As a young girl growing up in different areas of Florida, Daniela Scantlebury, a senior and pre-med biology major, was surrounded by holistic medicine. Her mom and dad, who grew up in Puerto Rico and Barbados respectively, adapted the practices they learned as adolescents and made them traditions for their own kids. Scantlebury’s grandmother made her dad and his siblings take castor oil, a pale, yellow liquid that comes from castor seeds (Ricinus Communis), to clean their systems of the garbage that accumulates. Scantlebury’s parents inspired her love for holistic medicine–and now she’s bringing that to UT.
“My dad used to buy books, little books about ways to really heal yourself from headaches or menstrual cramps, and from there I started researching, going on Google,” Scantlebury said. “Even visiting hospitals, I always asked if there’s a natural way of curing anything that I have or getting rid of anything my mom had, so it was a way of researching and seeing my parents kind of bring it into the home.”
Holistic medicine focuses on healing the individual as a whole in terms of the mind, body, spirit and emotions to achieve overall health and wellness. The holistic medicine philosophy, according to WebMD, states that “one can achieve optimal health — the primary goal of holistic medicine practice — by gaining proper balance in life.”
During her freshman year, the culmination of these experiences led Scantlebury to start a holistic student organization on campus called ANEW (Alternative and Natural Explorations of Wellness). She also spoke to her Gateways advisor, Lorie Kittendorf, about her interest in holistic health and Kittendorf pointed her in the direction of Gina Firth, the Associate Dean of Wellness. Firth hired Scantlebury as Student Coordinator of ANEW.
In order to get the word out about ANEW, Scantlebury did tabling, posted on ANEW’s Facebook page and went to campus events such as the energy fair and health fair that the Wellness and Nursing department hosts. She decorated her table with essential oils and t-shirts to showcase what holistic health means.
“[Scantlebury] truly loves helping students in areas that they may be struggling in through using holistic approaches,” said Addie Carothers, Wellness Coordinator. “Because of her internal motivation to know all that she can about holistic approaches to wellness through research and hands-on experience, combined with her passion about it, students are eager to learn about alternative options that they may not have known about before.”
Scantlebury advises some students to drink herbal teas such as goldenseal and echinacea to treat common colds and the flu.“Instead of buying a box of pills for $10 you can buy a box of tea for $4,” Scantlebury said. “That may be expensive for a box of tea, but when you add it up, how much more money are you spending? When you spend $4 on one box of tea, and then depending how well you ration it out, you aren’t going to be sick for a couple of years if you adapt it to your food, too.”
Additionally, Scantlebury said that people’s eating habits are a major factor in how they feel overall. Eating foods that are greasy with high cholesterol causes major illness and diseases, she said. We have a “Garden of Eden” available to us that we need to take advantage of, she said. “We have our fruits, we have our vegetables, we have our herbs, our plants and everything. Those are what were meant to cure us,” Scantlebury said.
She also credits her Seventh-Day Adventist beliefs with helping her grow as a human being and as someone who practices holistic health. She remembers being 8-years-old and asking God to heal her toothache. She said she gave him specific instructions: take out the tooth, don’t let it bleed and place it under her pillow. She woke up the next day to what she calls “the first miracle I’ve ever had in my life.” Everything she asked for came true, she said.
“All I want to do is create a domino effect of holistic health, making people healthy and happy and then genuinely have a good character that makes other people want to have that character too.Those are the two things I work with and have motivation for on this earth before I go.”
If you are interested in joining ANEW for a spa event, meet on September 19 in Brevard Community Room from 3 to 5 p.m.