drugs. They constitute medical practice." A tincture and an herb -- they're still the same thing? Well, they finally "evolved" and considered that tinctures were an herbal form and a drugless form of practice so that was adopted."(32) An article on echinacea in The Naturopath in 1936 recommended the use of Specific Echinacea.(33) Specific Echinacea was a pharmaceutical extract produced by the Lloyd Brothers, Pharmacists, Inc., Cincinnati, Ohio, a company associated with Eclectic medicin e.(34) By the end of the decade, continuing the use of the term "drugless" to describe naturopathy was even being questioned by an official in the American Naturopathic Association.(35)

In the 1940s it was stated in Nature's Path that "herbalists were the original nature cure practitioners." The ingesting of anything had generally been opposed on the grounds that most people would prefer to swallow a remedy rather than exercise or work constructively on their health. Though nature cure taught that medicine was unnecessary, many difficult cases responded well to nonsuppressive herbs. Herbal simples encouraged elimination of waste through gentle stimulation of excretory organs, and also supplied cells and glands with nutrition in small doses that could readily be assimilated.(36) The fundamental difference between the medical and naturopathic approach to using herbs lay in their preparation. Conventional medicine used preparations made by laboratory methods, extracting the most active constituents, which could transform many relatively safe herbs into toxic drugs. Naturopaths used herbs or their simple extracts in their natural, whole state.(25)

Articles identifying poisonous herbs began to appear in The Naturopath. Taxus baccata (yew), Hyoscyamus niger (henbane), Atropa belladonna (deadly nightshade), Conium maculatum (hemlock), Helleborus niger (black hellebore), and Solanum dulcumara (bittersweet) were listed as dangerous in 1940.(37) However, the next year articles by Dr. Norman Budove outlining the use of Solanum dulcumara, Gelsemium sempervirens (yellow jessamine), and Crocus sativus (saffron), potentially toxic plants, also appeared. He described the preparation of teas from these dried herbs.(38,39) Articles on "medical herbalism" taken from presentations by Drs. Enoch and Carroll Mather to the National Association of Naturopathic Herbalists of America were published in 1942.(40,41) For hepatic dysfunction such potent remedies as Chelidonium majus (greater celandine), Podophyllum peltatum (mayapple), Veronica virginica (leptandra), Iris versicolor (blue flag), Euonymus atropurpureus (wahoo) and Sanguinaria cana densis (bloodroot) were recommended along with the more gentle Chionanthus virginicus (fringe tree), Carduus marianus (milk thistle, syn. Silybum marianum), Taraxacum officinalis (dandelion), and Berberis vulgaris barberry).(40) These plants, potentially toxic or otherwise, were all characteristic Eclectic medicines.(34,42,43)


Eclectic medicine developed from the medical reform movement begun by Dr. Wooster Beach (1794-1868), a contemporary of Samuel Thomson. Beach, in contrast to Thomson, believed in medical colleges and hospitals and the use of all effective botanical remedies, but opposed patent medicines. The basis for his approach to medicine had been delineated in his American Practice of Medicine in 1831.(5,44) Beach stated, "The reformed or American Practice combines everything useful of every other system, and maintains that the physician is to act as the servant of nature."(45) While rejecting devitalizing practices and medications of his day such as bleeding and calomel, he credited "root and Indian doctors" with possessing valuable remedies. By the mid-19th century the movement became known as Eclectic medicine, and its motto was "sustain the vital forces." Discoveries by Dr. John King (1813-1893) led Eclectics to develop concentrates of their medicines, designated as resinoids. However, most of these were either found relatively ineffective or too harsh.(5,7,44,46)

King was a colleague at the Eclectic Medical Institute in Cincinnati of Dr. John Scudder, who devised a method of prescribing single botanical medicines in small amounts according to particular empirical indications. This practice became popular with the publication of Scudder's Specific Medication in 1871. King and Scudder looked to a brilliant young pharmacist named John Uri Lloyd to develop top quality preparations of their botanical extracts. These were then produced by the Lloyd Brothers Pharmacists under the designation Specific Medicines. With an innovative method of prescribing and state-of-the-art medicines, Eclecticism prospered into the 20th century. The publication of King's American Dispensatory in 1897, revised by Lloyd and Dr. Harvey W. Felter, was a milestone in scientific and clinical scrutiny of indigenous American plants.(5,7,46) Benedict Lust, the founder of naturopathy, himself obtained a medical degree from the Eclectic Medical College of New York in 1914. (1,4) However, the Eclectic profession declined following the harsh criticism of its medical schools in the Flexner report of 1910. Flexner had depicted the profession as "drug mad" due to its emphasis on botanical medicine. All but one of its colleges, the Eclectic Medical College in Cincinnati, had closed by 1920. In spite of extensive financial support from the Lloyd Brothers, Pharmacists, it followed suit in 1939.(5,7,46)

The evolution of Eclectic remedies had been through clinical experimentation in human diseases (not on healthy animals) with native American plants. It furthered the empiricism of the past by refining extracts of herbs but still viewing and using them as whole remedies. According to John Uri Lloyd, the greatest number of organic remedies had no one dominating chemical structure that could be isolated, so single fragments did not adequately represent the action of the herbal drug as a whole.(47) After their history with the inadequate resinoid concentrates, excepting podophyllin, Eclectic physicians' clinical experience validated the use of whole extracts of good quality. The superiority of refined tinctures or extracts of properly cultivated plants such as homeopathic mother tinctures or Eclectic Specific Medicines over the active constituents of plants like digitalis, cannabis, or bryonia was evident to the experienced prescriber. The major active constituent typically provided only partially the activity found in its established parent plant medicine. However, Eclectics became increasingly more attracted to isolated alkaloids as time went on and commercial manufacturers aggressively promoted them.(48)

Eclectics clung to their belief in the superiority of natural medicines over mineral or synthetic medicines. Organic matter from plants, they believed, had converted the inorganic crystalline forms of chemicals into colloidal substances that were more compatible with the living cell. The plant was seen as a bridge between the mineral and animal natures, making the elements of one more assimilable by the other.(49) "The plant remedies or nature's remedies all cooperate with nature and aid her in restoring the correct working of all the vital processes of the human body, and the synthetic, chemical or artificial remedies all obstruct and hinder nature, slow up, or stop entirely Mother Nature's vital house-cleaning processes of elimination."(50) While differing in emphasis, Eclectism and naturopathy shared many principles.(45)


With the death of Benedict Lust in 1945, the trend toward divergent approaches to practice became apparent in the naturopathic profession. The naturopaths in the Eastern group sought to retain traditional limits on the profession in opposition to the more progressive Western faction.(4) By 1951 the American Naturopathic Association (ANA) succeeded in changing the official naturopathic definition in the Dictionary of Occupational Titles published by the U.S. Department of Labor. The old definition had been: "Doctor, Naturopathic. A Healer. Treats patients with a system of physical culture and drugless treatment of disease by methods supposed to stimulate or assist Nature." The new definition was: "Doctor, Naturopathic. Naturopath. A Healer. Diagnoses and treats patients to stimulate and restore natural bodily processes and functions using a system of practice that employs physical, mechanical, chemical, and psychological methods: Utilizes dietetics, exercise, manipulation, chemi cal substances naturally found in or produced by living bodies, and healing properties of air, light, water, heat, and electricity . . . Naturopathy excludes the use of major surgery, X-ray and radium for therapeutic purposes, and use of drugs with exception of those substances which are assimilable, contain elements or compounds which are components of bodily tissues, and are usable by body processes for maintenance of life."(51)

As part of the evolution of the profession, the ANA had appointed a committee in April, 1947, chaired by Dr. A.W. Kuts-Cheraux to investigate, compile, and edit a compendium of natural remedies common in naturopathic practice. The divergence of views proved to be confusing and non-collaborating. Naturopathic knowledge of herbal remedies at that time varied widely among practitioners, many using only common names to identify plants. With the help of pharmaceutical chemists and other qualified persons, scientifically accurate information was accumulated and organized. After two years 310 botanical entities were covered according to composition, preparation, physiological action, and therapeutic uses. Incorporation of toxicology information was also planned.(52) It took five years to complete the manuscript which was published in 1953 and also included vitamins, minerals, and hormones. According to Dr. H. Riley Spitler, the text, Naturae Medicina and Naturopathic Dispensatory, wa s destined to be the Magna Charta of the profession, presenting the uses of natural medicines "with the naturopathic philosophy of the laws of cure in mind."(53)

In Naturae Medicina some of the most potentially toxic medicines known and used by the Eclectics were included. Preparations from Aconitum napellus, Amanita muscaria, Atropa belladonna, Conium maculatum, Datura stramonium, Delphinium staphisagria, Digitalis spp., Gelsemium sempervirens, Strychnos nux-vomica, Physostigma venenosum, Pilocarpus jaborandi, Strophanthus spp., and Veratrum spp. were listed. However, the dosage given for these preparations was extremely small, often less than one drop for liquid extracts, following the clinical practice established by the Eclectic doctors rather than conventional medical prescriptions. Even more interesting is the inclusion of several isolated compounds such as the alkaloids atropine and quinine and the volatiles camphor, menthol, and thymol.(54) Notable medicines excluded were the opiates and antibiotics.(54) The absence of antibiotics is surprising, since their use had been addressed positively by Dr. John Bastyr in an ANA journal ar ticle in 1950. He discussed in detail penicillin, streptomycin, aureomycin, bacitracin, polymyxin, neomycin, terramycin, and others. These products were considered by Dr. Bastyr to be appropriate, since they were organic in origin, being derived from lower plant life forms according to the classifications of that time.(55)

By 1955 only two schools approved by the renamed American Association of Naturopathic Physicians (AANP) remained: Central States College of Physiatrics in Eaton, Ohio, and Western States College School of Naturopathy in Portland, Oregon.(56) That year the Western States College enrollment was 41% naturopaths and 59% chiropractors. Following two years of basic sciences, the naturopathic students were taught an intensive course in phytotherapy beginning in the third year. Tinctures, elixirs, powders and tablets were used in the clinic. Stress was placed on correct dosage and combinations of herbs. The natural substances used were administered orally, topically, or by rectum, but injections were not taught at the college.(57) The teaching of herbology was the only distinction between the school's broad scope chiropractic and naturopathic curricula.(58) Political pressure from the chiropractic profession had begun in the late 1940s to force chiropractic schools to relinquish program s granting naturopathic degrees. After threatening loss of accreditation, the National Chiropractic Association finally forced Western States College to drop its School of Naturopathy in 1956, and it became exclusively Western States Chiropractic College.(4,32,58)

The naturopathic doctors in the Northwest were determined to establish a new naturopathic school, but a debate ensued over the name. Drs. Martin Bleything, William Turska, and other progressives insisted on the inclusion of the word "medicine" in the name to describe the education and the profession. Former graduates from Lindlahr's school and others from the "drugless" tradition opposed this. (The Lindlahr College of Natural Therapeutics eventually became part of the National College of Chiropractic in Chicago which granted its last naturopathic degrees in 1952.) The progressive faction won out, and the National College of Naturopathic Medicine (NCNM) was established in Portland, Oregon, in 1956 and opened a Seattle, Washington, branch in 1959.(4,32,58)

In the mid-1950s Dr. William Turska, who had taught at Western States College, held and communicated strong views on the advancement of naturopathic practice.(58) "Naturopathy as living science is subject to evolution and change of application and advancement . . . .The modus operandi of application and administration of healing agents has altered slightly from that as it was practiced 50 or 20 or in some instances even two years ago; but the tenets and concept of the philosophy is the same. The progress of science in the understanding of chemistry and physiology necessitates this variance from the practices of former years . . . .This evolutionary process is an indication of progress . . . .Today we are embarked upon a new phase of administration of old principles, modern research has opened natural potencies for us, in order to realize the maximum benefits from these potencies and healing agents, they must be administered in the manner best suited in the particular instance . . . .In the admi nistration of parenteral therapy when indicated, there is no effective substitute."(59) Some naturopathic doctors went so far as to advocate the use of purified active principles such as alkaloids and glucosides as the preferred means of accurate prescribing.(60)


In contrast to some of his more medically oriented views, Dr. Turska did not approve of exchanging herbs for alkaloids or medication for wholistic treatment. "We cannot discard botanic medicine, it is natural medicine, it is our forte; botanic medicine is a time honored method of treating and curing the ills of mankind. Their proper usages have been lost in the shuffle of the medical arts by those who became separatists like . . . the towel and bucket brigade on one hand, and the eclectics on the other who were the fore-runners of present day allopathy as it is, in an attempt to isolate the alkaloids. I dare say if it were not for this `alkaloidism,' the present farce of chemotherapy, . . . naturopathy or any of the cults and isms of healing would never have gained a foothold. Let it be stated, botanic medicine is only an adjunct to the practice of naturopathy. Do not forget your auxiliaries and corollaries and other adjuncts. You are treating the b ody -- the constitution -- not the symptom of or the particular member of the organism. This is basic constitutional naturopathic medicine."(61)

In the late 1950s and early 1960s a regular column, "Botanical Medicine (Phytotherapy)," appeared in the Journal of Naturopathic Medicine featuring articles on this aspect of practice. One such article compared the effects of crude botanical drugs such as powders, infusions, decoctions, and tinctures with isolated substances derived from the plants. Medicinal components are released more slowly from crude preparations which helps prevent side effects encountered with the sudden release of purified substances. So-called "inert" material plays a part in the therapeutic activity due to its effect on active principles, and so the complex mixture of substances acts differently as a whole than as isolated ingredients. Many of the active components in vegetable drugs such as enzymes may defy chemical analysis yet are indispensable in their own regard. Minute quantities of associated mineral components can also be of great importance. Standardization of botanical drugs to contain a spec ified percentage of active principle is the safe way to prescribe toxic botanicals precisely. Otherwise, unrefined botanical preparations should be preferred to chemically manipulated ingredients or synthetic equivalents.(62)

The most appropriate handling and use of botanicals depended on each individual plant. Harvest times for particular plants, appropriate preservation, and the optimal form for administration all require study. Digitalis should only be given in standardized, calculated doses because of the danger of overdosage. Since certain botanicals need to be given in liquid form, water and alcohol or glycerine were considered the most appropriate and useful solvents for extractions. Certain plants were preferably used green, while others needed to be dried.(63) Homeopathic tinctures made by macerating fresh plant parts in solvent were often found more effective when drying a botanical caused some loss of value. The method of using the fresh plant in tablets or pills was believed to warrant more investigation.(26) One naturopathic approach to botanical treatment was administration of solutions via the rectum or colon.(64)

Dr. Turska advocated an approach to botanical medicine prescibing which combined physiomedical-type formulas with a potent Eclectic activator. "We will treat the crude botanic substances in tincture form . . . .At all times when prescribing a certain so-called innocuous medicant, to hasten the action desired it is necessary to add a synergist of a more active botanical to obtain a desired end result . . . .It will be noted that some of the botanics are "toxic" in large doses.