Modern medicine has its limitations. Ethno-pharmacology may be able to fill the gap between ancient healing and modern medicine.

Plants have been used for their healing properties since the dawn of civilization. In many parts of the world, plants and fungi remain the only medicines used to combat illness and disease. With health care and prescription drugs becoming increasingly expensive, natural medicines and treatments are becoming popular. According to Natural Market Institute, Americans spent over 19 billion dollars on sales of vitamin, minerals, and herbal and dietary supplements. States are beginning to legally recognize the potential of natural medicines. The state of California has recently made naturopathic medicine an official medical specialty.

What is Ethno-pharmacology?

Ethno-pharmacology is the study of how people derive medicines and treatments from natural sources, such as plants and animals. This involves studying the medicine of various cultures and creating treatments that benefit people. Traditional Chinese, Ayurvedic, and indigenous American medicines are becoming increasingly studied and medically accepted in recent years, creating a new branch of modern medicine.

Whereas modern medicine often diagnoses and treats symptoms, ethno-medicine can truly heal. The goal of naturopathic physicians is to heal and strengthen the body so it can fight ailments naturally. In ethno-pharmacology, treating the body’s immune system and general health is far more important than treating symptoms.

Does Ethno-pharmacology sound interesting?

Ethno-pharmacology training isn’t usually offered as a separate program of study. A good idea for those interested in this branch of pharmacology would be to attend a pharmacology school first. Then you can become ethno-pharmacology certified through continuing education programs.

There are several resources for continuing students of natural medicine and ethno-pharmacology certification, such as the Association of Natural Medicine Pharmacists (ANMP).

Ethno pharmacology opportunities are expanding quickly. Today there is a great demand for general pharmacists. As people increasingly rely on natural and herbal medicines, there is an even greater demand for people with ethno-pharmacology training and certifications.