Gemmotherapy is a little known aspect of Phytotherapy that uses extracts of buds, young shoots, spouts, rootlets or inner bark instead of parts of the grown, mature plant.
Created first in Belgium by Dr. Pol Henry, it was popularised in France and the rest of Europe by Dr. Max Tetau and Dr. O. A. Julian, homeopaths. At first, Pol Henry called it “Phytoembryotherapy”; it was renamed Gemmotherapy by Tetau, meaning “bud therapy”.
Its principle is based on the hypothesis, later confirmed by experience, that buds contain all the informative energy needed to develop full grown plants and trees. Being embryonic organs, they contain what Pol Henry called the Potential Biologic Energy, which is the anabolic ability of the embryonic cell.
The buds have an area of indifferentiated cells that multiply quickly (merismatic area); that area never dies; it is from there that every year new leaves are created. It contains more nucleic acids than any other part of the plant, as well as minerals, oligoelements, vitamins, enzymes and the plant’s growth factors or growth hormones: auxins and giberrelins.
Gemmotherapic extracts have precise biological actions, as we will see later: Ribes Nigrum stimulates the corticosurrenales, Betula Pubescens stimulates granulopoiesis, Rosemarinus Officinalis is a choleretic and protects the liver against CCl4 toxicity, Crataegus buds combine the medicinal activity of the fruit (heart muscle) and the flower (heart rate).
It is clear that the therapeutic effect of the bud combines and concentrates the totality of the effects found in different parts of the adult plant as used in conventional phytotherapy. At equal weight, buds are more concentrated in active principles, contain ALL of the active ingredients and have an increased activity when compared to regular tinctures.
Although each remedy has specific actions and specific targets, the main aim of Gemmotherapy is said to be cellular detoxification and drainage. Healing starts at the cellular level and no healing can occur when cellular functions are blocked due to toxic load. On the organ level, the specific gemmotherapics stimulate the proper functioning of the organs and start their repair. Gemmotherapy can be used as a stand-alone, associated with or more frequently as a preparatory phase for other treatments.
Galenics: Buds are used in most of the remedies, but also young shoots, spouts, radicles, rootlets, young leaves or the inner bark. They are macerated in a 50/50 mix of glycerin and alcohol, allowing for total extraction of all the active ingredients.
The macerate is then diluted to 1X (1:10) in a mix of water-alcohol-glycerin and succussed. This allows a more precise prescription and avoids some intolerances that can happen with a highly concentrated extract; on the other hand, it compels the patient to have large doses, from 20 to 100 drops TID ($$$$$).
Dr. Joseph (Joe) Rozencwajg, MD, PhD, NMD, was born in Brussels, Belgium in 1951. He graduated from medical school (the Free University of Brussels) in 1976 and went on to fulfill his childhood’s dream: to become a surgeon. He studied General Surgery in Belgium and Israel, then Thoracic and Cardiovascular Surgery in Alberta, Canada.
Back in Brussels and while in private practice, he had a personal encounter with Acupuncture that sent him back to school, this time to study Acupuncture; from then on there was no turning back and he became a compulsive student of natural medicine, learning Homeopathy, Herbalism, TCM, Nutrition, Homeobotanical Medicine, Flower Remedies, Aromatherapy, Naturopathy, Reiki and others. He has a PhD in Homeopathy and one in Natural Medical Sciences as well as a Doctorate in Naturopathy.
He was a Lecturer in Medical Diagnostics at the Faculty of Chiropractics and Homeopathy in Durban, Natal, South Africa and a Lecturer in Homeopathy at the Israel Medical College of Homeopathy in Jerusalem. Dr. Joe lives now in New Plymouth, Taranaki, New Zealand where he practices exclusively Natural Medicine at his clinic, Natura Medica Ltd. Dr. Roz is the author of “Dynamic Gemmotherapy”, available at www.lulu.com (just type the title in the search box.)