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The Eclectics and their contributions to naturopathic medicine

How did the eclectics contribute to the development of naturopathic medicine in the 19th and 20th century? This article explains further.
The eclectics used a mix of chemically-based treatments and herbal medicines.
© Courtesy of Pixabay 2023.

The eclectic practitioners of the 19th and 20th century contributed to advancing the naturopathic scope of practice.

Before the emergence of naturopathic medicine, the Eclectics were a branch of American conventionally trained practitioners interested in using natural treatments for treating disease and illness. During their time, conventional medicine took off, and conventional practitioners, that is, general doctors, elevated over Eclectic practitioners. Eclectic medicine focused on non-invasive treatments and approaches, and it became very popular during the 19th and 20th centuries. Eclectic practitioners were determined to develop distinct herbal medicine approaches to care. Dr. Wooster Beach led the reform for Eclectic medicine and supported the idea that herbal medicines were effective and should be used in patient care instead of pharmaceutical or conventional medicines.

The Eclectics primarily focused on using herbal medicines and other natural compounds in clinical practice. The Eclectics primarily focused on using herbal medicines and other natural compounds in clinical practice, which contributed to the discovery of natural treatments and are still used in naturopathic clinical practice today. Around the mid-19th century, eclectic medicine was gaining further interest from conventionally trained practitioners, which resulted in the development of the Eclectic Medicinal Institute, where several well-regarded Eclectic practitioners advanced herbal medicine knowledge by focusing on how herbs worked in the human body, how they can be manufactured, and how they can be applied in clinical cases.

There is a long list of Eclectics who contributed to the knowledge base of various natural treatments, noting that some of these treatments have since been identified as unsafe, or are now utilised in different forms and dosages based on contemporary scientific knowledge, or others that have continued to be researched and used in clinical practice. Some critical work that was developed included the famous text from 1898 – King’s American Dispensary, by Harvey Felter and John Uni Lloyd. Others who contributed to various works included Dr John Scudder, a colleague of John King – who was leading the way in discovering concentrates of herbal medicines and their constitutions. John Scudder made notable contributions to eclectic medicine by developing a method of single herbal medicine prescriptions in small amounts, which was published in his text in 1870 titled Specific Medication. While many have contributed to various texts and knowledge sources, eclectic John Uri Lloyd influenced his work on understanding herbal medicine.

This video provides the main contributions that John Uri Lloyd provided to the naturopathic profession through his work as an eclectic pharmacist and leader of the eclectic profession.

This is an additional video, hosted on YouTube.

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Fundamentals of Naturopathic Medicine

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