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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amatierra retreat center

Amatierra: A Rejuvenating Retreat in Costa Rica

  When recently exploring the incredible plants of Costa Rica, we stayed at the magical retreat center Amatierra. It’s a hidden secret that is not only beautiful but also very nourishing as well. When we first arrived and climbed down the stairs to the main building and dining terrace, I was immediately struck by the…

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home herbalist course

Announcing: The East West Home Herbalist Course

We are very excited to announce that the East West School of Planetary Herbology now offers a Home Herbalist Course! While we have provided Family and Professional Herbalist Courses, we have not presented a basic course in learning herbs – until now! The Home Herbalist Course is a great way to get involved with immediately…

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Ashwagandha: Horsepower for Your Body

The Ayurvedic herb ashwagandha has become quite well known in recent years and it is no wonder, for it has many important uses. Overall, it’s a wonderful anti-aging and rejuvenative tonic for most all folks and so deserves its growing reputation. Specifically, it is a yang tonic (meaning it warms and strengthens the body’s energy…

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Celery Stalk: A Powerful Anti-Inflammatory

Celery often sits in our refrigerators for many different uses – making stocks, preparing soups, or filling with peanut butter for the kids. But celery has many more uses than that and is actually quite medicinal in concentrated form. Celery Seed Most herbalists are familiar with celery seed and teach about its many wonderful uses.…

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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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Citrus

Citrus: Fruit or Peel?

Most of us love some form of citrus – oranges, tangerines, grapefruit, lemons, limes and more – yet did you know that some parts of these delicious fruits are actually quite medicinal? Interestingly, …

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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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Green Leaves

Comfrey Comfort

Recently I was sitting in my garden one late afternoon trying to pull myself together after a very scattering day. (You know those days, the ones when you plan to do certain things, but instead, every …

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Michael and Anne at the Herbal Seminar

Confession

I have to admit I’ve been a bit irregular with my blogs lately. But there’s a good reason.  I’ve been working with East West student and editor Anne de Courtenay for two years to revise the East West …

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Costa Rica: Plant Paradise

Simply put, Costa Rica is a plant paradise. Michael and I were lucky enough to travel there a couple of weeks ago, and we were astonished by the botanical diversity there. So many regularly used herbs can be found in this forest wonderland. For starters, many of our kitchen spices come from Costa Rica. Ginger,…

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Feeling Damp, Bloated, Heavy? Care for your SPLEEN!

Many climates throughout the world have five seasons – late summer, or Indian Summer, is usually the fifth, lasting from sometime in July through sometime through about mid-September. In traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM), the spleen is associated with the earth element. It is considered much more than a component of the lymphatic system but instead…

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Finding Renewal in Costa Rica

Our second trip to lush Costa Rica proved just as magical as our first in September 2018. This time a wonderful group of 12 folks joined us to explore several areas of Costa Rica. We began our tour at Finca Luna Nueva (in the region of San Carlos), the second biodynamic farm established in Costa…

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Joy Smiling

Got Shen? Part 1

Do you love life? Do you enjoy people? Are you enthusiastic about what you do? Do you wake up excited for your new day? Do your eyes sparkle? Are you playful? Then you’ve got Shen. If you currently do …

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The Buddha

Got Shen? Part 2

There are many herbal approaches to supporting Shen depending on the imbalance affecting it: Nourish the Shen through Heart Qi, Blood, or Yin tonics: fu shen, zizyphus, biota, asparagus root, reishi …

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herbal gift giving

Herbal Gifts for the Holidays

Stumped about what to give for the holidays? Here are some herbal treats you can easily make and share that will not only be unusual and fun but also help your loved ones’ health, too! HAWTHORN OXYMEL An oxymel is simple as it’s only made with herbs, vinegar and honey. Hawthorn is especially good for…

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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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Hibiscus tree with pink flowers

Hibiscus and Jewelweed: More Summertime Herbs

In my last blog, I explained the Traditional Chinese Medicine disease pattern called “Summer-Heat,” largely parallel to what most Westerners know as heat stroke. As promised, here are two more herbs for this hot time of year: one made into a delicious cooling tea to ward off overheating, and another to deal with one of…

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Horsetail

Horsetail

Horsetail photo by Lesley Tierra Horsetail Equisetum spp. Energies and flavors: Cool, astringent Uses: Hemostatic, astringent, vulnerary With the advent of Spring comes horsetail, a type of shave-gras …

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A frosted donut

How to Get Sick

There is so much focus on what one should do in order to stay well that I sometimes find switching the tables helps people gain a different perspective of how their habits invite sickness into their l …

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How to Stay Well from Summer into Fall

  We are fast approaching the joint of the seasons – summer into fall – and of all times of the year, this is the most susceptible for catching colds and flu. Weather is cooling now, school is starting, and activities pick up so generally there’s more stress. At the same time, we often cling…

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Jimson Weed: Dangerous Magic

Old time herbalists and the Eclectics didn’t focus on common herbs – they mainly used “heroic” medicines instead. These are the toxic herbs, so strong that only 1-2 drops of tincture were generally taken for quick and effective results. Of course such plants are rarely used today, and when they are it’s mainly in homeopathic…

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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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Mistletoe

Merry Mistletoe

It’s that season when many pin a bouquet of mistletoe in their doorway for that magical ritual of kissing underneath its bounty. While there’s wonderful lore behind this annual tradition, mistletoe is …

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Tierra mulberry tree

Mulberry Dreams

Our Mulberry Tree! Early this morning I trudged out under the foggy sky and picked all I could from our one mulberry tree. Last week I had only gotten two handfuls; now I filled a small bucket. As jui …

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Mung beans

Mung Bean for Summer Illness

Finally, to close this series on herbs for Summer-Heat and for summer conditions in general, is the humble mung bean, a premier herb for clearing heat in Traditional Chinese Medicine. Mung bean (Vigna radiata, formerly known as Phaseolus munginis) neutralizes acids, clears toxicity, lowers and regulates blood pressure, heals ulcers, and relieves Summer-Heat and Hot-natured…

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