I recently signed up for a monthly herbal medicine webinar that will cover herbal protocols for specific concerns as well new research in the field of herbal medicine. With the first webinar, I was reminded of some of the terms/actions that I love in herbal medicine. The term alterative means a substance that supports a gradual and beneficial change in the body/our health. To me, the definition of alterative sums up the goal of naturopathic medicine - with naturopathic medicine, we engage and support the body with gentle healing methods that slowly and steadily encourage the body/our health to move more towards. I also love the demulcent action of herbs. A demulcent herb coats and soothes the body tissues helping to reduce inflammation and support tissue healing. Interestingly demulcents herbs (when taken orally) only come in direct contact with the lining of the digestive tract, but through a reflex action in tissues that are embryonically similar to the digestive mucous membranes (which includes the lining of the lungs and the urinary tract), the demulcent herbs can also support and strengthen the health of the lungs and the urinary tract. The action of demulcent herbs gives an insight into the incredible wisdom and ability to work together that both our body and the herbs share.