Friday, March 28, 2008

Medicinal Herb Garden Part II

These last few weeks, I have been pouring love all over these wonderful beings. They have been daily misted and weekly soaked. I have shifted the trays around so that they receive even light. Their domes have been off for a while and on for a while. I've changed the temperature in the room from very warm through very cool (50F).

Here is a photo taken this morning. Note the tall and lanky dwarf nasturtium in the front. He is being re-potted today as are many of them.

Some of the herbs have come up and some have not. This is a list of what has happened:

3.5 Weeks
These have come up:
Betony -very sparse
Catnip -very sparse
English Daisy
Dusty Miller
Motherwort -very sparse

These have not come up, at all:
Wild Indigo
Lemon Balm

3 Weeks
These have come up:
French Dandelion
California Poppy
English Lavender
German Chamomile
Dwarf Nasturtium
Sheep Sorrel
White Yarrow
Zhi Mu
Zuta Lavana

These have not come up, at all:
Greater Plantain
Sweet Violet

It's always up to nature, which plants grow well from seed in these conditions and which ones won't. I have decided to go ahead and order live plants from Richters Herbs, which will be here between May 15 to June 15, to complete my herb garden, as follows:

Gotu Kola
Blue Vervain

I have also ordered several plants that will deter critters (cats, dogs, rabbits) from eating my herbs. Oddly, the name of it is the "Piss Off Plant". I've also order a couple of "Vicks Plants" for inside my home. They are just what they sound like - plants that can be processed for respiratory conditions.

All-in-all, I'm very happy with my experience so far.

I've also have my usual culinary herbs planted:

La Lot
Lemon Balm
St Johns Wort

A friend of mine named Elizabeth gave me several plants, as well. It's going to be a huge garden this year. I'll keep you posted on the progess.

Friday, March 14, 2008

Today's Recipe - "Clear Chest"

After my husband had surgery to remove a colon cancer, he was left with a very heavy chest, which caused tremendous coughs to wrack his body with pain. I blended three tinctures together to make him a remedy for this congestion, which was likely caused by the anesthetic.

2 parts Echinacea - great for viral and bacterial infections in the respiratory system
1 part Osha Root - has an affinity for the digestive, respiratory, and immune systems. It can be used as a liniment for sore muscles and is indicated for colds, flu, sinusitis, bronchitis, and sore throats. Its main action is anti-microbial.
2 parts Usnea lichen - is useful for chest infections and respiratory complaints. It is anti-microbial and antifungal. It is a hardy immune system ally.
1/4 part Glycerin - used as a sweetener

According to a book I have here, each of these herbs are dosed at 3-7.5 ml/2-3 x a day. I always go with 'less is more' and trust Spirit to do the rest. In light of the information given to him, he has decided on 3 ml twice a day and it is working for him. As well, he is recieving a lot of energy work and taking another formula I made for him to support his liver/kidneys and he is taking Essiac Formula - four herb blend.
I am simply sharing our experience of what has worked for us. Please do your own research and trust your own instincts. There are a lot of herbs out there that do similar actions and will work well in a synergistic formula. Be well; be at peace.
Warmly, Lyn

Thursday, March 13, 2008

Creating a Medicinal Herbal Garden

After much research and searching, I decided on Richters Herbs in Ontario, Canada, who carry medicinal, culinary, and aromatic herbs of all kinds.

I wanted to have a variety of plants for each body system growing right in my own backyard. We live in a small space and there is no grass at the back, so we have decided to do container gardening. All of the herbs are organic and grown without the use of chemicals.

The following information comes from my own experience as well as a variety of external sources. Our list of herbs includes:

Ashwagandha Withania somnifera – adaptogen, tonic, used to increase vitality, energy, endurance, stamina, promote longevity, and strengthen the immune system without using the body’s resources

Betony Stachys officianalis – general tonic, relieves headaches, sedative, calms kids, astringent, and antiseptic

Calendula Calendula officianalis – heals wounds, treats chronic infection, great for all skin conditions, good for kids, calming to the digestive system, detoxifying, crush a live flower to place over bee sting

Catnip Nepeta cataria – helps control fever, colic, pain, great for kids, chronic bronchitis, diarrhea, sedative

Dusty Miller Senecio cineraria – is useful in clearing cataracts

German Chamomile Matricaria recutita – tummy issues, irritable bowel, reduces inflammation, antispasmodic, sedative

French Dandelion Taraxacum officinale – cleans the blood, stimulates the immune system, strengthens kidneys, diuretic, increases bile to the intestines, helpful with ‘lack of appetite’. Leaves are edible in salads.

English Daisy Bellis perennis – gentle laxative, helps with inflammations and burns, strengthening to stomach and intestines

Gotu Kola Hydrocotyle asiatica – revitalizes brain cells and helps to retard the aging process, great for wounds, scars, helpful with connective tissue issues. Leaves are edible in salads.

Heartsease Viola tricolor – helpful for epilepsy, eczema, asthma, bronchitis, whooping cough, rheumatism, and cystitis. Flowers are edible in salads.

Wild Indigo Baptisia tinctoria – roots are antiseptic so good for mouth sores, sore throat, respiratory system, and skin issues

English Lavender Lavandula angustifolia – helps with stress headaches, relieves gas, calms muscle spasms, gentle for kids, stimulates blood flow, antiseptic, antibacterial, depression

Goldenseal Hydrasis Canadensis – fights infection, heals gastro-intestinal tract, tonic to spleen, cleanses urinary system, heals bruises and wounds

Lemon Balm Melissa officinalis – proven effective against herpes zoster, which shows itself as cold sores on the lip; relieves muscle cramps and spasms, nerve tonic, helpful for headaches, depression, good for kids

Meadowsweet Filipendula ulmaria – useful for gout, rheumatism, arthritis, fever, contains salicylic acid, anti-inflammatory

Motherwort Leonurus cardiaca – strengthens the heart, calms palpitation, good for circulation, helpful for PMS symptoms and menstrual pain, calms the entire nervous system

Marshmallow Althaea officinalis – soothes irritations and inflammations of the skin, oral cavity, throat, digestive and intestinal systems, calms the respiratory system

Dwarf Nasturtium Tropaeolum minus – the whole plant is antibiotic, antiseptic, diuretic and expectorant; useful in chest conditions as it breaks us congestion in the respiratory system, promotes the formation of blood cells

Greater Plantain Plantago major – astringent, diuretic, expectorant, useful in respiratory and gastro-intestinal issues, externally for ringworm, crush live leaf and cover bee sting, and shingles

California Poppy Eschscholzia californica – used to help toothaches, bronchitis, colds, coughs, insomnia

Passionflower Passiflora incarnate L. – reduces anxiety and relieves depression, great for kids, expels worms, lowers blood pressure, increase urine output, allays pain, enhances libido

Rosemary Rosemary officinalis – refreshes the mind, good for memory, stimulates blood flow, anti-oxidant, anti-cancer, antifungal, antibacterial, antiviral

Sage Salvia officinalis – relieves excess mucus, astringent, lowers blood sugar in diabetics, eases mental exhaustion, soothes the nerves, good for sores, sweating, styptic

Skullcap Scutellaria lateriflora – good for headache, neuralgia, insomnia, restlessness, great for kids, hysteria, and convulsions.

American Senna Cassia marilandica – expels worms; taken with coriander or ginger, it is an effective and immediate laxative

Sheep Sorrel Rumex acetosella – anti-cancer, fever, inflammation, diarrhea, expels worms, astringent, good for proper liver function

Soapwort Saponaria officinalis – rinse for skin irritations or itchiness, shampoo, rinse for delicate clothing

St John’s Wort Hypericum perforatum – used to treat nerve pain, neuralgia, multiple sclerosis, trauma, concussions, bruises, and shingles. Use caution when employing this herb especially if you are taking MOA inhibitors. Check out the contra-indications for yourself regarding any drugs you are using.

Stevia Stevia rebaudiana – herbal sweetener, free of calories, does not affect the blood sugar adversely, inhibits dental caries and plaque, useful in the treatment of diabetes, candida, obesity, high blood pressure, reduces tobacco/alcohol/carbohydrate cravings, useful with kids

Speedwell Veronica officinalis – useful for coughs, catarrh, slow-healing wounds, and skin eruptions, relieves itching

Sweet Violet Viola odorata – leaves reduce swelling and sooth irritation, some anti-cancer properties, laxative, arthritis, gum disease.

Vicks Plant Plectranthus purpuratus – the leaves smell like this beloved remedy for chest colds and are used to make ointment that decongests

White Yarrow Achillea millefolium – useful to reduce fevers, helps respiratory/digestive/nervous system, enhances liver/gallbladder/kidney functions

Zhi Mu Anemarrhena asphodeloides – useful in bronchitis, fever, irritability, pneumonia, insomnia, infections, anti-diabetic, antibacterial

Zuta Levana Micromeria fruticosa – useful in the treatment of stomach ulcers, wonderful minty tea. Do not take this herb if you are trying to conceive.

As usual, before using any of these or other herbs, do your research especially in regards to the contra-indications. There are several herbs that you should not take if you are pregnant, plan to become pregnant, are lactating, or have major organ damage or disease. Please use caution and common sense.

12March2008 One week after planting, half the seedlings have sprouted and sent up little shoots. I am excited beyond words. I’ll keep you posted as to how it is going over the next few months and on into blooming.

Monday, March 10, 2008

My plan to become a Master Herbalist

26Oct07 updated on April 4, 2013

This journey has not come easily. Four years ago (2003), I did extensive research into formal courses on herbalism. Two years later (2005), it came down to two colleges: a Can Am College, and Heart of Herbs. I choose the first one because it is Canadian.
I was beside myself with excitement on receiving the course. When I went through the first chapter, I was shocked beyond words. In thirty-seven pages there were one hundred and thirty-six type o's and other errors. It was like someone had written the course but no one had proof read or edited it after that. I had no satisfaction from the man who was running the college and ended up eating $77.00 upon returning the course. I gave up on getting a formal education for a while, as I regrouped.

In the fall of 2007, I began mull it over again. A few months later, I received some wonderful news from a dear friend about her new herbalist degree but she could not recommend the local college she studied with. Her news lit a fire in my heart once again. I dug in and spent an entire day reading every word on eleven herbal websites. I found a file in my documents and was reminded of Heart of Herbs. There was a link, which took me to the Master Herbalist page. I read every word on that website and then I called Demetria Clark (I had already spoken to five teachers from the other websites I'd visited in the morning) and when I got off the phone I knew I'd found my teacher-someone who knew their stuff and with whom I could connect and share. I prayed about it and left it for overnight. The next day, I ordered the course. This course was disappointing to say the least. When I sent in my homework, I never heard back from her. When I asked questions, there was no one answering me back. After spending a year trying to get some feedback,

I moved on and found Rosemary Gladstar. Her course through Sage Mountain is the one I recommend to anyone who emails me about it.

I already have thirty-five years of experience of ‘personal, family, and friends’ in the use of herbal remedies. I want to become certified through formal learning so I can help more people in a deeper way. I've earned a Ph.D. in Energy Healing and have worked with the body systems for years. I have taken courses in Aromatherapy, and I’m a Natural Perfumer. I adore plant life and work with Gaia and my Spirit Guides when I collect herbs. I am grateful for all that the earth provides. Over that weekend, I came up with a plan of learning. To me, it seems very comprehensive and covers all angles.

Part One:
Enroll in a comprehensive program. Done

Part Two:
Herbal Preparations
Order a DVD course on herbal preparations. Done
I have ordered the Herbal Preparations and Natural Therapies DVD course and will proceed with that. This way I have a pseudo-instructor to make sure I’m in line with the generally accepted protocol for creating product. I have been making my own product for years and have never had a problem. That being said, I heartily advocate the ‘checks and balances’ system.

Part Three:
Herb Identification DVD. Done   I've also read 49 books on Herbalism and love living from this point of view. See the book list down the right.

What is a Master Herbalist?
A Master Herbalist sees the whole person rather than a set of symptoms or diseases. He or she considers the emotional state, the general vitality, and the nutritional needs of the client, involving them in an integrated holistic herbal program, which targets specific health issues and concerns.

A Master Herbalist is trained in every aspect of herbalism including plant identification, wildcrafting, herb gardening, botany, human anatomy & physiology, preparing herbal remedies, referring, combining herbal formulations, and suggesting protocols for sound health. There is a lengthy Intake Process to get the full picture. Often adjunct therapies are suggested, as well, to assist in overall wellbeing.
Lastly, a Master Herbalist neither diagnoses nor prescribes. We are consultants only and can simply listen and make suggestions, sharing what has worked for ourselves and others. No health claims are made. Our clients take full responsibility for their own wellbeing, actively researching on their own behalf.
And so, once again, I'm on my way to becoming... a blossom opening to the warmth of the sun... a tree reaching beyond its limits... a seed splitting the atoms of my armor and coming out of the shell that was 'I'...

Dream Seeds Herbal Project Interview


Dream Seeds Herbal Project Interview
I was asked to participate in this project by way of an interview with Kristena at:

Do you remember what was going on in your life that lead you to herbs?
I was living in rural British Columbia with my first husband and our two kids. Self-sufficiency was the necessary life-style in that situation back in 1972. I was 21 years old at that time. We had an extensive garden including many culinary and medicinal herbs. I learned a great deal about the effects of herbs on the body as I added them to some of my favorite recipes.

Can you share some of the work that has most influenced you? Such as books, blogs, video, and lectures.
Until I enrolled in the Heart of Herbs Master Herbalist course , I had no formal education. I’d just been growing and using the herbs I always had such as: Rosemary, Sage, Marjorum, Thyme, Basil, Fennel, Bay, Calendula, Chamomile, Cleavers, Dandelion, Garlic, Ginger, Lemon Balm, Peppermint, Spearmint, Raspberry leaf, Red Clover, and Yarrow.

I’d also read many books on the subject of herbs and anatomy, as follows, and all of them helped educate me and made me want to learn more:
The Illustrated Encyclopedia of Herbs by Jiri Stodola and Jan Volak
The New Healing Herbs by Michael Castleman
The Pill Book Guide to Natural Medicines by Michael Murry
The Botanical Pharmacy by Heather Boon
The Complete Guide to Herbal Medicines by Charles Fetrow & Juan Avila
The Healing Spirit of Plants by Clare Harvey & Amanda Cochrane
The Herbal Drugstore by Linda B. White and Steven Foster
The Naturally Clean Home by Karyn Siegel-Maier
Healing Herbal Teas by Brigitte Mars
Healing with the Herbs of Life by Lesley Tierra
Atlas of Anatomy-Know Your Body by Emmett Keffee, MD
Traditional Herbal Remedies by Michael Howard

When making plant medicine, are you drawn to any particular method?
When I collect herbs, I chant Om to the Mother plant. I give thanks to Gaia as she is my earth Mother who takes care of every one of my physical needs including my medicine. Source looks after my spiritual and energetic needs.

Then I dry the herbs in my Ronco food dehydrator and either tincture the material or infuse it in oil. Of course, it is used in the food recipes I create as well as medicinal teas, baths, pot pourri, given as gifts, and other ways.

When tincturing, I will use both the measuring system and the Simpler Method.

Do you have a most memorable event, conference, or one on one experience with any of our herbal foremothers and forefathers or any other key person used in your path of herbalism? And how has that influenced you today?
I was born and raised in the southwest corner of beautiful British Columbia. In this beautiful land, we are surrounded by mountains, forests, and many varieties of wild life. The Fraser River runs through our area only a few blocks away, and the Pacific Ocean is nearby. This wild beauty has consistently captured my heart. I’ve always experienced a heart-swell when I look at the plant life around me. I’ve talked to plants and sang to them my whole life.

My most memorable herbal event to date is the discovery of Calendula in 2002. My Spiritual Mentor of 26 years passed away in September 2001. As we were leaving her property for the last time, my husband reached down and took a couple of handfuls of seeds from one of her plants and stuck them in his pocket. We didn’t know what it was, we only wanted something of hers to live on with us.

We planted these seeds in early spring. When the flowers bloomed, our neighbour identified them as Calendula. I did research on this beautiful plant and began to make Calendula Balm in 2002. I made ten jars and those same first customers keep coming back for more. Each year, when the plants set seed, I give some away to whomever is my student at that time. Calendula plants are now growing all over the world and Louise Campbell Silver lives on. Her affect on my life was incredibly deep and lasting. I will never forget her.

Do you work with the public and could you describe your work? such as: Do you teach classes?
I do work with the public teaching classes in Energy Healing and Natural Perfumery. I don’t teach Herbal classes just yet as I want to first graduate from the Master Level course and another herbal course I’m taking in person this fall of 2008, and get extensive experience with herbs in a formal way. The class I'm taking this autumn has us going out into the bush to do some wildcrafting and plant identification, bringing back the plants to Langara College and making medicine.

Do you offer consultations?
It is my plan to do herbal consultation when I graduate. I have been doing them on an informal basis over the years, doing lots of research for particular cases. I look forward to broadening my scope of practice.

Do you have a vision for your work in the future or are you seeing how it unfolds?
For over thirty years, I have been using the herbs that I have grown myself for cleaning products, health and beauty aids, food, first aid, and many other reasons. I also use several over-the-counter herbs when I have an acute situation. I have peace of mind when using herbal remedies, as I know what is in the product and how it will affect my health.

By learning more about herbs, going deeper into the botany, chemistry, wild crafting, human anatomy & physiology, and increasing my knowledge and experience of other certified organic herbs that I have not grown myself, I hope to be able to help myself even more so I will be really healthy. Eventually, I want to have a consulting practice and help people physically as well as energetically.

What career opportunities will be available to you after you complete this course?

There are many ‘jobs’ that I could be suited for: growing and distributing herbs; teaching about herbs; taking interested folks on herb walks, lecturing about herbs, writing about herbs; owning/running a herb store; doing herbal consultations; and working in a herb store. There may be others that I haven’t thought of yet.

My plan is to do what I always do with that which I learn and that is to write, teach, and help others via consultations. My husband has come on board with me and will be expanding our herb garden this year. We have a good-sized order pending for live plants and organic seeds. We are always interested in seeing where Spirit will lead us next.

Most of the readers are new to herbs and if there is one word of wisdom or sage advice you could leave them, what would that be?
I am a writer so it is unlikely I can do this in one word. : ,)
What I would like to convey is to be ever-curious; find out all you can about the herbs you are interested in. Don’t skim over the contra-indications, rather fully learn those, too. Herbalism is the world of possibilities: to overcome chronic health situations, for health maintenance, for safe bath and beauty products, for a clean home environment, and for a nutritious way to eat. The possibilities are indeed endless.

I am so grateful to have you participating in this project I know you will inspire others with your deep appreciation, knowledge and love of herbalism.
You are so welcome. Thanks so much for allowing me to share my love of herbs.