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One Health Expert and Author’s Journey into Natural Healing

by boiron on November 17th, 2012

We hope you enjoy this excerpt from holistic health expert Burke Lennihan’s new book, “Your Natural Medicine Cabinet: A Practical Guide to Drug-Free Remedies for Common Ailments.” In this guidebook, Lennihan describes her journey in natural healing and shares her recommended treatments for common ailments, as well as how to stock your medicine cabinet with homeopathic medicines and other natural alternatives.

I always wanted to be a doctor like my father. I came from a medical family: my father was a vascular surgeon who tested the very first Doppler ultrasound machine in his research lab, my mother was a biochemist who researched stains for Dr. Papanicolau while he developed the Pap smear, and my great-aunt was the chief nurse in the famous series of surgeries mapping the human brain. Dad was a sought-after speaker for stop-smoking groups, and he practiced his lectures on us at the dinner table complete with slides of gangrenous toes. (I never inhaled.)

But as an undergraduate I read Adelle Davis’ Let’s Eat Right to Keep Fit and discovered that chronic disease could be prevented, even treated, with healthy food and supplements instead of drugs and surgery. I became passionate about natural healing long before there were any schools offering professional training.

So it was that I graduated from Harvard and, in a truly unusual career move, opened a health food store. In search of answers for my customers’ questions — what do you have for sore throats? for urinary tract infections? for insomnia? — I read voraciously, attended seminars led by pioneering natural healers, and learned from my customers’ experience. In the shadow of Harvard and MIT, I had probably the most highly educated clientele of any health food store in the country.

One section of my store baffled me, however. I carried homeopathic remedies because people asked for them, but I found them mystifying. Very few customers seemed to know about them, but those who did reported amazing results.
Homeopathy seemed to be a secret club known only to its initiates. When I had my “ah-ha” moment, I saw first-hand what these homeopathy aficionados had been telling me about apparently miraculous results which actually followed the laws of an obscure science.On turning 40, I decided to pursue professional training in homeopathy. I wanted to master this arcane science not only to help individual clients with its safe and effective remedies, but more importantly to teach it widely in a simple and empowering way. I was fortunate to learn from Dr. Luc De Schepper, an internationally distinguished homeopath, and even more fortunate to help him found a school and write a handbook for home prescribers and a textbook for professionals. In the process I received the benefit of his accumulated experience from treating, in his long career and by his own estimation, more than 100,000 patients.

I now have the benefit of practicing homeopathy at the Lydian Center for Innovative Medicine in Cambridge, Mass. My colleagues include chiropractors, neuro-acupressure practitioners, a naturopath, and a craniosacral practitioner/Brain

Gym expert. Some of my colleagues are doing cutting-edge work in their fields, and we learn from each other as we share clients with challenging health problems. Our clients include Nobel laureates, professors at Harvard Medical School, physicians at Harvard teaching hospitals, and soloists at Boston Symphony Hall (or the families of these professionals). Many have done their own extensive internet search on their condition. I am humbled by how much my clients know about natural approaches to their health problems and I continue to learn from them.

In my own homeopathy practice since 1996, I have never forgotten my roots in my health food store. I recommend not only homeopathic medicines but also vitamins, herbs, changes in diet, perhaps another healing modality for my clients to pursue, and books to empower them by expanding their knowledge.

For those of you in the Philadelphia area, Lennihan will be at the local Barnes & Noble (150 Swedesford Road, Devon, Pa.) tomorrow from 12-3 p.m. for a book signing. “Your Natural Medicine Cabinet” is also available on Amazon. For more information, visit or email

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