The Clinician’s Handbook of Natural Medicine, 2 Edition
We are excited to see the continuing blossoming of natural medicine by many names. No matter the term used (e.g., integrative, holistic, or functional), the philosophical precepts kept alive in the culture by natural medicine physicians are informing and transforming medicine. Treating the person, rather than the disease, seems an obvious concept, yet it has struggled to be heard. As Dr. Bastyr taught us as students, “Despite the obstacles, the truth of our medicine will win out.”
The Clinician’s Handbook of Natural Medicine, second edition, was created as a companion to the Textbook of Natural Medicine, third edition. It was written for several audiences: students, clinicians, and researchers. For the busy clinician it provides concise guidance for the care of patients who may have one or more of over 80 of the most common diseases effectively treated with natural medicine.
Although Sections 4 and 6 of the Textbook provide an indepth discussion of the pathophysiology, causes, documented natural medicine interventions, and full references for these diseases, the Handbook provides only the most pertinent information needed for intervention for the typical patient. Together, these books provide the clinician with the best of both worlds: easily accessible advice for quick guidance, for the less complicated patient, and in-depth understanding when needed. (Of course, the Textbook also contains considerable additional information in its other four sections.)
For students, this resource helps them understand more deeply the patient who has the disease. One of the challenges for those learning natural medicine is the pitfall of “green drug” medicine; that is, simply substituting an herb or a natural therapy for the synthetic drug to treat the symptoms. Our best practice of medicine is to understand the true causes of disease and then to help the patient restore normal function. By carefully studying the unique flowcharts offered by the Handbook, the student can more profoundly understand the uniqueness of each patient. The guidance on when to refer to (or use, depending on the student’s training and licensure) more conventional approaches will also help the students recognize the limitations of natural therapies. For the researcher wanting to truly evaluate the efficacy of natural medicine, we hope the fl owcharts in the Handbook will help him or her progress beyond the false homogeneity of disease. Although the standardization of disease works for symptom relief– oriented health care, it is an oversimplifi cation and is inconsistent with the curative medicine we believe is possible. With recognition that multiple interventions are needed for each disease, depending on the patient, algorithms can be developed that lead to more accurate research on how we actually care for patients. Each chapter of the Handbook is composed of several parts: Diagnostic Summary, General Considerations, Flowchart, Therapeutic Considerations, and Therapeutic Approach. We believe that this format is unique, and we are unaware of any other textbook in which the fl owchart approach is used to provide guidance for integrative and natural medicine care.
The Flowchart separates the diagnostic and therapeutic deliberation into three phases: (1) determine the need for conventional intervention, (2) minimize obstacles to healing, and (3) tailor natural interventions to patient needs. The fi rst phase is provided to assist the clinician in understanding which patients may immediately require a more conventional intervention or whose condition has progressed beyond the capabilities of natural therapies. The other phases present the most relevant diagnostic and therapeutic differentiations needed to determine which cause(s) must be controlled and which interventions are needed to provide each patient highly personalized natural medicine care. Carefully following this thoughtfully constructed logic chain will effi ciently provide key therapeutic insights.
The astute reader may notice a few inconsistencies between the recommendations found in the Handbook and the Textbook. Because the Handbook was written approximately 3 years after the Textbook, we have worked to ensure that the latest research has been incorporated.
This second edition closely follows the format of the fi rst edition. The main differences are the inclusion of several additional diseases and a conceptual fl owchart showing the philosophical precepts of the “therapeutic order” to further assist the clinician’s understanding of where the patient is in the disease and healing process.
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|November 1, 2018|
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