The explosion of interest in herbal medicine over the past several years is shown by the publication of numerous books as well as periodicals and journals. One of the most unique journals intended for health professionals on the subject is the Protocol Journal of Botanical Medicine, the brainchild of its chief editor Ric Scalzo, a Massachusetts-based herbalist and owner/founder of Gaia Herbs.
Unlike most other professional journals, which usually report on the latest chemical, pharmacological, clinical, epidemiological and/or ethnobotanical research, as well as case histories and other random issues, this journal presents a synoptic view of various treatment modalities on a single condition or disease. For example, the current issue (Volume I, Number 3, Winter 1996) is primarily devoted to therapeutic approaches to the following conditions/diseases: benign prostatic hyperplasia, candidiasis, diabetes mellitus, nephrolithiasis (kidney stones), and peptic ulcer. Within each of these conditions are published treatments representing the following approaches, from various authors: allopathic (i.e., conventional medical) specific condition review, naturopathic treatment protocols, Eclectic medical treatments, Ayurvedic treatments, and traditional Chinese herbal treatment.
The current issue also contains monographs on licorice and saw palmetto as well as an extensive review article on plants with antidiabetic activity by Robin Marles and Norman Farnsworth (reprinted from N. R. Farnsworth and H. Wagner's journal Phytomedicine).
The benefit of the journal's unique approach is to present a practitioner (whether conventional, naturopathic, Chinese, etc.) with a more global perspective on treatment possibilities. This presents additional perspectives on ways to interpret both the diseases and conditions they are dealing with as well as enhanced treatment options, which would have been overlooked if the practitioner were dealing solely from within his/her own training. Hopefully, the net effect of the availability of the information in this journal will be enhanced healthcare options for both patient and practitioner alike, resulting in better healthcare for the patient.
Article copyright American Botanical Council.
By Mark Blumenthal