Skip to Main Content

Naturopathic Medicine Resources


Welcome to the Naturopathic Research Guide

This guide lists core historical texts, books and journals useful to naturopathic physicians (N.D.s) and others interested in natural medicine. It does not include core clinical, biomedical or nutritional resources, although virtually all N.D.s rely on such works and the library offers a high-quality, curated collection of them. Several of the books listed were self published and/or are out of print, but most are widely available.The Bastyr University Library has at least one copy or a subscription for all items.

As a complete system of care, naturopathic medicine is best identified by the philosophical principles that guide practitioners, rather than by specific therapies they may use. The six core principles of naturopathic medicine are:

  1. the healing power of nature (vis medicatrix naturae)
  2. first do no harm (primum non nocere)
  3. identify and treat the cause(s) (tolle causam)
  4. doctor as teacher (docere)
  5. treat the whole person (tolle totum)
  6. prevention (preventare)

Wellness and health promotion is an emerging principle.*

Naturopathic medicine has a long and venerable history, stretching from the origins of "nature cure" in 19th century Europe to the science-based flowering of today. The tenets of healthy living--whole foods, sunlight, exercise, joie de vivre--haven't changed much over the years, and foundational historical works have also been included.

*Pizzorno JE, Snider P, and Katzinger J. Naturopathic Medicine. In Fundamentals of Complementary and Alternative Medicine. St. Louis: Saunders Elsevier, 2011.

Research - Known Issues and On-going Debates

This introduction to some of the issues and on-going debates is intended to prompt further inquiry and critical evaluation of what you find – and don’t find – in the research. It is not a comprehensive overview of the field or the state of the research in the field. Librarians are available to help you explore the research, and help you answer questions about the context of that research. 

  • Naturopathic medicine is a blend of traditional and scientific knowledge.1 Some traditional medicine is passed down orally, or in anecdotal writing, while scientific knowledge relies on studies such as randomized controlled trials, and structured methods of dissemination, like journal articles.  
  • Fewer than half of the states, (22), the District of Columbia, Puerto Rico and the Virgin Islands have licensing regulations or registration laws for naturopathic physicians.2
  • There is discussion as to whether naturopathic medicine can be fully evidence based and what constitutes evidence.3.
  • EBM is often focused on RCTs and SRs as this type of evidence is at least risk of bias. There are many naturopathic modalities for which there is not yet a strong record of RCTs and SRs.  However, this does not preclude evidence-based approach to naturopathic medicine. The EBM approach encompasses the best available evidence, expertise of the clinician and patient values. In the case of naturopathic modalities, the best available evidence is inclusive of both traditional and scientific knowledge.3
  • The scientific evidence base of naturopathic medicine is small but growing, many of the studies are small and do not have a rigorous methodology; and there is ongoing debate as to the appropriateness of the RCT methodology for assessing individualized medicine.3
  1. National Center for Complementary and Integrative Health website. Naturopathy. 2017. Accessed April 4, 2021. 

  1. American Association of Naturopathic Physicians. Regulated States and Regulatory Authorities. Updated March 2021. Accessed April 6, 2021.  

  1. Ooi SL, Rae J, Pak SC. Implementation of evidence-based practice: A naturopath perspective. Complement Ther Clin Pract. 2016;22:24-28. doi:10.1016/j.ctcp.2015.11.004   



CA Campus Address: Library Bastyr University 4106 Sorrento Valley Blvd. San Diego, CA 92121 Phone:(858) 246-9714 | Email: | Text:(425) 947-2486

WA Campus AddressLibrary Bastyr University 14500 Juanita Dr NE Kenmore, WA 98028 |  Phone:(425) 602-3020 | | Text:(425) 947-2486 | Chat: Chat with a Librarian

 Bastyr Library content may be used, remixed, tweaked, and built upon non-commercially, as long as BU is credited, and new creations are licensed under the identical terms.