Feeling good can make life a lot more enjoyable and throughout history people have sought out ways to achieve good health.
Holistic practitioners believe that the whole person is made up of interdependent parts and if one part is not working properly, all the other parts will be affected. In this way, if people have imbalances (physical, emotional, psychological or spiritual) in their lives, it can negatively affect their overall health.
Holistic healing considers the whole person (body, mind, spirit and emotions) in the quest for optimal health and wellness according to WebMD. The holistic medicinal philosophy is that one can achieve optimal health, by gaining proper balance in life in all four of the major areas.
A holistic doctor may use all forms of health care, from conventional medications to alternative therapies, to treat a patient. The treatment plan may involve traditional pharmaceutical drugs to relieve symptoms, but also lifestyle modifications such as diet changes and an exercise routine to help prevent and treat the ailment. The alternative modalities they may use are botanical remedies meant to treat ailments they feel serve the patient better than pharmaceutical drugs.
Penny Chabot, a holistic health practitioner and owner of Scarlett Halo located at 434 Main St. in Placerville, has been practicing holistic healing for 17 years. Chabot started in the holistic healing field as a reiki and massage therapist at the age of 19 and has evolved her knowledge to include herbal remedies that she now makes and sells online and in her store.
‚ÄúTo be honest I don‚Äôt see botanical practices or holistic healing as a new age concept at all because I believe these health approaches were the ‚Äėancient‚Äô or ‚Äėold‚Äô ways that practitioners like myself are just bringing back,‚ÄĚ Chabot said. ‚ÄúAs a society we forgot about these remedies in the recent past with pharmaceutical drugs becoming the accepted way to go. That is not meant to say that all pharmaceutical prescriptions or that modern medical science don‚Äôt have their effectiveness in many cases. But, I think it‚Äôs pretty clear to a lot of people with examples like the opioid epidemic there is another more natural path that can help.‚ÄĚ
Chabot has gained most of her wisdom in the field through healing herself from trauma as a child that culminated in addictions along with physical, emotional, psychological and spiritual ailments. She always had an interest in the metaphysical world that led her into holistic healing.
She used that curiosity to learn and create her own herbal remedies that assisted in healing herself. On her professional journey she created a proprietary mist called Aura Mist that she said has been effective for not only her, but many of her clients.
‚ÄúAura mist is a synergistic blend of crystal, flower essences and essential oils that you mist on around you that then enters your consciousness, thoughts, emotions and neural pathways,‚ÄĚ Chabot said. ‚ÄúThe result is an increase in vitality that can assist with things like anxiety, insomnia and depression. All the ingredients help to raise a person‚Äôs cellular energetic vibration, which science is beginning to prove is critical to overall health.‚ÄĚ
Chabot makes remedies in other forms like tinctures that are ingested by dropping the medicinal oil in the mouth and absorbed orally. Tinctures, a concentrated liquid herbal extract, are typically made by soaking herbs and other plant parts in alcohol or an oil base for weeks to extract the active constituents. After a period of weeks, the herbal mixture is strained and the herb parts are removed, leaving behind the concentrated liquid.
‚ÄúI currently make all my tinctures with organic herbal ingredients and the most popular is the Whole Body Elixir. It‚Äôs an oil-infused product that I like to think of as a nutrient infusion that is good for all ages,‚ÄĚ she said. ‚ÄúThe ingredients are all organic and include coconut oil, uva ursi herb, ginger, sea calcium, glutamine, bee pollen and silica.‚ÄĚ
Chabot said,¬†‚ÄúCBD tinctures are also something I sell and I make my CBD oil from the entire plant with glycerin-derived oil. Using the whole plant and right oil really helps to absorb quicker and increases its effectiveness.‚ÄĚ
Traditional herbal medicines are getting significant attention in global health debates. In China, traditional herbal medicine played a prominent role in the strategy to contain and treat severe acute respiratory syndrome (SARS) recently. According to the World Health Organization 80 percent of African populations use some form of traditional herbal medicine and the worldwide annual market for these products approached $60 billion in 2017.
Deborah Prock or ‚ÄúDr. Deb‚ÄĚ as she is known throughout El Dorado County is a naturopathic practitioner who has been in the field for 23 years. She has been at her current location at 484 Pleasant Valley Road, Suite 14, in Diamond Springs for 10 years.
Prock has an extensive education in the botanical and herbal medical field. Prock received an MA in herbology from the East West School of Planetary Herbology in the Bay Area and later became a doctor of naturopathy after attending Clayton College in Georgia for four years.
Prock has her own trademarked medicinal line called Dr. Deb‚Äôs Herbals. She purchases her 400 organic herbs mainly from Northern California.
‚ÄúIt‚Äôs important for people to know we can‚Äôt officially prescribe or diagnose patients because of laws in place. We currently educate people and give them options on when to use natural medicines and traditional medicines,‚ÄĚ Prock said. ‚ÄúI generally spend more than 300-500 hours a year updating my knowledge on how pharmaceutical medicine and natural medicine effects each other if someone is taking both.‚ÄĚ
Prock utilizes The American Herbalists Guild (AHG) as her guiding standard, which she compares to the American Medical Association (AMA) for traditional medicine. The AHG was founded in 1989 as a nonprofit, educational organization to represent the goals and voices of herbalists specializing in the medicinal use of plants. Their primary goal is to promote a high level of professionalism and education in the study and practice of therapeutic herbalism.
Prock echoed the thoughts of Chabot that traditional medicine and pharmaceutical drugs do have a place in treating people, but believes botanical and herbal modalities can also compliment and coexist alongside western medicine to optimize health for everyone.¬†
‚ÄúI have lymphocytic leukemia and I see a traditional doctor if it comes out of remission,‚ÄĚ explained Prock. ‚ÄúThere is definitely a place for traditional medicine. If someone came to me wanting to be cured of sepsis, a serious blood infection, I am going to tell them to go see a doctor and get on antibiotics to cure it.‚ÄĚ
Prock went onto explain she sees encouraging signs the traditional medical field is adapting holistic health approaches into their treatment routines, which to her is an obvious sign that the industry is being taken more seriously.
‚ÄúMedical facilities like Marshall, Kaiser and Sutter are integrating holistic healing methods into their overall treatments. We are seeing things like acupuncture and herbs becoming a part of their treatment plans slowly. I even have employees at major hospitals that refer people to me,‚ÄĚ Prock said. ‚ÄúIt‚Äôs not about there being two opposing ways, but about integrating them together because in the end where one medical approach might have weaknesses the other can have strengths. Combining them intelligently and safely can help in treating a patient to their best health possible. That should be the goal and our primary intent should be to do no harm always.‚ÄĚ
Prock, makes a variety of herbal blends with the specific intent and mixture of alleviating current ailments and illnesses. With each blend she provides her patients with information sheets on how much and what ingredients are in the herbal blend and what each herb‚Äôs specific function is in helping the patient‚Äôs body.¬†
‚ÄúIt‚Äôs important to educate the patient on exactly what they are taking and why,‚ÄĚ Prock said. ‚ÄúBeing as transparent as possible is very helpful to everyone involved in the process.‚ÄĚ
Cannabis (marijuana), once considered a ‚Äúgateway‚ÄĚ drug to many other drugs is being legalized across the nation and around the world for medical use. While cannabis has been considered by many in the holistic healing field to have medicinal properties, mainstream society and people who took medicine seriously, from a traditional standpoint, have resisted the use of it as legitimate medicine. That reluctance mainly stemmed from the psychoactive effects of the compound tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) that is responsible for the ‚Äúhigh‚ÄĚ feeling commonly associated with the plant. With scientists and doctors being able to isolate the chemical compounds that make up the cannabis plant, more research is showing that compounds like CBD have medical benefits and can be ingested without the psychoactive effects that kept many from using the plants medical benefits prior to the isolation of these compounds.
With medical and recreational cannabis being legalized in more states with every election cycle, Cannabidiol (CBD) oil, the medicinal compound that is derived from the cannabis plant, is being used for its medical benefits over traditional pharmaceutical drugs. In the United States, the cannabidiol drug Epidiolex was approved by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) in 2018 for treatment of two epilepsy disorders.
Since cannabis is currently a schedule one controlled substance in the United States, other CBD formulations remain illegal to prescribe for medical use or to use as an ingredient in foods or dietary supplements. It‚Äôs current designation as a schedule one controlled substance, along with other drugs like cocaine and heroin, prohibit tax dollars from being spent to research and develop its medical potential because that schedule one designation means the substance ‚Äúhas no medical benefits.‚ÄĚ
Kelly and Summer Chiusane, of Placerville and owners of Pure Life, a cannabis dispensary located at 537 Pleasant Valley Road, Suite 2, in Diamond Springs, have been in the medical cannabis industry since 2011. Kelly and Summer were living in Los Angeles prior to 2009 when Kelly wanted to get involved more seriously in the cannabis industry. Kelly wanted to start a family, but wanted to move north to so. They decided if they were going to make a living in the cannabis industry they needed to educate themselves further in the field. It was at this point they attended the popular Oaksterdam University in Oakland and completed the program with Summer being the valedictorian of her class in 2009.
‚ÄúI used cannabis when I was younger versus drinking like most of my friends,‚ÄĚ Kelly said. ‚ÄúIt just resonated with me and as I got older I realized how it could help people medically and that is why I wanted to pursue this path. I consider us part of the holistic healing and botanical world.‚ÄĚ
Kelly said that originally they started the business for a livelihood and to focus on helping people with ailments that were 65 and older. As Pure Life has grown and cannabis laws have changed, the demographics of his clientele has also changed. He said he now has clients that are 18 years old all the way to elderly patients with ailments ranging from insomnia and headaches to epilepsy and cancer.
‚ÄúI don‚Äôt believe botanical medicine and the holistic healing approach can cure or treat all illnesses, but I feel from experience first hand that botanical plants and things like CBD and cannabis can be a part of the equation in helping people,‚ÄĚ Kelly said. ‚ÄúI definitely believe there is a place for pharmaceutical drugs and while the current system is not perfect, I don‚Äôt believe traditional medicine is negative.‚ÄĚ
Kelly went onto explain that people have cannabinoid receptors on a cellular level that naturally absorb the CBD compound resulting in the benefits. According to the Mayo Clinic, while research supporting the drug‚Äôs benefits is still somewhat limited, that analysis is showing definitive evidence that CBD benefits conditions including Parkinson‚Äôs disease, schizophrenia, diabetes, multiple sclerosis, insomnia, depression and anxiety. Weedmaps and Science of Cannabis Labs also state CBD helps in preventive ways by promoting bone growth, reducing blockages in arteries and reducing the symptoms of psoriasis.
Pure Life has staff on hand that Kelly calls ‚Äúcannabis consultants‚ÄĚ that he and Summer train themselves to help guide medical cannabis users to find exactly the product they need for their health issues. They also have charts and reading material to assist with the transparency of what they offer with CBD and cannabis.
Society is increasingly looking for new ways to achieve optimal health through alternative methods. However, holistic healers and those using alternative plant-based treatments are quick to point they cannot offer medical advice or promise cures to their patients because of current laws existing in the health world. They also emphasize that before using alternative plant-based products that they consult with their doctor and health practitioner to ensure the safety of combining herbal remedies with traditional medications.