An Interview with Jody Noe: Naturopathic Doctor, Herbalist, & Inspiration

indigenous healers jodynoe naturopathic women healers of the world Jun 05, 2024
Dr. Jody Noe

The following is an excerpt from my award-winning documentary book Women Healers of the World to inspire you, an interview and feature of one of my favorite people, Dr. Jody Noehttps://www.hollybellebuono.com/women-healers-of-the-world

Getting to Know Jody

Jody Noé comes as something of a surprise: she says fun words like “moon-pauser” for women experiencing menopause and “empower ourselves” in her popular herbal medicine lectures—at the same time that she conducts research and designs clinical trials in random comparison studies with prescriptive intervention in stomatitis. An anomaly for our age and a true inspiration, Jody is a fascinating and successful woman and role model who combines two identities not often found together: as a traditional Cherokee and as a nationally renowned naturopathic doctor. 

Early in her career (as she would put it, in her hippie days), Jody approached her study of naturopathy with her arms held wide open: in addition to midwifery, she participated in California’s gay pride movement, worked with Harvey Milk in San Francisco, “went a whole different way with my own civil rights movement,” studied botany, ethnobotany, behavioral modification, psych nursing, plant science, exercise, nutrition, holistic nursing, healing touch, and working with the disabled. She thought it would be a straightforward path from Bachelor’s to Master’s to medical doctor, but she received a surprise soon after the completion of her studies that changed her life completely: the plants would not leave her alone. “I wanted zen in [my studies], I wanted all these things that didn’t really exist in the 80s as an integrative degree. But I realized I really wanted to study the plants. They kept calling me, ‘Just use me!’” Jody had to let go of her pre-conceived ideas of a mainstream career in order to heed to a spiritual calling. “I had a spiritual awakening because to go back to school, Spirit had to knock me over the head and said this is not what you’re supposed to do. You have to go back to school. That’s when I really started listening to Spirit; it was like a voice on the intercom, it was that clear.”

Jody didn’t want to listen at first; she tried to make outrageous deals, telling the Universe, get rid of my credit cards and then I’ll go back to school. “And that happened!” she says. “My credit cards got consolidated, so I said, Alright I’ll go back to school.” At the time, she was living hippie-like on an organic farm growing produce she sold to a local food co-op; it was off the grid and very alternative. One night she had a dream where Spirit told her that school was really the Reservation. It was completely unexpected as Jody had never had contact with a reservation, had not studied Native American practices or culture, and was only remotely aware that she might have Indian ancestry. She said to Spirit, “What reservation?!” But she decided to take a research trip to the Pamunkey and Mattiponi Reservations in Virginia. Intending her trip to be academic, she was surprised when she began cultivating relationships that led to spiritual education.

Jody’s Practice

Today, the first thing Jody tries to do in her busy Connecticut naturopathic practice is make the patient feel like family. “It’s very relaxed, sitting in comfortable chairs; we spend nearly two hours for the first visit and an hour for the second.” For cancer patients that includes labs, diagnostics, pathologies, treatments, what they do, what failed. But, Jody says, integrated into that scientific medical approach is diet, lifestyle, spirituality, the “hygienes” (sleep habits, stress habits, elimination, etc.). “It’s a very wholistic old-fashioned approach. If we need to do a physical exam or test we have time, and they also have time to talk to me, that’s why they want to come. I put it together physiologically, biologically, with biochemistry, and I prescribe with the top layer of my intuition guiding that. The spirituality of the plants comes in through that way. I could be talking to a patient about their diagnostic imaging and a plant might pop up right there, so I’ve learned to listen and say, oh that plant wants to be with this person, I’ve got to put this plant into their regimen. We’re blending the science and the spirituality. I call it spirit-mind-body medicine instead of mind-body-spirit medicine.”

Jody’s apothecary includes dried herbs, tinctures, essential oils, homeopathics, capsules, teas, whole herbs, combination therapies, aromatherapy, topicals, spirituals, ethnogens, and more, and she’s created databases for intensive client education. Her book The Textbook of Naturopathic Integrative Oncology includes a large section on nutrition, diet and medical botany where she looks at the constituents of the plants and their targeted affect on patients for cancer and their whole effect with the whole herb. “It’s really fascinating because everything that my indigenous elders have taught me [about herbs] has proven true with science.

To read more about Jody Noe and the other 21 amazing women healers I interviewed, see the book Women Healers of the World, available here, now celebrating its 10-year publication anniversary.

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