Comparing Various Natural Health Therapies

Descriptions of Natural Therapies and


Herbalists are usually trained to identify and collect plants and may use plants in a variety of ways including: for first aid and medicine in the form of poultices, compresses, salves, teas, tinctures, and so forth.

Herbalists strictly use herbs and usually make their own herbal tinctures/extracts and other plant medicinal preparations like teas, salves and poultices. Tincture/extracts are herbs that have been macerated in a mixture of alcohol and water and then strained. The tincture is not diluted
further and all of the active chemical constituents of the plant are left in the liquid. Glycerin may also be used to tincture if alcohol is not desirable.

Herbalists may prescribe further nutritional diet, vitamin/mineral supplementation, but liquid forms of consumption are preferred over pills because they absorb better depending on the condition.

Herbalists do not give needle injections or use animal parts for medicine. Traditional Chinese Medicine herbalists and other cultural herbal modalities may use animal products and minerals, but many herbalists tend to stick to vegetable matter only.


Aromatherapy is a natural therapy that uses essential oils. Essential oils are aromatic water-insoluble oily liquids that are derived from single botanical sources including herbs, seeds, fruit
peels, berries, roots, resins, wood and branches. They are extracted using a
variety of methods, the primary extraction method being steam distillation. In
this method steam is driven through the plant material and condensed until the
water, also known as a hydrosol, is separated from the oil soluble parts.

The origins of aromatherapy date back centuries. The use of plants and herbs is the
oldest method of healing disease, alleviating pain and beautifying the body.

The main difference between Aromatherapists and Aromatologists is that Aromatherapists are taught how to apply essential oils in massage applications, aromatologists tend to focus on making products.

TCM- Traditional Chinese Medicine

Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM) has the oldest records of plant medicines, which is no surprise considering paper was invented in the Orient. Shen Nong’s Herbal Classic is a 2000-year old book that has the earliest Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM) documentation about plant medicine. TCM has developed over thousands of years and incorporates the use of plants, minerals and animals for medicinal purposes.

All herbs are usually used dried and some are made into powders, and are prescribed as teas. Acupuncture, acupressure, tuina massage and wuxing (the five elements) are also a part of the energetic philosophy of TCM. Acupuncture and acupressure work with the meridian energy system. Acupuncture uses needles, and acupressure is performed by touching with the hands along the meridian pathways in the body. Tuina is a form of massage that encompasses pressure points and all are based on the philosophy of the five elements, which is a model that serves as a diagnostic tool.


Homeopathy is a relatively new natural therapy. It was invented in 1796 by a German physician named Samuel Hahnemann. It uses minerals and plants that are highly diluted and shaken, in a
process called succession and dilution. The water that the plant or mineral is macerated in is diluted over and over again until there is only a trace amount left in the liquid water. The liquid is then dropped onto small sugar and lactose pills and consumed orally. Homeopathy follows the philosophy of the principles that “like will cure like,” meaning that if a plant can cause a
fever then if you have a fever it will cure the fever.

Although there has been a lot of controversy over homeopathy and whether there are enough active ingredients in the pills to make it work. There is still controversy about if water contains memory, but there is an imprint of the remedy even though it is in very small amounts.

his is vibrational medicine that works on an energetic level.
More research does need to be done into the placebo effect.

Flower Essences

Flower essences work on the same principle as homeopathy although liquid is used instead of sugar lactose pills.

The Bach Flower remedies are the most popular flower essences, named for Edward Bach. He placed flowers in a bowl of water with a small amount of brandy in it, and let it sit in the sun and then strained the liquid for use with emotional disturbances such as shock. The essences are not diluted as much as the homeopathy pills but are diluted more than herbal liquid tinctures/extracts.


Naturopaths can encompass a wide range of services. They incorporate a TCM approach and may use acupuncture or may do chiropractic work. Naturopaths prescribe a lot of nutritional vitamin and mineral pill supplementation and may give vitamin needle injections.

Naturopaths usually sell their own herbal pills and vitamin pill supplements, or will send you to buy
your own herbs to make tea. Some Naturopaths will send you to an herbalist to
get an herbal formula or will buy tinctures from an herbalist.

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