Archive for the 'Herbalism' Category

Traditions in Western Herbalism Conference Update

Monday, April 26th, 2010

Still working on classes but I thought I should pass this along.  I am so excited to see the list of classes and intensives available.    For more information about this conference visit: http://www.traditionsinwesternherbalism.org

Featured Speaker Class Descriptions

7Song

Adventures in Wildcrafting -Tales of gathering plants around the United States. This will be a combination storytelling class as well as practicalities of gathering plants. Tales include run-ins, injured body parts, and the exultation of finally finding a gatherable amount of the plant one seeks

How Herbalists can Integrate with Integrity - Herbalists are one of the last health care modalities that remains unlicensed. This has both positive and negative attributes associated with it. This class explores some of our options as herbalists to bring our unique set of skills and medicines to a wider audience. It will draw heavily from my 5 years working at a mixed modality (conventional and holistic) free clinic in my hometown as well as other places I have volunteered. A large piece of this class will be devoted to answering attendee’s practical questions about their personal situations and how they can bring their skills forward.

Plant Walk -On this walk we would meet local plants and discuss the importance of botanical characteristics (an examination of their individual parts), the plants’ relationships with other plants, ethical and practical ways of wildcrafting species we see, plants from other areas that have similar uses, and real-life clinical applications. Plus any good story that comes to mind.

Paul Bergner

Vitalist Principles of Herbal Medicine - Description Coming Soon

The Vitalist Actions of Herbs - Description Coming Soon

Howie Brounstein

Skullcap, A Tonic Nervine - A discussion of nervines in general will begin this class. This will lead into Skullcap’s specific indications and contra-indications illustrated with colorful case histories, as well as the ecology and specifics of a number of western Scutellaria spp.

GI Tract Protocol - The GI tract protocol can be used for normalizing varied types of chronic digestive problems. Many clients have compromised GI tracts from a fast food vegan or other extended elimination diets, protein deficiencies, or multiple nutritional deficiencies. Symptom pictures range from full-blown chronic fatigue symptoms to multiple food sensitivities and brain fog. I will discuss the details of the protocol sprinkled liberally with case histories.

Charles Garcia

Hispanic Herbalism - The Hispanic healing traditions of California, incorporating the herbal use of other cultures within the Latino experience. California Hispanic herbalism differs from the Mexican or Tejano, or Southwest traditions due to the various native and foreign cultures which helped form it. It is unique in herbal use and in some spiritual concepts of healing.

Guerilla Herbalism - Street herbalism through helping the homeless, impoverished, and under insured, often under dangerous conditions. Can you devise a small but comprehensive herbal kit? Learn how. Do you know what conditions the homeless generally suffer from? Learn how to stabilize and treat it. Afraid of the street? Learn what time of month is the safest. Can you make allies? Who are they. Are you too idealistic? Find out. Street herbalism. It is not romantic, but it can be a rush.

Rosemary Gladstar

Foundations of Women’s Health - Description Coming Soon

Giving Back - Rosemary Gladstar, renowned herbalist and founder of United Plant Savers, talks at length about the importance of giving back to the natural world that provides the plants we use for medicine, and that imparts the wisdom needed now more than ever in these trying times. Recounting the very personal story of her own life and work, experiences and revelations, this fairy godmother of herbalism encourages us to ever more sweetly love what we do, as well as to act powerfully on behalf of the people, plants and planet that we love

Jesse Wolf Hardin

The Calling - with Jesse Wolf Hardin and Carlos Lomas- A brief tribute to the diverse western healing traditions, to the many generations of empowered community healers, and to all of us who any way heed the heart’s call to help and to heal…

Into the Green -Jesse Wolf Hardin will be joined by the musicians of Arborea and/or Rising Appalachia in weaving a special evocation of our heartful and biological connection to the wondrous plant world, telling the tale of this amazing relationship while musically delivering us to our personal place of wonderment and purpose

An Ecology of Healing: Health as Wholeness and Balance - Taught by Kiva Rose and Jesse Wolf Hardin, this class will be an in-depth exploration of healing as the body’s natural effort to be whole and in balance. Special focus will be placed on of the body as a dynamic ecosystem instead of a battlefield. Included are foundational elements of working with the whole person and the whole plant rather than isolating or compartmentalizing either human or herb. Tips and practical information will be provided on how to integrate the ecological perspective into an herbal practice and how to work towards healing based primarily on nourishment rather than intervention or conflict.

Phyllis Hogan

Secrets of the Sisterhood

For women only! We want to feel comfortable and uninhibited in this sharing circle so we can fully embrace our femaleness: from maiden, mother, to crone. We will discuss changes we experience as we journey through this life, and the plants that assist us along the way. We will learn about women’s traditions in Southwest cultures, and the important roles they play. We’ll talk about spirit plants and how they relate to feminine healing, and burn aromatic smudges and smokes, discovering how their daily use can empower us. We will learn and use herbs for everything from luscious skin, to lustrous hair, to yoni health. We’ll discuss herbal bathing and experience facial steams, fruit and honey face-masks, hair care vinegars and oils. Join us for laughter, prayer, frivolity and especially flowers, roots, seeds and stems at this full on experience for women healers from all tribes and walks of life.

Sending Your Voice Singing

The Original Divine Sound, which originated from the Supreme Sovereign, continuously without break reverberates throughout the hearts of the entire macrocosm and microcosm.” — Maharishi Mehi Paramahansa Ji

All of life is energy, vibration, light and sound. Let’s send our voice singing so the plant spirits hear us! Bring your favorite instruments, songs, offerings, prayer satchels, and voices to this interactive workshop where we will share with each other our Sacred Songs. We will start off talking about how to approach collecting our own plant medicines- with a clear heart and good intentions. We will learn about how different native tribes collect plants in respectful and honorable ways, with songs and prayer. We’ll look at plants the way traditional elders do- as living spirit entities who are eager to communicate with us. We’ll conclude with group sharing of our favorite songs that honor Mother Earth and Father Sky, the rivers, mountains, and plants. Aho!

Phyllis Light

To Be Announced

Jim McDonald

Foundational Herbcraft & Talking With Plants (with Kiva Rose) - A common sense look at how plants speak to use through our senses, and what they’re communicating. Jim and Kiva will explore the underlying elements of traditional western herbalism, including sense-based herbal energetics, primary herbal actions and ways of integrating these essential components into an effective healing practice.

Differentiating Diaphoretics - While people commonly think of diaphoretics as “herbs to use during fevers to make you sweat”, this is a limited understanding of an immensely important class of herbs that is as, if not possibly more, important than other classes of immune herbs that boost while blood cell production or kill microbes. Join Jim McDonald in an exploration of the fundamental role of diaphoretics in immunity, and how they can be used to support and enhance the body’s vital response to infections from influenza to the common cold. Special attention will be paid to the differentiation and use of diaphoretics that stimulate, relax or do both at once.

Kiva Rose

Foundational Herbcraft & Talking With Plants (with Jim McDonald) - A common sense look at how plants speak to use through our senses, and what they’re communicating. Jim and Kiva will explore the underlying elements of traditional western herbalism, including sense-based herbal energetics, primary herbal actions and ways of integrating these essential components into an effective healing practice.

An Ecology of Healing: Health as Wholeness and Balance - Taught by Kiva Rose and Jesse Wolf Hardin, this class will be an in-depth exploration of healing as the body’s natural effort to be whole and in balance. Special focus will be placed on of the body as a dynamic ecosystem instead of a battlefield. Included are foundational elements of working with the whole person and the whole plant rather than isolating or compartmentalizing either human or herb. Tips and practical information will be provided on how to integrate the ecological perspective into an herbal practice and how to work towards healing based primarily on nourishment rather than intervention or conflict.

Matthew Wood

Clinical Skills - Learn to evaluate energetic conditions (hot, cold, damp, dry, tense, relaxed etc.,) by complexion, tongue and pulse examination and simple questions. How to take a case, where to begin, what to treat. The four pillars of evaluation and treatment - 1) energetics, 2) organ systems, 3) action and 4) specific indications.

Herbs for the Muscular & Skeletal Systems - Herbal treatment of locomotor injuries, problems of aging, arthritis, gout, lyme disease and more.

Food, Energetics and Nourishment Online Intensive

Friday, April 9th, 2010

I am so excited to be registered for the following course and thought I would share the information with readers.   Be sure to contact Darcey if you are interested.   I would love to take a class with you…

Join Herbalist, Nutritionist, and food lover, Darcey Blue French of Brighid’s Well Herbs for a 6 week online intensive course on the energetics of food, true nourishment, nutrition, relationship with place and food, nutritional healing and more. www.brighidswellherbs.com

May 3, 2010 - June 21, 2010*Learn about the ways traditional healing systems such as Ayurveda and Chinese Medicine see food energetics, and use food as healing tools on a day to day basis.
* Explore your relationship with food, your body, what you eat and why.
* Discover your natural physical constitution, and how you can use food to help you stay balanced.
* Be prepared for a deep exploration of food and our relationship to it, this can be uncomfortable and emotional, as well as enlightening and sensual. Food is a deeply influential factor in our psyche, social interactions, and cultures. All students are expected to be sensitive to others and compassionate and respectful.
*Appropriate for food enthusiasts & practitioners alike.
*Very HANDS ON, expect to be preparing foods, meals and weekly assignments for the duration of the course. This is an EXPERIENTIAL class, not just book work. I will provide resources and readings, but the bulk of the work will require the actual preparation and consumption of food.
* This is not a cooking how to class. You should feel comfortable cooking and working in your kitchen. There will be recipes and ideas shared during class discussion, and pointers and questions are always acceptable.
*Requires access to e mail and the internet on a weekly basis. Class discussion is a part of the learning process. Arrangements may be available for those with limited access. Please inquire.Sliding scale $60-$80 per student, payable by check or paypal. Payment in installments is available by request.Please register by emailing Darcey at shamana.flora@gmail.com

About the Instructor:
Darcey Blue French is an herbalist and food lover, who has over the years explored various ways of eating, interacting with food and preparing food. Educated as a Clinical Nutritionist at the North American Institute of Medical Herbalism in 2008, she has been in private practice since that time. She has experience in Ayurvedic Cooking, Vegetarian, Allergen Free, Primal/Paleo diets and the philosophies of Dr. Weston Price. Food is far more than fuel, and Darcey is passionate about food that not only nourishes the body, but also the spirit, and tastes wonderful too. She works closely with plants, both wild and cultivated that provide both food and medicine. She is an avid forager of wild foods, gardener of organic vegetables, and is passionate about local and sustainable food systems, and how our relationship with the land, nature and wilderness impacts our physical and spiritual health and wellbeing. She truly believes that one cannot separate the health of the people from the health of the ecosystem in which they live.

Intense, vibrantly wild and alive!

Paul Bergner on Sugar, High Fructose Corn Syrup and Agave Syrup

Tuesday, April 6th, 2010

Due to the fact that I am working on my last three weeks of the semester while my husband is on a business trip,  I have decided to re-post articles worthy of being passed along. This was originally passed along in an e-mail but I felt it was important to share, and Paul said that it was okay to “circulate freely” I  know many people reading my blog are just beginning to think about making lifestyle changes and I thought this offered some insight as to why you might want to start cutting back on your sugar intake.   According to Paul,  the average American takes in 160 pounds of HFCS a year!  We cut back our sugar intake drastically and eliminated HFCS from our daily diet years ago, and after reading this I am sure we made the right decision .
For those who are not familiar with the name,  Paul Bergner is the director of the North American Institute of Medical Herbalism in Boulder, Colorado which  offers introductory, advanced, and clinical training in medical herbalism and clinical nutrition in the vitalist tradition.   Distance Education classes are also available.  NAIMH also publishes a quarterly journal for clinical herbalists:  Medical Herbalism
For those interested in more information,  please check out the websites above you will find a wealth of information.

<meta name="GENERATOR" content="OpenOffice.org 3.2 (Win32)" /><style type="text/css"> <!-- @page { margin: 0.79in } P { margin-bottom: 0.08in } --></style></p> <p style="margin-bottom: 0in"> <p><strong>Paul Bergner on Sugar, High Fructose Corn Syrup and Agave Syrup</strong></p> <p style="margin-bottom: 0in"><font face="Garamond, serif"><font size="4">The short answer is that yes, agave “nectar” is that bad, the longer answer below. Although Mercola is a little distasteful in his sensationalism, what he says in this case is true. In nature typically in a piece of fruit, the sugar is a mixture of sucrose (glucose bound to fructose), free glucose, and free fructose. “Free” isn’t really accurate, because its all tied up with fiber. If we would fill our bellies with fruit we would still only get a relatively small amount of free fructose. If we digest starch that has fructose in the chain of sugars in the starch, that is really slow. The result is that in the Krebs Cycle, the entrance of glucose into the cycle is highly regulated by enzymes, when ATP is adequate to high, if forms a brake on the glycolysis pathway, but fructose, on the one hand, enters the cycle one step below the control point. Historically, anthropologically, evolutionarily, we didn’t need to evolve a control on the fructose metabolic pathway. If the natural pathway for glycolysis is like water rushing down a white water canyon, with a dam at the bottom to prevent flooding, the natural fructose pathway is like a small stream that enters -below- the dam with no control on it. because no control was necessary during our evolution.</font></font></p> <p style="margin-bottom: 0in"><font face="Garamond, serif"><font size="4">So sucrose is broken into one glucose and one fructose when digested. Even though digestion of the disaccharide to the monosaccharides take some time and acts as a partial brake, because the extracted sugar is very concentrated, compared to eating a naturally sugary food, the glucose and fructose surge in the system. The glucose enters the controlled glycolysis pathway, but the fructose bypasses it, and floods the Krebs cycle and the related fat-building pathway in large amounts, symbolically like a -flood- into those pathways below the control point in glycolysis. Humans have no natural mechanism to deal with this, so the liver does 3 things, start making a lot of of fat and, if chronic, increasing the enzymes that manufacture fat, reduce the production of ATP via the Krebs cycle, and become resistant to the effects of insulin which would otherwise tell the liver to stop releasing glucose into the system. Current scientific  thinking on the adverse metabolic effects of sugar, the cluster of diseases that appear when the sugar trade emerges in a region, is that the overfeeding of the fructose pathway and the resulting consequences are responsible for the insulin resistance and obesity. Glucose is not the culprit. </font></font></p> <p style="margin-bottom: 0in"> <p style="margin-bottom: 0in"><font face="Garamond, serif"><font size="4">So . . . in the 70s the industry introduces high fructose corn syrup into the food supply. Most of it seems much like sucrose, 45 percent glucose and 55 percent fructose, not all that different. The problem is that in HFCS, the fructose is -free- it does not have to be split from sucrose, and is not bound to fiber. Now it literally floods into the liver with a much more devastating effect. A few years ago, the lead article in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition proposed the introduction of unbound liquid fructose into the food supply as -the- cause of the epidemic of obesity and diabetes that began to manifest around 1980 and continues to expand today. Free liquid fructose appears to be benign or even beneficial because there is no spike of glucose, or even of insulin after ingesting it. There is instead a spike of fat in the form of triglycerides, but no one notices that (only fasting TG are even measured in routine lab tests). And as the liver adapts to habitual use of sugar or fructose, -then- insulin resistance is increased and insulin and glucose rise to higher levels than before and the individual becomes pre- or full blown diabetic. By the way overloading the fructose pathways also produces elevated uric acid and can cause gout. </font></font></p> <p style="margin-bottom: 0in"> <p style="margin-bottom: 0in"><font face="Garamond, serif"><font size="4">The process for making HFCS is to chemically strip the sugars off of the starch in corn, freeing them up. The process of making of agave nectar is similar (this is not agave sap), but the sugars are chemically stripped off of inulin starch, inulin being a fructo-oligosaccharide, having fructose as the dominant sugar in the chain, so the agave nectar might be 80-90% free fructose instead of 55% like the HFCS in soft drinks. Thus sugar is bad, HFCS is really bad, and Agave nectar is way worse than HFCS. </font></font></p> </blockquote> </div> <p class="postmetadata">Posted in <a href="http://naturallysimple.org/blog1/category/herbalism/" title="View all posts in Herbalism" rel="category tag">Herbalism</a>, <a href="http://naturallysimple.org/blog1/category/health/" title="View all posts in Health" rel="category tag">Health</a> | <a href="http://naturallysimple.org/blog1/2010/04/06/paul-bergner-on-sugar-high-fructose-corn-syrup-and-agave-syrup/#respond" title="Comment on Paul Bergner on Sugar, High Fructose Corn Syrup and Agave Syrup ">No Comments »</a></p> </div> <div class="post"> <h3 id="post-303"><a href="http://naturallysimple.org/blog1/2010/03/30/everything-old-is-new-again/" rel="bookmark" title="Permanent Link to Everything Old is New Again…">Everything Old is New Again…</a></h3> <small>Tuesday, March 30th, 2010</small> <div class="entry"> <p><img align="top" style="width: 280px; height: 387px" src="http://www.naturallysimple.org/blog1/images/fda_poster.jpg" /></p> <p><span style="font-style: italic">      1940’s Local Foods Poster</span></p> <p>I was listening to an NPR report recently on the cyclical nature of these “credit crises” in the history of the US economy and was struck by something the expert being interviewed mentioned.   He spoke at great length  about the “short attention span” of the collective American public which is something I have watched over my lifetime with great interest.</p> <p>I like to think that my childhood was unique but honestly there are a great number of folk out there who grew up in a very similar manner to me.   However,  I do think that I might be unique in the fact that I fairly young to have grown up churning my own butter and stoking the woodstove to bake the bread and stay warm.  My family is a bit of an anomaly.    My grandparents, my parents and myself really haven’t cycled through many of societies fads, especially where food is concerned.      Until I was fifteen and we moved off the farm,  I don’t think I had ever eaten much food that we didn’t raise  and prepare.    Even  though that changed a bit when my parents moved us to town, my family hung on to a great deal of that lifestyle.   We bake most of our own food from scratch,  we garden and we preserve<br /> what we grow.   Any given August you will find all of our households bustling with the activities of harvest and preservation.  I have really never known anything different.   So it is with a little bit of bemusement that I watch the latest explosion of the back-to-the land movement because I really never left it.</p> <p>I often forget when someone spends hours demonstrating how to make a loaf of bread that this really is a skill that has been lost somewhere along the way, not just something people don’t do because they don’t have time.    I giggle when we make homemade macaroni & cheese to take someplace and it is viewed as some sort of accomplishment because in my family that is pretty standard fare.</p> <p>There is a point to all of this.  Herbalism is newer to me than the natural family living.   I  suppose I started the path about fifteen years ago although I have only been studying seriously about six years (around the same time I started blogging).   But as soon as I started reading,  I recognized it as kindred to the way I grew up and was familiar with a lot of the teachings although they hadn’t been presented to me as “medicine”.   The  connections were there and as I read through the history of herbalism,   I recognized how the little resurgences in the “natural living” movement always coincided with a new generation of herbalists.   I have also  seen throughout my parents’ lifetime and mine what a short attention span the American public has for lifestyle changes that require effort.  I can’t help but wonder what this generation of herbalists can do to keep this “resurgance” alive.</p> <p>Some acquaintances of mine discovered permaculture within the last fewyears and they spread the gospel according to Toby Heminway from the rooftops.  Their intensity and passion  is inspiring although I think they tend to put the cart in front of the horse.   Society is not going to move from the Big Mac to “fruit tree guilds” as their main source of nutrition without some sort of transition stage.   So, while  I  think that the intensity is wonderful,   at the same time I have seen that  radical change tends to intimidate people into inaction.  How then do we slowly edge people towards positive, permanent change?   How do we keep the message of the websites of today from being lost in a internet archive in the same way the poster above was lost in a file cabinet?</p> <p>I honestly am not sure of the answers but I thought I would throw the question out there as it is rumbling around in the back of my brain.  What have you been thinking about today? </p> </div> <p class="postmetadata">Posted in <a href="http://naturallysimple.org/blog1/category/gardening/" title="View all posts in Gardening" rel="category tag">Gardening</a>, <a href="http://naturallysimple.org/blog1/category/herbalism/" title="View all posts in Herbalism" rel="category tag">Herbalism</a>, <a href="http://naturallysimple.org/blog1/category/daily-life/" title="View all posts in Daily Life" rel="category tag">Daily Life</a> | <a href="http://naturallysimple.org/blog1/2010/03/30/everything-old-is-new-again/#respond" title="Comment on Everything Old is New Again...">No Comments »</a></p> </div> <div class="post"> <h3 id="post-295"><a href="http://naturallysimple.org/blog1/2010/03/09/eating-your-herbs-nutrients-for-your-nervous-system/" rel="bookmark" title="Permanent Link to Eating Your Herbs: Nutrients for your Nervous System">Eating Your Herbs: Nutrients for your Nervous System</a></h3> <small>Tuesday, March 9th, 2010</small> <div class="entry"> <p>I always notice a bit of a change in the air this time of year.   We are slowly but surely edging towards Spring but we aren’t quite there yet and it always seem as though nerves fray just a little bit more easily.   I thought I might offer a bit of advice as to how to eat your way to a healthier nervous system.<br /> Nutrition plays a vital role in a healthy nervous system but before you even think about what foods to eat, you should look at your eating patterns.   Are you skipping meals while taking in large amounts of stimulants or sugars?   These eating patterns need to be addressed before you can move on.   You need to eat enough to provide your body with the foods you need.  It is almost impossible to do this with two meals a day so your body begins to crave foods that will give it that quick energy fix. Unfortunately in our society,  candy bars and coffee are far more available than a leafy green salad or a whole-grain snack.  You have to plan a bit more to provide yourself with healthy alternative but it is completely worth the effort.   Once you address your eating patterns, you can begin to look at the nutrients your body needs to properly support your nervous system.</p> <p>Calcium intake is key to  healthy nervous system functioning  due to the fact that Calcium molecules are vital to the chemical reactions that take place in your body to transmit nerve impulses and muscle movement.    Thankfully calcium is easily found in many foods and herbs.   Obviously dairy products contain a good deal of calcium but you can also find calcium in many non-dairy products.  Seaweeds contain the highest level of calcium available; even more than dairy products.    In fact, most dark leafy vegetables such as broccoli, kale, spinach and parsley also contain calcium.    Oats and almonds are high in calcium which is one of the reasons I use those two ingredients when making homemade <a href="http://naturallysimple.org/blog1/2009/10/20/almond-oat-milk/">oat milk</a>.  Sesame seeds and tahini are good sources, as well.  Herbal sources of calcium include: nettle, comfrey, horsetail, oatstraw/milky oat tops, dandelion greens, and chickweed.<br /> B Vitamins are also important to a healthy nervous system but it is important to note that there is too much of a good thing.  Taking large doses of B vitamins (specifically B12)  can lead to anxiety attacks and panic disorders.   In other words, taking those high dosage “stress tabs”  may lead to an increase in symptoms you are trying to alleviate.    It is also important to note that B vitamins are best taken in as a “complex”.  High dosages of one B vitamin invariably lead to a deficiency of another.  I think that the complexity of B vitamin supplementation may be one of the main reasons I choose to eat my vitamins rather than take pills.  Nature seems to naturally understand what our bodies need and nutrients present in foods are often combined more precisely than we could ever hope to accomplish with supplements.   Thankfully B vitamins are present in so many wholesome foods that I rarely worry if I am getting enough.   Whole grains such as whole wheat, brown rice, oats, and barley are wonderful sources of vitamin B, as are dried beans.  Yogurt, molasses, wheat germ and kefir contain.   Vegetable sources of Vitamin B include most leafy green vegetables,fresh sprouts, and seaweeds.  There are a few other specialty sources of B vitamins that can be included in your diet such as bee pollen, spirulina and nutritional yeast. Bee pollen is an amazing nutrient which I should devote a whole blog entry to, but I do worry about our dwindling bee population and the availability of this nutrient.   Consequently,  I use it sparingly and with a great deal of respect for the creatures who created it in mind. Herbal sources of vitamin B include:  comfrey, parsley, dandelion greens and nettles (Do you begin to see why nettles are always a part of my nourishing infusions?)</p> <p>Vitamin C mixes with vitamin B-6 to create serotonin so it is important to make sure that you are getting an adequate supply.  Papaya, bell peppers, citrus fruits, strawberries, raspberries, Brussels sprouts, cantaloupe, broccoli and cauliflower are all good food sources of vitamin C.   My favorite herbal source of Vitamin C is rosehips but there are many others.<br /> Vitamin D is a fat-soluble vitamin necessary  for calcium absorption which is created in your body when you absorb UVB rays.  These UVB rays are most readily available between the hours of 10 a.m. and 2 p.m.  Exposure times no longer than 10-15 minutes two or three times a week are adequate.  Still, many Americans don’t get outside as much as we should during the mid-day hours so dairy food is often enriched with vitamin D.    The body does store vitamin D for use during the winter but how much vitamin D your body produces is entirely contingent on the amount of UVB rays your skin absorbs and how much you get in your daily diet.   This can be tricky because there is no plant source of vitamin D.   Sources of vitamin D,  we incorporate into our DAILY diet include:  tuna, eggs, salmon, organic milk and yogurt.  Regardless, of what you might hear, cheese  and butter do not necessarily have Vitamin D so check your labels.    In  the Northern Hemisphere where the UVB rays can’t penetrate the atmosphere well, if at all, from November to February,   it is important to think about Vitamin D supplementation.   For all that I am not a fan of supplements, there is a time to be wise.  If you get little exposure to UVB rays and you are not eating foods which contain Vitamin D,  you might want to consider a supplement.  A good source of vitamin D is cod-liver oil which just goes to show that Grandma might have known what she was doing, after all.</p> <p>Here are a couple of quick recipes I enjoy which seem to take the edge off of a bad mood.   Many of the recipes I included in my <a href="http://naturallysimple.org/blog1/2009/11/04/herbs-for-energy/">Herbs for Energy</a> post serve a double purpose of providing some of these nutrients as well.  Hopefully, I don’t use too many smoothie recipes for everyone but I find them to be the easiest way for most people to incorporate healthier foods in their grab-and-dash lifestyle.   Keep in mind that an insulated coffee mug keeps things cold as well as it keeps things hot.   Either one of these drinks would make a complete breakfast.</p> <blockquote><p><strong>Stressbuster Smoothie </strong></p> <p>1/2 cup almond-oat milk</p> <p>1/2 cup  yogurt</p> <p>1/2 cup raspberries and strawberries</p> <p>1/4 cup wheat germ</p> <p>1 teaspoon bee pollen</p></blockquote> <blockquote><p><strong>Avocado Milkshake</strong></p> <p>1 ripe avocado</p> <p>1/2 cup yogurt</p> <p>1/2 cup almond milk</p> <p>3 tablespoons honey or grade B maple syrup</p> <p>1 tsp carob powder (optional)</p></blockquote> <blockquote /> </div> <p class="postmetadata">Posted in <a href="http://naturallysimple.org/blog1/category/recipes/" title="View all posts in Recipes" rel="category tag">Recipes</a>, <a href="http://naturallysimple.org/blog1/category/herbalism/" title="View all posts in Herbalism" rel="category tag">Herbalism</a>, <a href="http://naturallysimple.org/blog1/category/health/" title="View all posts in Health" rel="category tag">Health</a>, <a href="http://naturallysimple.org/blog1/category/eating-your-herbs/" title="View all posts in Eating Your Herbs" rel="category tag">Eating Your Herbs</a> | <a href="http://naturallysimple.org/blog1/2010/03/09/eating-your-herbs-nutrients-for-your-nervous-system/#respond" title="Comment on Eating Your Herbs: Nutrients for your Nervous System">No Comments »</a></p> </div> <div class="post"> <h3 id="post-297"><a href="http://naturallysimple.org/blog1/2010/01/26/eating-your-herbs-infusions-in-our-lives/" rel="bookmark" title="Permanent Link to Eating your Herbs: Infusions in our Lives">Eating your Herbs: Infusions in our Lives</a></h3> <small>Tuesday, January 26th, 2010</small> <div class="entry"> <p>A lot of herbalists talk of using herbal infusions to support your body during and illness or perhaps as an alternative to a nutritional supplement in the form of a nourishing infusion.</p> <p>They are quite useful; I have been <a href="http://naturallysimple.org/blog1/2005/11/29/31/">making herbal preparations, for years now,</a>  with good results.</p> <p>You don’t hear many of them mentioning  spaghetti sauce as an decoction although the acidic base of tomato sauce is wonderful for drawing minerals out of foods. You also don’t hear <a href="http://naturallysimple.org/blog1/2009/08/30/homemade-hot-sauce/">hot sauce</a>  tossed around as an herbal preparation but these are both excellent examples of ways you can incorporate more herbs into your diet. I think I might have been making hot sauce when it occurred to me that we had lost touch with the reasons that many ingredients are in our foods.  <a href="http://naturallysimple.org/blog1/2009/09/02/grandma-ghilains-chili-sauce/">Grandma’s Chili Sauce</a> recipe also reminded me that people use to have a better grasp on cooking to sustain health than we do now.<br /> Keep in mind I am not talking about the watered-down, additive-laden prepared foodstuff you buy at the the megamarket.   I am talking of preparations you make yourself.<br /> I don’t remember exactly when it occurred to me that soups and broths are really just giant pots of herbal goodness.    It was probably  have been shortly after Darian became a vegetarian and I made my first batch of <a href="http://naturallysimple.org/blog1/2005/01/15/homemade-vegetable-broth/">homemade vegetable broth</a>.  I know I definitely had a handle on it by the time I was making <a href="http://naturallysimple.org/blog1/2008/09/18/garlic-broth/">garlic broth</a> to use in soups. There is nothing quite so satisfying as a <a href="http://naturallysimple.org/blog1/2008/04/21/vegetable-barley-soup/">healing soup</a> simmering away slowly on the stovetop, while the flavors and properties of the herbs flow gently into the food.<br /> If you look at the dates on some of the recipes, you will see that this idea evolved over the years.  I didn’t really find one book that sent this message clearly, although I am sure they are out there.  It has been more like a giant experiment for me.    I am always thinking  of new ways to incorporate herbs into my food.  Just the other day it occurred to me to toss a couple of astragalus sticks into the rice pot.  I am sure I am not the only one to do this but it never really occurred to me before, despite the fact that I have been throwing it in soups for years.</p> <p>I realized that I don’t know that I ever have put our spaghetti sauce recipe on the blog, so I though I would use it here as an example of the herb to food ratio that is health-producing.</p> <blockquote><p><strong>Our Marinara Sauce</strong></p></blockquote> <blockquote><p>1 large onion (chopped)</p> <p>3-5 cloves garlic</p> <p>1/2 pound fresh mushrooms (sliced)</p> <p>1/4 cup fresh basil</p> <p>1/4 cup fresh oregano</p> <p>1/4 cup fresh rosemary</p> <p>1 quart tomato sauce  (I can my own sauce and it is not as thick as you buy at the store but it is thicker than juice; you might need to experiment with mixing sauce and juice.)</p> <p>Heat two tablespoons olive oil in a medium sized sauce pan.  Saute onions and garlic until they are translucent.  Add the mushroom and herbs and saute for a few more minutes.  Add tomato sauce and bring to a boil.  Turn heat very low, cover and simmer for at least forty minutes.</p></blockquote> <p>You can see I am not talking about putting two teaspoons of  store-bought italian seasonings in a can of tomato sauce.  I am using lots of herbs; fresh whenever possible and really cooking the sauce long enough to extract the constituents of the herbs.  You can substitute quality dried herbs but by quality I mean herb shop quality not those little containers at the supermarket.<br /> Beverages don’t have to be the boring preparations many people think of as medicinal infusions, either. <a href="http://naturallysimple.org/blog1/2009/10/20/almond-oat-milk/">Almond-Oatmeal Milk</a> may be a bit thick for drinking but it is great for baking and making smoothies.   <a href="http://naturallysimple.org/blog1/2008/01/10/herbal-chai/">Herbal Chai</a>,  <a href="http://naturallysimple.org/blog1/2005/02/02/creamy-carob-drink/">Creamy Carob Drink</a>, <a href="http://naturallysimple.org/blog1/2008/05/18/old-fashioned-lemonade/">homemade lemonade</a>, <a href="http://naturallysimple.org/blog1/2008/07/14/vitamin-c-drink/">vitamin C drink</a> and <a href="http://naturallysimple.org/blog1/2008/12/08/ginger-lemonade/">ginger lemonade</a> are fun drinks which  incorporate herbs and hopefully will be more appealing to the children in your lives.</p> <p>There is an added benefit of incorporating these beverages into your daily diet.  I have experimented with many different ways to get little ones to eat their herbs. It is much easier to get herbal preparations into children when they are sick, if they are accustomed to them.  As a side note,  Lemon balm is an antiviral could easily be added to any of the last three drinks without noticeably changing the flavor of the drink.  “wink, wink” </p> </div> <p class="postmetadata">Posted in <a href="http://naturallysimple.org/blog1/category/herbalism/" title="View all posts in Herbalism" rel="category tag">Herbalism</a>, <a href="http://naturallysimple.org/blog1/category/health/" title="View all posts in Health" rel="category tag">Health</a>, <a href="http://naturallysimple.org/blog1/category/eating-your-herbs/" title="View all posts in Eating Your Herbs" rel="category tag">Eating Your Herbs</a> | <a href="http://naturallysimple.org/blog1/2010/01/26/eating-your-herbs-infusions-in-our-lives/#comments" title="Comment on Eating your Herbs: Infusions in our Lives ">2 Comments »</a></p> </div> <div class="post"> <h3 id="post-296"><a href="http://naturallysimple.org/blog1/2010/01/25/296/" rel="bookmark" title="Permanent Link to Nutrition for Health">Nutrition for Health</a></h3> <small>Monday, January 25th, 2010</small> <div class="entry"> <p>We have been doing a good job of staying healthy this winter around our house.  Other than the bout of H1N1 which hit us in October and one gastrointestinal virus which were both short-lived, we have been pretty healthy.  (Riley gets sick once in awhile, but that is to be expected when one exists on a diet of soda, corn chips and queso dip.)</p> <p>We still have to weather the transition from winter to spring in late March, though.  That is usually the peak of the cold and flu season, so I thought perhaps now would be a good time to discuss my thoughts on nutrition.  I don’t really believe that “ramping up” your nutrient intake once you are sick is very useful, other than perhaps in providing your body with the extra-nutrition it needs at the time.   But what if you ate every day as though you are fighting off a virus or a cold; maybe you would find that you didn’t get sick in the first place.<br /> I  do not like pill pushing regardless of what is in them.  You shouldn’t need to take encapsulated herbs or a fistful of manufactured vitamins every day, in place of food. While I am sure that in cases where a blood test has shown there to be a deficiency, supplements can be useful to catch the body up.   I prefer to avoid the deficiency in the first place.</p> <p>I also don’t like using them from a sustainability standpoint.  I don’t want my well-being to be dependent on any industry and it would be rather hypocritical of me to talk a good game about local sustainable food systems when half my nutrients are arriving on a boat from China.  This is one of the reasons that I tend to focus on using herbs and foods that I can grow or wild-craft in my area.</p> <p>I   mention this so that you know that I really am not very much help when it comes to giving advice about supplements.  Sometimes people are surprised that I haven’t bothered to learn about this sort of thing.  Studying herbalism, to them, should be a study of which bottled herbs you should buy at the supermarket or nutrition store in the mall.   Unfortunately, I can’t tell you which company produces the best supplements and  I try to avoid those aisles at all cost, for fear of saying something offensive.  I do openly admit that I came by my aversion to pills honestly.  Back in the days before I knew better, I lost a lot of weight (125 pound) with these bottled supplements and almost destroyed my health in the process.</p> <p>For the next couple of weeks, I am going to post about different ways eating and cooking with herbs can help to improve your health.   Hopefully I will post some recipes you would consider trying along the way and give you new things to think about when making meals.   Do keep in mind though that I am a staunch proponent of the concept of having “all things in moderation”.  Don’t fight with yourself (or your family) to entirely give up a questionable food substance, just don’t abuse your body with it and use the healthiest form of the substance possible.</p> <p><strong>Some General Guidelines I Follow </strong></p> <blockquote><p>1.  When you don’t eat properly, your body does not find the nutrition in the food you eat, it will find the nutrients someplace in your body such as your bones, muscles or brain matter.   This is especially true of protein which your body will leach from your muscles or brain matter and vitamins and calcium which your body will take from your bones.  A vast majority of health complaints in this country; fatigue, mental fogginess, depression, etc… are caused by your bodies natural response to incomplete nutrition.</p> <p>2.  It should go without saying, but purchase as many organic foods as you can afford and avoid eating food additives.  The best way to do this inexpensively, is to learn to cook and bake your own food.<br /> 3.  70-80% percent of your daily intake of food should be in the form of organic whole-grains, vegetables (including legumes), fruits, and herbs.   Don’t be afraid of fats & oils though.  Your body needs a certain amount to function properly.   I cook with mostly olive oil, and I bake with butter, coconut oil and applesauce.</p> <p>4. Regardless of what they taught our parents in the fifties, darker is better where most foods are concerned.  Refined white foods have been completely robbed of nutrients and should be avoided.  Brown rice, old-fashioned oats, whole wheat flour, (we compromise around here on the white whole wheat) and whole hulled barley are far more nutritious than their polished counterparts.</p> <p>5.   I don’t avoid sugar completely, but I don’t use it often and I NEVER use the white junk they sell at the grocery store.   I don’t even enjoy the constant influx of “sweet” that many people crave.  I think it is because I get plenty of B vitamins.  I read someplace that craving sugar was a sign of a B vitamin deficiency which makes sense when you think about it as sugar cane naturally contains B Vitamins.   Unfortunately, sugar in the form of the white sucrose powder you buy in the store is completely devoid of the B vitamins.  So when you bake with sugar, you should be substituting locally produced honey, organic molasses, sucanat, turbinado, or evaporated cane juice in recipes that call for sugar.   Maple syrup is nice too, but opt for “Grade B” maple syrup which is less refined and retains more of its natural nutrients.    I avoid high fructose corn syrup like the plague and I don’t use agave nectar nor do I plan to base on the <a href="http://www.trit.us/modernfood/HFCSAgave.pdf">information I have read</a>.</p> <p>6.  Eat Your Herbs!   I have learned that by taking in herbs in the form of nourishing infusions, tonic nutritive vinegars and most importantly by eating them,  you can provide your body with a much broader spectrum of daily nutrients than you can by with food, alone.</p></blockquote> </div> <p class="postmetadata">Posted in <a href="http://naturallysimple.org/blog1/category/herbalism/" title="View all posts in Herbalism" rel="category tag">Herbalism</a>, <a href="http://naturallysimple.org/blog1/category/health/" title="View all posts in Health" rel="category tag">Health</a>, <a href="http://naturallysimple.org/blog1/category/eating-your-herbs/" title="View all posts in Eating Your Herbs" rel="category tag">Eating Your Herbs</a> | <a href="http://naturallysimple.org/blog1/2010/01/25/296/#comments" title="Comment on Nutrition for Health ">1 Comment »</a></p> </div> <div class="post"> <h3 id="post-292"><a href="http://naturallysimple.org/blog1/2010/01/07/news-release-herbal-science-organization-clarifies-new-ginkgo-study/" rel="bookmark" title="Permanent Link to News Release: Herbal Science Organization Clarifies New Ginkgo Study">News Release: Herbal Science Organization Clarifies New Ginkgo Study</a></h3> <small>Thursday, January 7th, 2010</small> <div class="entry"> <p><em>(Editorial Note:  I don’t often post these types of press releases but someone actually asked me about this study.  Apparently a web newsgroup  ran something on the jama article. I knew that the ABC had provided a far more effective rebuttal than I could, so here it is.   If this is too much scientific mumbo jumbo for you basically what it boils down to is this.  It was a poorly designed, executed and documented study. The first lesson I learned in my Environmental Science class was that it is important to question the soundness of the methodology and the financial motivation behind the results of scientific studies.  This holds especially true when dealing with Big Pharm’s bought-and-paid for trade union aka the American Medical Association.)</em></p> <p>Herbal Science Organization Clarifies New Ginkgo Study</p> <p>(Austin, TX) December 28, 2009.</p> <p>New research findings published this week on a standardized Ginkgo biloba extract are very limited and the public should focus on the well-documented cognitive and cardiovascular benefits of ginkgo, said the American Botanical Council (ABC), an independent nonprofit research and education organization.</p> <p>A new study of previously published data being published in this week’s issue of the Journal of the American Medical Association (JAMA) has reported that a leading ginkgo extract did not reduce the decline in cognitive impairment in older adults.1,2</p> <p>“There are many significant limitations of this study”, said Mark Blumenthal, ABC founder and executive director.</p> <p>First, the data being published this week are drawn from a previous clinical trial which was not designed to determine the decline in cognition.3</p> <p>Second, about 40% of the subjects dropped out over the 6-year duration of the trial; the statistics reported in the study include the dropouts for which no final data are available.</p> <p>Further, the subjects in the study were not monitored for certain cognitive parameters until several years after the trial began, creating difficulty in determining accurately whether they experienced a decline in cognition or not.</p> <p>Also, the age of the subjects is quite advanced, at an average of 79 years at the beginning of the trial. This age group is not typical of the age of both healthy people and those with mild cognitive impairment who use ginkgo for improving mental performance.</p> <p>Further, ABC noted that another weakness of this trial is the lack of an active control, i.e., a potential third arm of the trial (i.e., besides the patients on ginkgo or placebo) in which patients would have used a pharmaceutical medication with presumed efficacy, to determine to what extent the particular population being tested would respond. This was not possible for this trial since no conventional pharmaceutical drug has ever demonstrated the ability to prevent the onset of dementia or diminish its progression.</p> <p>ABC also stated that several recent publications have demonstrated an improvement in cognitive performance in subjects using the same German gingko extract.4,5,6</p> <p>The new publication, by Beth E. Snits, Ph.D., a neuropsychologist associated with the University of Pittsburgh, and other colleagues, analyzed outcomes from the Ginkgo Evaluation of Memory study (GEM, published in 2008 in JAMA) to determine if ginkgo extract slowed cognitive decline in older adults who had either normal cognition or mild cognitive impairment at the beginning of the study. 3</p> <p>The GEM study previously found that ginkgo extract was not effective in reducing the incidence of Alzheimer dementia or dementia overall. This large, randomized, double-blind, placebo-controlled, multi-centered clinical trial included 3,069 community-dwelling subjects (aged 72 to 96 years) who received either a dose of 120 mg of ginkgo extract twice daily or an identical-appearing placebo. The trial was conducted at 6 academic medical centers in the United States between 2000 and 2008, with a median follow-up of 6.1 years. Change in cognitive function was evaluated by various tests and measures.</p> <p>ABC emphasized that the original GEM trial was designed to determine whether taking ginkgo would prevent the onset of dementia. What this new publication has done is attempted to analyze the possible decline in levels of cognitive function – not a primary outcome measure of the GEM study.</p> <p>“This trial is not conclusive nor should it in any way detract from ginkgo’s reputation as a useful dietary supplement to help support and improve cognitive function and enhance peripheral circulation – conditions for which it has been reported to be effective in numerous clinical trials,” reminded Blumenthal.</p> <p>At least 16 controlled clinical trials have evaluated various ginkgo extracts for healthy, non-cognitively impaired adults. A systematic review has shown that in 11 of these trials, the ginkgo increased short-term memory, concentration and time to process mental tasks.7</p> <p>“The results of this new trial must be viewed in proper perspective,” noted Blumenthal. “There is a vast body of pharmacological and clinical research supporting numerous health benefits for ginkgo extracts, particularly for improving various symptoms and conditions associated with declining cognitive performance and poor circulation.”</p> <p>ABC also emphasized that this publication, and the one published in 2008 on which it is based, both underscore the relative safety of ginkgo extract: the amount of adverse events were basically the same in both the ginkgo and placebo groups, particularly no serious adverse effects, e.g. no statistically significant incidence of coronary heart disease, stroke of any type, and major bleeding.</p> <p>The trial utilized EGb 761®, the world’s most clinically tested ginkgo extract, produced by W. Schwabe Pharmaceuticals in Karlsruhe, Germany.</p> <p><strong>About Ginkgo Extract</strong></p> <p>Ginkgo (Ginkgo biloba) is the world’s oldest living tree, dating back about 250 million years. Ginkgo leaves have been used in traditional Chinese medicine for about 500 years. For about the past 30 years the leaves of ginkgo have been made into a highly concentrated (50:1) extract, chemically standardized to compounds unique to ginkgo (ginkgolides and bilobalide) as well as other compounds. The leading German ginkgo extract has been subjected to a vast range of clinical trials documenting its ability to improve peripheral circulation and cognitive function, particularly in patients with early stages of mild cognitive impairment, senile dementia, Alzheimer’s disease, and memory loss. Clinical trials also support the use of ginkgo extract in assisting elderly patients in walking longer distances without leg pain (peripheral arterial occlusive disease, also known as intermittent claudication). Standardized ginkgo extracts are approved for use as medicines in Germany and numerous other countries.</p> <p><strong>About the American Botanical Council</strong></p> <p>Founded in 1988 the American Botanical Council is a leading international nonprofit organization addressing research and educational issues regarding herbs and medicinal plants. ABC’s members include academic researchers and educators, universities and libraries, health professionals and medical institutions, botanical gardens and arboreta, government agencies, members of the herb, dietary supplement, cosmetic, and pharmaceutical industries, journalists, consumers, and other interested parties from over 70 countries. The organization occupies a historic 2.5-acre site in Austin, Texas where it publishes the quarterly journal HerbalGram, the monthly e-publication HerbalEGram, HerbClips (over 4000 summaries of scientific and clinical publications), reference books, and other educational materials. ABC also hosts HerbMedPro, a powerful herbal database, covering scientific and clinical publications on more than 220 herbs.</p> <p>ABC is tax-exempt under section 501(c) (3) of the IRS Code.</p> <p>Information: Contact ABC at P.O. Box 144345, Austin, TX 78714-4345, Phone: 512-926-4900.</p> <p>Website: <a href="http://www.herbalgram.org/">http://www.herbalgram.org/</a>.</p> <p><strong>References</strong></p> <p>1. Snitz BE, O’Meara ES, Carlson MC, Arnold A, Ives DG, Rapp SR, Saxton J, Lopez OL, Dunn LO, Sink K, DeKosky ST. Does Ginkgo biloba slow cognitive decline in older adults? JAMA Dec 23/30, 2009.</p> <p>2. American Medical Association. Ginkgo Biloba Does Not Appear to Slow Rate of Cognitive Decline. [press release]. Chicago, IL: Dec. 23, 2009.</p> <p>3. DeKosky ST, Williamson JD, Fitzpatrick AL, et al. Ginkgo biloba for prevention of dementia: a randomized controlled trial.[see comment]. JAMA. Nov 19 2008;300(19):2253-2262.</p> <p>4. QWiG Institut für Qualität und Wirtschaftlichkeit im Gesundheitswesen. IQWiG Reports - Commission No. A05-19B. Ginkgo in Alzheimer’s disease. Executive Summary. Cologne: IQWiG, 2008.</p> <p>5. Kaschel R. Ginkgo biloba: specificity of neuropsychological improvement – a selective review in search of differential effects. Human Psychopharmacology: Clinical and Experimental 2009;24:345-370.</p> <p>6. Kasper S, Schubert H. Ginkgo-Spezialextrakt EGb 761® in der Behandlung der Demenz: Evidenz für Wirksamkeit und Verträglichkeit. [Ginkgo biloba extract EGb 761® in the treatment of dementia: evidence of efficacy and tolerability.] Fortschritte Neurologie Psychiatrie 2009;77:494-506.</p> <p>7. Crews W, Harrison DW, Griggin ML, Falwell KD, Crist T, Longest L, Hehemann L, Rey ST. The neuropsychological efficacy of ginkgo preparations in healthy and cognitively intact adults; A comprehensive review. HerbalGram 2005;67:42-62. </p> </div> <p class="postmetadata">Posted in <a href="http://naturallysimple.org/blog1/category/herbalism/" title="View all posts in Herbalism" rel="category tag">Herbalism</a>, <a href="http://naturallysimple.org/blog1/category/health/" title="View all posts in Health" rel="category tag">Health</a> | <a href="http://naturallysimple.org/blog1/2010/01/07/news-release-herbal-science-organization-clarifies-new-ginkgo-study/#comments" title="Comment on News Release: Herbal Science Organization Clarifies New Ginkgo Study">1 Comment »</a></p> </div> <div class="post"> <h3 id="post-291"><a href="http://naturallysimple.org/blog1/2010/01/03/herbal-class-advice/" rel="bookmark" title="Permanent Link to Herbal Class Advice">Herbal Class Advice</a></h3> <small>Sunday, January 3rd, 2010</small> <div class="entry"> <p>I would like to take a moment to offer some thoughts I have to everyone about herbal classes and learning about herbalism.</p> <p>Many of my friends recently signed up for the <a href="http://www.herbalhomestudycourse.com/the-science-and-art-of-herbalism.html">Gladstar course due to the price break Sage Mountain is offering on the course.</a>   As you begin studying herbalism, you  will find that there is often conflicting advice being offered.</p> <p>I had already been studying herbs for a number of years before I finally took the plunge and ordered the Gladstar course in 2004 so I suppose you could call that my first “formal” training.  It was almost a very overwhelming and discouraging experience for me.</p> <p>What you need to keep a handle on is that there is not just one way to do things and just because you might have learned things a different way, doesn’t mean that you are doing things the “wrong” way.  It seems to me that many of you are quite knowledgeable.  Don’t throw that knowledge out the window just because one expert might disagree with you.   There are as many methods of herbalism as there are herbalists and all of them are useful and worthwhile.</p> <p>Take for example formulation.  Rosemary’s formulas are quite busy and you end up ordering a lot of herbs to take the course if you follow them to the letter.  On the other end of the spectrum, you have the simplers  who are very much into using one herb at a time.   In the end,  I settled on a middle of the road approach and use a “triad” method.  Most of my blends have three main ingredients with some extras thrown in for flavor, at times.  I was listening to the Village Herbalist classes and was actually encouraged to find that my instincts had led me to do something that other people are teaching.   Heather uses what she calls a Celtic Triad method which is quite similar to what I do.</p> <p>Also you don’t have to learn everything about every herb available.   As I studied more I began to pare down the number of herbs in my apothecary.   I started out trying to memorize a little bit about a  lot of herbs, but now I focus on learning as much as I can about a smaller core group (mostly plants I can grow or wildcraft in my area).   There is nothing wrong or embarrassing about  saying,  ” I don’t work with that herb much”,  this is what I have tried that has worked.</p> <p>The other thing I might offer is that you can never learn too much and that there are always new opportunities to gain knowledge.  I am currently investigating the next class I will take and attending some conferences.</p> <p>I can’t tell you how excited I am for the <a href="http://traditionsinwesternherbalism.org/">Traditions in Western Herbalism Conference  </a>and I am also thinking of attending the<a href="http://www.bgfloristnherbals.com/MidAmerica_Herbal.html"> MidAmerica Herbal Symposium</a> .  I am trying to talk the family into one of our Northwoods camping trips the weekend that Jim McDonald teaches his <a href="http://www.nchg.org/Classes/Classes.htm">Foundational Herbcraft class for the North Country Herbalist Guild</a><br /> Always remember though, that herbalism is instinctive.  Don’t get so caught up in the “book” studies that you forget to listen to your own intuition and the plants.<br /> Happy Learning! </p> </div> <p class="postmetadata">Posted in <a href="http://naturallysimple.org/blog1/category/herbalism/" title="View all posts in Herbalism" rel="category tag">Herbalism</a> | <a href="http://naturallysimple.org/blog1/2010/01/03/herbal-class-advice/#comments" title="Comment on Herbal Class Advice">1 Comment »</a></p> </div> <div class="post"> <h3 id="post-290"><a href="http://naturallysimple.org/blog1/2009/11/04/herbs-for-energy/" rel="bookmark" title="Permanent Link to Herbs for Energy">Herbs for Energy</a></h3> <small>Wednesday, November 4th, 2009</small> <div class="entry"> <p>The <a href="http://fieldoftansy.blogspot.com/2009/11/november-blog-party-coffeestimulantsmor.html">November Herbal Blog Party</a> is on and the buzz this month is morning stimulants or ritual blends.  This topic hits home for me because I LOVE coffee but I have been making a concerted effort to cut back on the amount I drink.  I found the way to make this transition easier on myself was by replacing an unhealthy habit with healthful herbal concoctions.    There are many herbs that are considered stimulants which can be included in the daily diet.   These herbs create energy by nourishing the body, activating body systems and increasing circulation thus restoring vitality and health.   Making the switch to herbal stimulants, however, is a process that requires patience   Herbal stimulants don’t provide the instant gratification that one becomes used to when consuming caffeinated products.</p> <p>There are many herbs that I  have experimented with including; cinnamon, cloves, ginger, ginseng, peppermint, spearmint,  cayenne, and horseradish.  These are all very mild herbs which I feel comfortable including in my daily diet as sources of nourishment and stimulation.  While there may be stronger stimulants out there such as ephedra and guarana,  I feel they should be treated with the same respect as coffee and saved for occasional use.</p> <p><strong>Morning Brews</strong><br /> In the morning,   I need something warm and quick.  <a href="http://www.susunweed.com/How_to_make_Infusions.htm">Nourishing infusions</a> are strong herbal “teas” which contain nutritive herbs that tonify and nourish the body.  I also like to throw a little “wake up herb” in to the mix as well.    As these infusions need to brew for quite some time, I have gotten in the habit of starting mine before I go to bed.  It is nice to wake up to that steaming carafe.  Often I just drink mine black but you can make a latte if you are in the habit of drinking your coffee with creamer or sweetener.</p> <blockquote><p>Peppermint Latte</p> <p>1/3 part  dried peppermint or spearmint leaves</p> <p>1/3 part  dried red raspberry leaves,  blackberry leaves, red clover blossoms, or any other nourishing herb</p> <p>1/3 part  oatstraw</p> <p>1 quart water</p> <p>Brew a  nourishing infusion of the dried herbs.   In the morning you just steam some milk or coconut milk and add to the infusion and sweeten with honey, if desired.</p></blockquote> <p>If you are wanting to add root or bark herbs to your diet, the best way to prepare them is by decocting.   Chai is an excellent example of a decoction which stimulates and nourishes. A great way to make chai caffeine free is by replacing the black tea with dandelion root and burdock root.   This is a single recipe but you can make it in large batches and just use a few tablespoons of the mixture at a time.</p> <blockquote><p>Herbal  Chai</p> <p>1/2 tablespoons dandelion root</p> <p>1/2 tablespoon burdock root</p> <p>1 tablespoon of fennel seeds</p> <p>6 green cardamom pods</p> <p>12 cloves</p> <p>1/4 teaspoon black peppercorns</p> <p>1 small cinnamon stick</p> <p>1/4 inch slice of fresh ginger root (or a teaspoon of dried ginger)</p> <p>Grind all of the ingredients except the  fresh ginger.  Bring 7 cups of water to a boil in a saucepan and add the ground mixture and fresh ginger to the boiling water.  Turn the heat down to the lowest setting and simmer the ingredients for 30 - 40 minutes.  At this point you can add milk, coconut milk, or almond milk to your liking.    Sweeten with honey, if desired.  I don’t really have much of a sugar habit so I don’t add any sweetner.  I think that the herbs add a mild sweetness of their own which I enjoy.</p></blockquote> <p><strong>The 3 p.m. Drop </strong><br /> If you are like me,  you might experience a mid-afternoon drop in energy.   Consider turning to a healthful drink or snack for energy rather than reaching for a soda or more coffee.  These make good summertime drinks as well.</p> <blockquote><p>Oatmilk Smoothie</p> <p>1 1/2 cups  <a href="http://naturallysimple.org/blog1/2009/10/20/almond-oat-milk/">almond-oatmilk,</a>  or coconut milk</p> <p>1/2 cup berries (we like raspberries)</p> <p>dash of cinnamon</p> <p>Blend all ingredients and drink</p></blockquote> <p>This blend is nice because you can mix a large batch up and take it with you to enjoy during break-time.  I think you will agree that it is a better alternatives than a candy bar & soda. You can play around with the herbs in this recipe to suit your taste but I like a little bit of spice.</p> <blockquote><p>Vegetable Juice Cocktail</p> <p>1 cup tomato juice</p> <p>1/4  cup carrot juice</p> <p>2 tablespoons lemon juice</p> <p>1 clove of garlic  (I am lucky to have a juicer and I just toss this in with the carrots)</p> <p>1 tsp fresh horseradish</p> <p>dash of cayenne pepper</p></blockquote> <p>These are a yummy snack that provide a more healthful source of energy, as well.  I came across the recipe, originally, in the Gladstar course but I tweaked the ingredients a bit to suit my taste.  Rosemary Gladstar recommends the very sparing use of guarana in these balls for students or people who might be driving long distances.</p> <blockquote><p>Zoom Balls</p> <p>1/2 cup honey</p> <p>1/2 cup tahini</p> <p>1 tablespoon ginger</p> <p>1 tablespoon ginseng</p> <p>1 tablespoon bee pollen</p> <p>Add  unsweetened coconut, chopped almonds and chopped dried cherries in equal parts until the mixture is stiff enough you can roll the  it into balls or pat it into bars.</p></blockquote> </div> <p class="postmetadata">Posted in <a href="http://naturallysimple.org/blog1/category/recipes/" title="View all posts in Recipes" rel="category tag">Recipes</a>, <a href="http://naturallysimple.org/blog1/category/herbalism/" title="View all posts in Herbalism" rel="category tag">Herbalism</a>, <a href="http://naturallysimple.org/blog1/category/health/" title="View all posts in Health" rel="category tag">Health</a>, <a href="http://naturallysimple.org/blog1/category/eating-your-herbs/" title="View all posts in Eating Your Herbs" rel="category tag">Eating Your Herbs</a> | <a href="http://naturallysimple.org/blog1/2009/11/04/herbs-for-energy/#respond" title="Comment on Herbs for Energy">No Comments »</a></p> </div> <div class="navigation"> <div class="alignleft"><a href="http://naturallysimple.org/blog1/category/herbalism/page/2/">« Previous Entries</a></div> <div class="alignright"></div> </div> </div> <div id="sidebar"> <ul> <li> <form method="get" id="searchform" action="http://naturallysimple.org/blog1/"> <div><input type="text" value="" name="s" id="s" /> <input type="submit" id="searchsubmit" value="Search" /> </div> </form> </li> <!-- Author information is disabled per default. 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