Sugarless Herbal Cranberry Relish

The winter holiday season is fast approaching with all foods we all look forward each year. As an herbalist, I like to create new delectables that are not only delicious but super healthy as well. Recently a neighbor dropped by a half pound of fresh organic cranberries along with a sample of his homemade cranberry…

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Reishi, the Longevity Herb

I love discussing my favorite herbs as they tend to have many diverse, not to mention effective, uses. The topic of this article, reishi, or ling zhi, definitely has those traits but it also has quite interesting lore. For thousands of years, reishi was considered to be worth its weight in gold because it was…

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Nerija Hopkins, November 2022

I was born in Lithuania while it was part of the Soviet Union. We were a self sustaining family, living and surviving on the labor of our farm. My father’s work as a forester connected me with nature and I developed a great respect of earth’s bounties. Growing up, we used many of nature’s plants…

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Touring the Kirstenbosch Gardens in South Africa

Since a young child I’ve been a traveler, and one of my favorite places to visit are gardens. There are many incredible gardens that people flock to from around the world including the Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew, near London in the United Kingdom; Buchart Gardens in Brentwood Bay, British Columbia, Canada, located near Victoria on…

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Meghane Hernandez, October 2022

I always loved plants, as a little girl I craved to taste the sweetness of honeysuckle and play along with the soft sleeping grass. I first began my pathway to herbalism by working at Hawaiian Moons Natural Foods, assisting customers in the supplements department. This was my first exposure to herbal medicine and I was…

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Is He Shou Wu Safe?

The root of he shou wu (Polygonum multiflorum), also known as “fleece flower,” has been popularly in use for centuries as a rejuvenative longevity tonic as well as for lowering cholesterol, swollen glands, abscesses, non-healing sores, ulcerations, malaria, and constipation. In recent months, however, there have been a number of reports, mostly coming out of…

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Loquat Leaf: For Much More than Just Coughs!

The shift from summer to fall is perhaps the most difficult adjustment for most folks healthwise; colds, flu and viruses start to arise now. Loquat leaf is a fabulous fall herb since it’s great for all sorts of coughs that are common at this time of year. It is especially effective when there is abundant…

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Breathe Away Your Stress and Anxiety

“Feelings come and go like clouds in a windy sky. Conscious breathing is my anchor.”  — Thich Nhat Hanh “Take a breather,” or “Slow down and take a deep breath” are common things we say when someone is in an acute state of anger, fear, frustration, or anxiety. In fact, there is solid physiological science…

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echinacea field

Echinacea: The Powerhouse Herb

When I was recently (and accidentally) bitten by a cat, I immediately reached for my echinacea tincture. Does that choice surprise you? The advent of popularizing herbs means commercialization emphasizes only one major use for simplicity’s sake. Echinacea has become known as a cold and flu herb, so much so that over time, its many…

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Kelvin Todosi, August 2022

Plants and nature bring me great joy. Sometimes along the way all this delightful stuff I’ve learned helps brighten others’ days too, and to me that is worth all the while.  Herbalism was not a word or concept to me until my 20’s. The conceptualization that the wilderness around me was intelligent, symbiotic, full of ever-giving…

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Rosemary Tea Instead of Coffee? Yes!

  Many of you may already know about the traditional dandelion and chicory “coffee” combination, but are you aware of rosemary “coffee”? While dandelion and chicory clear the liver instead of congesting it and draining the adrenals, as coffee does, rosemary courses energy through the liver, giving very similar effects as coffee without its negative…

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Loquat: The Cough Killer

Loquat leaf (Eriobotrya japonica et spp.), is named pi pa ye in the traditional Chinese materia medica. The name of the loquat fruit, pi pa, references its resemblance to a miniature Chinese lute by the same name. The Latin Eriobotrya is less poetic and means “bunches” referring to the fruits growing in clusters.  Even less…

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The Nature of Nettles

There really is such a thing as “plant blindness,” and this is a product of so many of us humans becoming increasingly disconnected from our planet and most especially its inhabitants who do not operate a smartphone. This is a story about a plant that bucks that trend. Guest blog by Anne de Courtenay  …

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Lemongrass: An Overlooked Medicinal Herb

There are so many reasons that otherwise great botanicals are overlooked for their therapeutic uses. One example is echinacea, arguably one of the most popular medicinal herbs in the Western world. As a treatment for bacterial infections, arthritis, neuralgia, and rattlesnake bites, echinacea arrived on the market as Meyers Blood Purifier around 1890 and was…

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Holly Brooks, June 2022

“When I lie flat on the ground with my heart against Mother Earth, I can feel her breathe.” As a young child growing up in rural North Dakota, I began noticing the beautiful wildflowers and prairie grasses, I was drawn to the Earth and what it has to give us. I loved being in the…

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Welcome to Spring: Honeysuckle

I know spring is here to stay when our honeysuckle blooms. I remember in my early childhood plucking the flowers and sucking out their yummy nectar. Little did I know then that this lovely flower has many medicinal uses, too. First of all, honeysuckle is effective for colds, flu, and viruses with fever, headaches, and…

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Garlic and Ginger, not Echinacea, for Colds

The secret to successfully treating the common cold and cough is to differentiate the type based on Traditional Chinese diagnostics (TCM) principles. Chinese medicine differentiates between three main types of colds and coughs: Wind-Cold, Wind-Heat and deficient wind- cold with many subdivisions. We all know what a cold is and it may not necessarily be…

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Anjana Bhargava, April Student of the Month

I am an Ayurvedic Wellness Practitioner living in Weston, MA. I have a master’s degree in Electronics from India and Bachelor’s in Science and Math. My journey to alternative healing began when my daughter was born with multiple food allergies and eczema. After meeting countless doctors for solutions, I was not able to find much…

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Mahanayaran Oil for Pain and Injury

Are you ready to hear about a medicinal named after a supreme god? Because of its rejuvenative healing properties Mahanarayana tailam (oil) is honored with the name of the revered Hindu deity Narayana, another name for Vishnu, the god of preservation. The Sanskrit prefix “maha” (meaning “great”) denotes the highest respect for the Ayurvedic oil…

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Wayne Lapinski, March 2022

My journey with plants began in grade school after learning about the importance of trees.  As a result I planted a tree annually on Arbor Day.  By the time I left home in my early 20’s, to move to Boston, we had a small orchard on our suburban plot in northern Ohio.  I started college…

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Dosing: A Key to Herbal Effectiveness

How do you know if you’re taking enough of your herbs or herbal formula? Or what if you’re taking the right formula/herb but not getting the results as expected? This can lead to you wondering if you’re taking the right herbs or formula. Even worse, taking an insufficient dose can lead you to believe that…

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Goji Berries for Macular Degeneration

Age-related macular degeneration (AMD) is a degenerative condition affecting the central part of the retina (the macula). It is the leading cause of loss of vision in people over the age of 60, affecting 11 million people in the United States with the number expected to double to 22 million by 2050. Worldwide, the estimated…

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Karin Williams, February 2022

Growing up in England, I have always loved trees, plants and nature walks. I studied Optimum Nutrition in London and that gave me a good background in getting the most out your food. My first interest in Herbalism was when, I was given a Nicholas Culpeper – The Complete Herbal book, I fell in love…

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Tennyson Towl, January 2022

At 50, I’m at a time of reflection with our only son having headed off to college this Fall and my husband and I starting a new life in sunny St. Petersburg, FL. Growing up, I used to travel with my mom from Louisville, KY to Boston, MA so she could get acupuncture and herbs…

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Shen Qu: An Extraordinary Digestive Aid

Shenqu, called by various names “massa fermentata,” “Chinese yogurt,” and mysterious ferment,” was first recorded in the Yaoxing Bencao (ca. 600 ACE.). It is one of the best botanical aids for digestion and is commonly used as a single or included in Chinese a large number of digestion formulas. It evolved from a process of…

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Not Your Usual Herbal Gift Ideas

In addition to the usual herbal gifts of herbal wreaths, vinegars, soaps, candles, spices, potted plants, flowers, beauty products and more, there are two other to consider this holiday season. Teasel Teasel is such a fabulous herb to learn about, I’ve devoted a complete blog to it alone. As a gift, this herb is the…

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The Wonders of Teasel

Teasel is a beautiful herb with a tall bristly head that grows in many places around the world. I once saw multitudes of dried teasel heads in a wool combing machine in Scotland in the 1990s. However, this herb is widely available throughout the world and except for the Chinese who commonly use this herb,…

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Linda Talbott, December 2021

I grew up in a small town in New England. My soul was at home in the hardwood forests and in the arts, singing, dancing, playing music, sewing, drawing and painting. I moved to Chicago and trained in the visual arts at an amazing museum/school and for years had a tandem career as an exhibiting…

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Turmeric: For Best Results, Use It Properly

Turmeric has become increasingly popular over the last decade, first for blood purification and then for joint pain. As it’s hit the mainstream, its uses have narrowed at the same time. While turmeric is a fabulous herb with many beneficial applications, it’s also quite powerful and can strongly imbalance the body if over-used or misused.…

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Better than Turmeric? Guggul for Pain

Of the hundreds of herbs Ayurveda has to offer, guggul is one of the most important ones to add to your toolkit.  Guggul and guggul-based formulas are among the most effective remedies you can use for chronic pain including back pain, joint pain, osteoarthritis and rheumatoid arthritis. Let’s get familiar with the benefits of guggul.…

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Herbs that Clear Heat, Part 6 of 6

In the West we tend to think of heat as inflammation; yet, it can take many other forms as we’ve learned through parts I-V of this blog series. In TCM, heat can exist without inflammation but have other signs of heat. The key to differentiating which type of heat is present is through determining its…

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Bacopa: The Herb You Don’t Want to Forget

Research has shown that regularly taking Bacopa monnieri for eight to twelve weeks can improve your memory. “Nootropic” is a pharmaceutical term first used in 1972 to describe a pharmaceutical drug, Piracetam, which was being researched for its memory-enhancing properties. It was soon adopted as a term to refer to memory-enhancing plants in herbal medicine. The most…

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Bianca Cuellar Arteaga, October 2021

My name is Bianca Cuellar Arteaga. Born in Bolivia, I came to Indiana with my mother when I was a toddler to pursue a more opportunistic life. Although beautiful, our lives were faced with many hardships and traumatic experiences throughout the years. From a young age, I realized the impact that the mind-body-soul connection has…

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Triphala Fruits

Triphala and Ghee for Dry Eyes and Other Eye Problems

Triphala consists of three phytonutrient-rich fruits Emblica officinalis (Amla, or Amalaki) also known as Phyllanthus emblica; Terminalia bellerica (Vibhitaki); and Terminalia chebula (Haritaki). Each of these eliminates all types of excess from the body. Amla clears the liver, Vibhitaki the excess of mucus, lymph, fluids, including excess cholesterol, and Haritaki treats the nervous system. All three fruits…

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Robert Woolf, September 2021

I was born and raised in Toronto Ontario, Canada. After completing a BSc and DDS at the University of Toronto, I moved west to Saskatoon, Saskatchewan where I practised dentistry for several years. I then returned to school at the University of Saskatchewan and completed an MD and residency after which I became a full…

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Raine Quinn, August 2021

I live in Perth, Western Australia with a loving husband, son and daughter-in-law, two labradors, two rabbits, two ducks and many visiting birds.  Our wonderful daughter also lives in Perth. Keisha and Noxy, our beautiful labradors, are mother and daughter. Noxy is due to give birth next month.  I am a registered home breeder and…

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Eating Garden Weeds 1 of 2: Lamb’s Quarters

  It seems that each year it is getting increasingly more difficult to depend on my garden to produce enough to barely pay the water-shortage-in-Northern-California water bill. And yet, I take pleasure in harvesting my food and herbs, especially lamb’s quarters. Lamb’s Quarters (Chenopodium giganteum) The beautiful magenta lamb’s quarters is also known as magenta…

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Stacie Satery, July 2021

My herbal journey began after the birth of my fourth child and a long episode of overlooked and undiagnosed postpartum depression.  A homeschooling mama of four children, I desperately began seeking alternative health treatment so I could just make it through the day.  At the time, the essential oil business was booming.  I looked into…

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Krista Edwards, June 2021

After graduating in 2002 with a degree in Physical Education and a certification through the American Council on Exercise, I set out with the ambition to try to make the world a healthier place as a personal trainer. It did not take me long to see that diet and exercise were not the silver bullet…

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Herbs that Clear Heat 1 of 6: Sweet Violet and Pansy

Like Western medicine, Western herbalism today considers heat as inflammation with little differentiation in herbal treatment. Yet, heat is not the same as inflammation; rather, inflammation is a kind of heat confined to a specific area. Just treating inflammation with herbs will clear up any acute manifestation but not the underlying condition. Thus, there can…

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Panda Hershey, May 2021

I came to appreciate the power of herbs fairly late in life. After working as a postdoctoral researcher in cell biology for several years and then an institutional investor in private equity, venture capital and agriculture for nearly 2 decades, I found my calling as a healer. Through my  Chinese medicine, acupressure and tui na…

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Oatmeal Qi Tonic Porridge

A selection of Chinese tonic herbs   The Importance of Qi in the Body Qi means “life energy.” The source of Qi in the body is food, air and water. The process of transforming and assimilating food, air and water, into Qi is, according to TCM theory, governed by the TCM-Spleen. Because the source of…

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Darcy Ogle, April 2021

One of my earliest memories is of picking and eating raspberries in the backyard. My mother taught me to love plants. I come from a long line of gardeners, and my mom tells me that my great grandmother was an herbalist.  Currently, I grow native herbs and plants and raise backyard chickens. I’ve pursued a…

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Treating Gum Disease with Astringent Herbs

Unfortunately, too many people think about their teeth only in crisis stage. A common pre-crisis symptom is receding gums. This is a widespread condition when the gums pull away from the teeth, forming gaps and eventually exposing the bone structures that support the teeth. Over time, this will lead to the formation of pockets of…

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Shif Mao Dark Single Whip

Energy Medicine, Movement and Tao

These methods are based on the Ancient Chinese energetic theory that holds that humans are complex energy bodies comprised of an intricate network of energy pathways or channels. There are twelve main organ pathways and eight extraordinary vessels and 360 points that are attributed to individual health functions and benefits.

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Hara Zabraka, March 2021

I come from Greece where the culture of herbs is a continuum of the ancient Greek tradition. Using folk remedies to treat common health conditions is a memory that I have had, which extends beyond the family environment. My foundation studies are Agriculture Science (BSc) and Environmental Politics & Management (MSc). Thus, for over a…

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TCM and Western Clinical Tongue Diagnosis

When was the last time you visited a doctor and the first thing asked of you was to show your tongue? Western medical practice of tongue diagnosis as part of a routine clinical examination seems, like many Western clinical practices, to have become a relic of the not-too-distant past. Instead, it survives as a standard…

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The Salty Flavor: Seaweed

To finish up the flavors for the year, we have one left – salty. Most herbs that are salty are subtly so. Yet salty can include herbs with mineral salts, such as nettles. Here I want to discuss a true salty herb: seaweed. Seaweed is not unknown as a medicinal herb. Irish moss and bladderwrack…

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Darcia Dillard, February 2021

This February, I am thrilled to finally say I am an East West  Intermediate student with plans to be an Advanced student this June. At the age of 16, I stepped into my first health food store.  I can still picture myself walking around that store in Chicago. I purchased three books: Rational Fasting, The Mucusless Diet, and Back…

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Annalisa Nardi, January 2021

I was born (and still live) in Florence, Italy. Growing up in an old city, filled with art and history, birthplace of so many Renaissance geniuses, I naturally became fond of anything that had been created by human ingenuity. I was an extremely shy child, with very limited access to the wild Nature, and not…

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Protection for You and Yours: A Holiday Gift Idea

Every December we try to offer some possibilities for gifts you can make or buy to enhance your holidays. It’s our version of Oprah’s “favorite things.” This year I’m suggesting two things that may be a gift to yourself, your family or your friends: protection from all airborne pathogens and allergens, including the covid-19 virus.…

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2020 – What a Year for East West!

Finally, we’re reaching the end of 2020! I can’t tell you how many people have yearned to see this year pass since it’s been so difficult for most. Indeed, 2020 brought big changes to our lives and the East West Herb Course, too. I have always loved to travel and have done so since a…

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Joshua Samuelsen, December 2020

I grew up in London and then moved to Chico, California in my late teens. I studied International Communications at Chico State. During my Chico time, I also began my yoga journey, did my massage certification and other explored other modalities such Shiatsu and Reiki. I also worked for the weekly college paper, writing and…

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Natalie Morrissey, November 2020

I grew up in the San Francisco Bay Area of California and majored in Business Administration at the University of Hawaii because I felt it was a good foundation.  I worked as an accountant in the construction industry for about 20 years and then in the airline industry for about 17.  Sometime in 2015, I…

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Ashwagandha, Milk, Energy, and Sleep

Ashwagandha (Withania somnifera) is described as a rasayana in Ayurvedic medicine. In Ayurveda, rasayanas are used as Traditional Chinese medicine uses tonic herbs, and they correspond to the herbal category of adaptogens, a term first used to describe a limited number of immune tonics by Russians used in Western herbal medicine. Tonics, adaptogens, and rasayanas…

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Spicy Flavor and Digestive Trikatu

The spicy flavor has many understandings and an interesting function. When most people think of “spicy,” they think of spicy food. However, that’s normally due to the presence of chili rather than regular spices that don’t necessarily have what is normally thought of as a spicy flavor. In the last five years or more, food…

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Janet Tunjic, October 2020

I reside in the remote city of Perth, Western Australia with a beautiful son, husband and dog named Alby. Coming from Croatian ancestry my mother and aunties often resorted to folk medicine from their home land for all sorts of ailments as a child. This was my early introduction to healing through plants. My love…

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Lani Nelson, September 2020

I grew up in the small town of Yuba City, CA. I spent most of my childhood helping do the inventory of my local health food store’s vitamin department. It was one of my favorite things to do as I learned about herbal remedies and all the crazy big names. I used that knowledge as…

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Draksha: Ayurvedic Grape Wine Medicine

Asava and arishta, meaning “distillate” in Sanskrit, are two naturally fermented alcoholic extracts used for making Ayurvedic wine medicines. Draksha in Sanskrit means “grape” and draksharista therefore means grape wine. This is not your regular merlot or pinot, but a very low alcohol herbally medicated wine. Draksha is one of the most effective botanical remedies…

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Christina Slotin, August 2020

My name is Christina Q. Slotin and I live in Cocoa Beach Florida with my husband Michael and our two teenagers.  As a child, my family moved from Mexico to a small farm working town in Florida named Immokalee. Plants have always played a role in my life, my childhood includes fond memories of grinding…

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Huckleberry Fruit and Leaf for Diabetes

Many years ago, while visiting Baton Rouge, Louisiana, I happened upon a local herb shop.  While perusing jars of dry herbs, I noticed one that contained huckleberry leaves. In most parts of the country, bulk huckleberry leaves are hardly known well enough to claim any of the limited space in an average herb store. The…

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Jujube Dates to Usher in the Earth Time of Year

From July through about mid-September, we are in the “Earth time of year” with its organs, the Spleen and Stomach. In Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM), the Spleen is responsible for assimilation and transportation of nutrients throughout the body (metabolism) while the Stomach mechanically breaks down food and fluids. The flavor that improves both of these…

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Erica Macrum, July 2020

I grew up with the wet land plants, white oaks, and hickories in Illinois.   My love and connection with plants has been with me my whole life. I remember looking at a beautiful blossoming burdock as a young girl, the vibrant green purple pink of each flower and wondering who is this plant? My family…

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Coix: An Underutilized Medicinal Food

“Let your medicine be your food and your food, your medicine.” The sovereign dictum of Hippocrates is aptly epitomized by the use of Coix (Coix lacrymi-jobi, also known as Job’s tears and yi yi ren) as the most common treatment for cancer in China. Coix is a member of the Graminaceae family of which all…

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Chamomile: Gentle Yet Powerful

Since we are in the “season” of the Heart, we’ve been covering bitter herbs. The bitter flavor cleanses the blood among other things and thus, it is connected to the Heart in the Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM) Five Phases system. So far, we have discussed dandelion and California poppy in this bitter flavor series. Our…

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Jennifer Breschini, June 2020

I grew up in Colorado where my family was very focused on gardening. This sparked my love of plants and gardening and wherever I’ve lived, I’ve had a garden, large or small. At my current home here in Indianapolis I’ve transformed most of my suburban yard into a paradise of vegetables, herbs, and fruits. After…

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Darlene Kuhn, May 2020

I am a retired JD (Doctor of Jurisprudence), living in Toronto, Canada. I came to herbs and nutrition from a personal health history of “over-reactivity”: i.e., allergies, hay fever, and the toll they take on vitality. I saw this pattern repeating in my children, associated with nervous effects such as anxiety, ADHD. Western medicine, though…

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The Bitter Flavor in Herbs

The flavor of an herb is different than its taste. Taste is subjective while flavor is a major indicator of how an herb affects the body and thus, how it’s used. In other words, there is a direct correlation between flavor and physiological function. Basing an herb’s properties on its flavor was a way that…

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Can homeopathy stave off harmful effects of vaccinations?

Many mothers are afraid to give their babies and young children vaccinations. Pro and con arguments on both sides make for heated debates. To help with the decision to vaccinate or not, I recommend the book Vaccinations: A Thoughtful Parent’s Guide, by my former student, herbal colleague and now highly successful medical doctor integrating herbal…

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Liz Collins, April 2020

My name is Liz Collins.  My first passion in the recognition of physical and spiritual health is the practice of yoga, with over 25 years of teaching and study. I was certified in the Iyengar tradition through the Center for Yoga of Seattle in 1997. In the past 14 years I have immersed myself in the Shadow…

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Online Herbal Seminar

Online Herbal Seminar: 2023 Seminar

We are excited for you to join in inaugurating our first ever online seminar! And because it is online, many students who previously could not attend the onsite seminar may now participate in our virtual online seminar. Share the word and invite your friends to Foundation, or fellow students to Intermediate. It’s a crucial time for people to learn how to care for their own health and that of their families. Our seminar can help you find the answers you seek and

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Rediscovering Boneset for Influenza

In the midst of the current pandemic, I’m surprised how little mention there is of boneset, once considered the number one remedy for influenza and deemed a ‘miracle life-saving herb’ during the 1918-19 Spanish influenza responsible for the deaths of 675,000 Americans and ranging from 21 million to 100 million worldwide. Other than the general…

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Symptom-Specific Herbal Protection from Viruses

We are in cold and flu season, which especially hits during the summer-to-fall and winter-to-spring months. How do you prevent catching a cold or flu and if you do get it, what do you do? Thankfully some powerful herbs you can take right now to protect yourself. Herbal Prevention Herbal approaches for staying well include…

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Boost Your Immunity This Flu Season

So far, 14,000 people have died and 250,000 people have been hospitalized during the 2019-2020 flu season, according to preliminary estimates from the CDC, which estimates that influenza was associated with more than 35.5 million illnesses, more than 16.5 million medical visits, 490,600 hospitalizations, and 34,200 deaths during the 2018–2019 influenza season. Corona virus worldwide: 104,025 Deaths: 3,524 Recovered: 58,527 China: 80,652; 3070 deaths, 55,521…

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Evan Silver, March 2020

I grew up in San Francisco, CA, just a short walk from the city’s famous Chinatown neighborhood. As a child, I was fascinated by the interesting ingredients displayed at the herb shops; I had no idea that years later, I would have my own collection of Chinese herbs. I attended college in Burlington, VT and…

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Colds and Flu: Common-Sense Prevention Tactics

Anyone who’s heard tales from grandparents or great-grandparents who lived during the 1918 flu pandemic will understand the world’s great concern about the new coronavirus. The 1918 flu killed at least 50 million people worldwide, while 500 million (roughly one third of the world’s population then) became infected with that H1N1 virus.[1] Because the new…

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Jen Hyde, February 2020

Kia ora and greetings from the southern hemisphere!  My name is Jen and I first started getting interested in herbalism working as a wilderness guide in the NC Appalachian mountains.  As we hiked, my fellow guides would teach me the plants of the region and we would munch as we walked. We ate rock tripe and sourwood…

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