When I integrate herbal medicine, I’m looking at bio individuality and genomics, I want to support the whole person’s health rather than targeting a symptom, per se. Watch our short video as Dr. Leslie Korn talks about Botanicals.
One of the ways that I organize my clinical work as an integrative medicine clinician specializing in mental health is through a concept, I call the brainbow blueprint. This is a way that I organize what I consider, really most all of the facets of treatment that I want to integrate.
Integrating herbal medicine: Integrate whole person support with symptom targets
When I integrate herbal medicine, I’m looking at bio individuality and genomics. I will do some genomics testing if my clients have the capacity to pay for that. Otherwise, we’ll look symptomatically at treatment. I want to support the whole person’s health rather than targeting a symptom, per se. I want to look at how do we help someone come into whole balance. When I’m looking at herbs, I want to ensure good quality. Are they wildcrafted? Are we gathering them ourselves and preparing them? Are they prepared according to traditional recipes, or the US pharmacopoeia or the British pharmacopoeia or the European Commission, which oversees worldwide standards for the development of herbal medicines?
Herbal Medicine Application
- Sleep Cognitive health
- Physical sequelae
I’d like to talk about the role of herbs for the treatment of PTSD, anxiety, depression, sleep, cognitive health, and the physical sequelae that go along with PTSD. A lot of my client base are people with complex trauma, not only the symptoms of depression, anxiety, insomnia, but GERD, addictions, chronic pain, autoimmune illness, all of these sequelae that originate in the exposure to adverse events in childhood, or chronic exposure.
I’ve divided some of our major categories of herbs into adaptogens. If we consider depression, I think that stress always precedes depression. I think we can look at this psychologically, but also biologically in the concept of allostatic load.
The adaptogens, it’s actually a term that comes out of a lot of the research that was done in the Soviet Union back in the 60s, really means adapt to stress by restoring biological capacity to cope and respond. They’re also called metabolic regulators because they help us adapt. They bring, like so much of what we do and integrative approaches, they bring us into balance and they supply what it is we need for that balance.
We note that a lot of people with trauma histories love their cannabis. Cannabis targets the memory receptors. Therefore, the short-term memory of trauma seems to be suppressed for short periods. In new interesting research among people with PTSD who don’t use cannabis, PTSD was significantly associated with a major recent major depression and suicidal ideation; people were seven times more likely to experience major depression. So, finding the right dose for the right treatment is, as in all treatment, central.