Traditions In Western Herbalism Conference
2012 Class Descriptions!
New descriptions of our 2012 TWHC Classes posted here on the conference website.
We ask our many awesome teachers to go out of their way to provide you with unique, seldom or never-before presented classes that are “unscripted, deeper and more extensive, more personal, challenging, powerful and applicable” than ever before… and they came through with flying colors! I appreciate you reposting and forwarding.
For more information or to register, click on the:
Traditions In Western Herbalism Website
On this walk we will look at the diversity of local plants and discuss their botanical details, clinical uses, ways to prepare and use them as medicine, current and historical uses and the occasional story. This will be a time to appreciate and learn about the local flora from an herbalist’s and naturalist’s perspective.
The Herbalist Street Medic
Street medicine generally refers to the various forms of medicine offered at protests and demonstrations, generally by people ‘on the ground’ rather than in hospitals and offices. In these ‘street’ situations, herbalists can offer a valuable service. This includes helping with conditions ranging from being in a constant stressful situation( i.e., anxiety and insomnia), as well as injuries, gastrointestinal disturbances, and exacerbations of pre-existing conditions.
Patient Compliance and other Clinical Skills.
This is a clinical class on the herbalist’s consultation with a focus on helping patient compliance with taking the uncommon, odd, and often quite un-tasty medicinal preparations that we dispense. We will discuss affordability, accessibility, labeling, instructions, and devices that may help with compliance. We will also focus on other valuable clinical skills such as intake, body language, and non-herbal recommendations.
How to Sit With a Plant
In the grasping utilitarian model of herbalism, we want to know what the plants are “good for.” In a vitalist model we want to know the plant on its own terms just for the sake of love and connectedness. Uses or powers of the plant may be revealed, and will be for most, but for the herbalist, what is learned by not using a plant may be more valuable than any medicinal use. Love and connectedness themselves may be more important to the healer than one more item for the materia medica. We will practice methods of clearing and stilling the grasping self, of perception in the “middle world,” and attunement to a plant on every level.
How to Sit With a Patient
Awareness skills for the herbalist. Awareness skills in a clinical setting go both ways; we are being present and aware of the patient, and also aware of ourselves and our own process. We will discuss and practice both sets of skills, including patient factors such as posture, clothing, complexion, vital tone, energy level, voice quality, and methods for identifying and processing our own reactions to the clinical experience.
Trees of the Southwest: Tree Walk, Folklore, and Clinical Uses
In this interactive tree walk we will visit, experience with our five senses (taste, smell, touch, sight, and sound), and discuss the clinical applications, folklore and medicine of species of trees growing in southwestern North America. In addition to experiencing the tree medicines through our senses, the walk includes discussion of proper harvesting/wildcrafting technique for trees in sensitive environments, appropriate preparations for each tree and plant part, and specific clinical indications and applications for each tree. We will also discuss the folkloric knowledge of these trees and stories associated with these teachers to deepen our understanding of trees as wisdom keepers and allies beyond the medicinal applications.
Herbal Neurology: Seizure Disorders
Many herbalist shy away from working with this often frightening and debilitating problem. We will discuss both acute anti-seizure formulas and long term tonic protocols for overall reduction of seizure frequency and drug side effects. Herbal protocols, lifestyle changes, supplements, identifying triggers, and working safely with neurologists will be richly illustrated using case studies from my clinic.
Safety and Drop Dosage Botanicals (with Kristi Reese)
Drop dosage or low dosage botanicals are becoming popular with many herbalists these days. Although these medicinals can be extremely effective, the difference between poison and medicine is dosage. This class is about safely harvesting, processing, storing, and dispensing these herbs. This class is not about the specific uses of these herbs.
Understanding Herb-Drug Interactions: Drugs in Herbal Territory, Not the Other Way Around
As practitioners, we are constantly assuaging the fears of clients and physicians regarding the potential for the herbs we recommend to interact with the drugs people are prescribed. The assumption is that if there is any impact on the activity of a drug, then the herb should be discontinued. The plants are considered the interlopers; herbalists and herbs are the problem. I’ll explain the different types of interactions that can occur; how we can and cannot predict those interactions; and how we can take advantage of these interactions to benefit clients. We’ll explore the CYP450 enzyme family responsible for metabolizing both medicinal plant constituents and drug molecules to understand why they’re often central to this conversation. Finally, we’ll look at resources for researching potential interactions between particular drugs and herbs and how to assess the actual clinical significance of the information. My goal is for people to leave feeling they can engage more confidently in conversations with clients, physicians and anyone who’ll listen about the challenges and benefits of herb-drug interactions. Ultimately, we can best support expanded use of herbal medicine in our over-medicated society when we can critically assess and address this overblown, yet still relevant, concern.
Teaching the Teacher: Training the Herbal Clinician
Cultivating the herbal practitioner goes far beyond supplying students with the necessary information to practice. The role of a practitioner is vast: as a catalyst for change within the client, as the integrator of a variety of clinical, medical, sensory and human information in order to nudge health states, as a partner in finding wellness and balance within the ecosystem and community, and as an expert in the use of medicinal plants and foods. Learn about a model for training clinical herbalists and the components of the training and their individual use and significance. The class will be designed for both the student looking to seek the an education as a clinician, and the teacher looking to better teach their students.
Making a (Financial) Living as an Herbalist (While Being True to Yourself and the Plants)
Learn about how one can make a living as an herbalist while staying true to the values which guide them. Our trade as herbalists is a valid one with tremendous personal and global rewards, yet it can be difficult to navigate the mainstream, financial system and make ends meet at times. Find out about ways herbalists are thriving in this modern world and specific suggestions for ways you can follow your path and cultivate financial stability, all in a good way.
Healing Through the Veil: Entheogens and Trauma
Psychedelic or entheogenic plants and drugs are powerful tools for opening gateways to other realities. Used wisely, they can be powerful tools for insight and conscious transformation.Used recklessly, they can open someone to deeply traumatic experiences. Sean shares his own experiences and perspectives on herbal first aid for people having frightening and overwhelming psychedelic experiences, finding and addressing the existing wounds these experiences reveal, and the potential of entheogenic plants to both educe and heal emotional trauma.
Ginseng, Golden Apples, Wise Women, Old Farts,, and the Rainbow Fish
Traditional herbal practitioners and Appalachian mountaineers offer unique perspectives on healing traditions, gender issues, roots and herbs, and wild apples, as well as insights into sustainable harvesting of ginseng and other medicinal plants, mycorrhizal fungal associations, tickling trout, etc. Elliott recounts one particularly noteworthy visit with Ray Hicks, an extraordinary elderly mountain wildcrafter, who tells traditional stories from “across the waters” about Jack, the archetypical naïve, but resourceful, Euro-Appalachian trickster figure. “Then after listening all morning to his plant lore and ancient tales, I stop along the way home to collect wild apples, herbs, and mushrooms; I find myself living out the kind of mythic adventure that I had just heard in Ray’s stories.” This gives insight into how every day, especially when we set out hunting for herbs, we are indeed on a quest –like they say in the ancient tales–“seeking our fortunes. ”
Poetry by William Butler Yeats and Ovid’s tales of Diana, Aphrodite, and Atalanta bring home revelations about the mythic qualities in all our lives.
Sense of Place Trail Hike
This is an opportunity to stretch out and roam along one of the most interesting trails in the area. We’ll be checking out the herbs, for sure, but it will be faster-paced than the average herb walk. We’ll be taking in the bigger picture as well, the mountains, the forest, birds, and mammals–their tracks and signs.
ROSALEE DE LA FORÊT
Starting a Community Supported Herbal Clinic, From the Ground Up
In the past year Rosalee has worked within her small rural community to set up an herbal clinic open to all people in need of care. In this class she will share her own challenges and successes and explore a broader range of topics to help those on their own journey of setting up a free or sliding scale herbal clinic in their own communities. Discussion will revolve around; How do we provide care sustainably? Do herbalists deserve to be paid for giving health care? Challenges of getting funded. Setting up a herbal apothecary. Benefits of bioregional herbs. Forming a community around herbalism. Working within special populations. Organization and record keeping. Business structures pros and cons. Scope of practice and referrals. Visions of a new health care model.
Wolf Chemistry: How to Smell and Taste Herbal Constituents
As herbalists we learn to develop our senses of smell and taste to understand and judge the identity, potency, and quality of living plants, dried herbs, and herbal preparations. This way of understanding the messages and information carried by scent and flavor molecules in plants is a skill that all animals possess, as we easily see when we observe the focus and attention of a ground-sniffing companion animal on their daily rounds or at the food bowl. Science calls it “organoleptics” … using the senses to detect and evaluate the presence, concentration, and quality of constituents in foods and herbs. In many cases, we can train our senses to be just as helpful – or even more so – than expensive analytical equipment. Our wild relatives, including Wolf and Bear, are honored as traditional experts in organoleptics – understanding the food, medicine, or poison of a plant through deep sensory perception and instinct developed by constant practice and the necessity of life in the wild. Join us in this active journey where we will re-connect with these ancient skills to reawaken and train our senses for better understanding the constituents and quality of our healing herbs. Learn how to use the Scratch, Snort, Savor, and Spit method of phytochemical analysis with sample herbs and living plants from our conference environment.
Beyond Tinctures & Oils: Extracting Herbs with Honey
In Western herbalism, we commonly use alcohol (tinctures, fluid extracts), water (infusions, decoctions), and vegetable oils (oils, salves) to extract the healing constituents from herbs. While these are all excellent ways to concentrate and preserve herbal medicines, there is another traditional fluid that we often overlook – honey. A 10,000-year-old cave painting in Spain depicts women collecting honey; in Hindu tradition, honey is considered to be one of the five elixirs of immortality; in Islamic tradition, alcohol is general forbidden and village herbalists often use honey as a substitute solvent, and for its revered healing powers. The use of honey is also described in old Chinese texts. Honey is a very unique solvent with virtually magical powers to extract and preserve constituents from many of our favorite plants. The sugars in honey, along with numerous antioxidant compounds, have remarkable preservative abilities. Liquid honey, still perfumed with the aroma of essential oils, has been found in Egyptian tombs more than 3,000 years old. Honey collects numerous constituents from herbs and will take on the rich colors of various pigments, such as with Elderberry Honey. Learn how to make a traditional honey extraction and how to use herbal honey as a topical healer for burns and wounds; as an ingredient in elixirs and syrups; or for fermenting medicinal meads. Find out how to substitute herbal honeys for alcohol or glycerin tinctures. See how the constituents from a water extract can be coaxed into honey for preservation. We’ll also talk about the special ingredients of honey and see what we can learn from the many scientific studies that are being published lately about Manuka honey. Honey, the golden gift, is far more powerful than we might expect when we think of it as ‘just another sweetener.’ Class will include demonstrations.
Chronic Pain: A Hispanic Perspective
The use of native and Hispanic herbs are a given in this topic. But not so widely known are the use of colors, fragrance, hygiene, food and light in Hispanic pain control. These are not New Age theories. Rather they are the observations of a healer and a chronic pain sufferer whose family has used these techniques for over a century. This is not a topic for those who romanticize suffering to any degree. Chronic and severe pain is debilitating and must be eliminated or controlled for anyone wishing to live a productive life.
Death & Dying: Coping for the Herbalist/Caregiver
Not every herbalist sees or treats terminally ill clients. Some do. A few of us get more than our fair share of dying clients, friends, and family. A sense of professional may help for a time. But what happens when you’ve experience too much loss, professionally or personally? Do you turn to religion, philosophy, herbs, friendships, drink, drugs, sex? Perhaps in your life as a healer you must become a caregiver to a family member or a close friend? Do you treat them differently? Do you offer different options? Expect to hear ideas for coping, failures at coping, questions on ethics, questions of spirituality, rituals, and how we perceive death. Audience interaction is expected.
Ice storms to hurricanes, earthquakes to flu pandemics. Every region of the country has it’s unique natural environment that sometimes becomes very inhospitable to the humans who choose to live there. In this workshop, learn and discuss the various ways you can prepare for you and your family to survive whatever Mama Nature decides to throw at you. Learn the order of survival necessities (food is at the very bottom of the list) and discuss ways to improvise what you don’t have–from shelter to water filtration to herbal first aid kits.
CASCADE ANDERSON GELLER
Musculoskeletal Health with Wild Plants and Other Natural Remedies – (Advanced class)
In my practice, problematic conditions affecting the musculoskeletal system are all too common. Inflammation due to injury, overuse, improper use, malnourishment, heredity, and other issues causes great suffering and impairment. This class will focus on evaluating through the lens of the practicing herbalist, including the broad and highly specific views, that may aid healing or management of conditions as well as complementing other treatments such as physical therapy, manipulation, massage, energy, or allopathic. The natural remedies and techniques to be discussed have been effective for conditions such as: fractures, sprains, strains, bruising, arthritic and other degenerative disorders, chronic pain, etc. Emphasis will also be placed on prevention. Herbal information will focus on a mix of native and non-native plants growing in many types of terrain: Alnus, Althea, Arnica, Asarum, Encelia, Gaultheria, Hypericum, Larrea, Populus, Rumex, Salix, Sassafras, Symphytum, Taraxacum, Urtica, Valeriana and others. Class discussion and demonstrations will include topics such as cold versus hot applications, useful first aid techniques, topical and oral formulations, case management strategies, etc.
Giving Voice: Creating Social and Political Change with Special Emphasis on Topics of Interest to Herbalists
Cascade will share her experiences as an organizer around political issues relating to food, water , land, and especially herbs and herbalism. The touchstone piece relating to herbs and herbalists pivots on regulation and standardization of aspects such as education, practice, and products. This class will shed light on different camps of current thinking and action that affects herbalists, especially in regards to those involved with existing trade groups and associations. Notable issues will include: how herbalism in the U.S. is moving closer to harmonizing with global trade law and policy, animal research and it’s relationship to herbalism, and other topics. The discussion may help participants understand why issues become divisive but how that energy can be redirected toward healing. The class will help lay a foundation of understanding about how to get the voices of people and organizations heard even when not empowered by wealth or position. Running a successful campaign takes thoughtful organizing and information but there are things that anyone can do. This session will feature some tried and true methods to effect change using existing laws and institutions. Participants can learn concrete ways to: shed light when there is little, know what questions to ask and how to ask them, decide what to ask for, know how to initiate a public process and how to make good use of it, decide how to evaluate an organization, be engaged in decision-making of organizations, effectively serve on boards or committees, make a public records request, read between the lines, engage the press and other media. Most of the amenities and rights we enjoy in the United States, and other countries, including public parks, schools, libraries, roads, bridges, voting rights, labor laws, municipally controlled drinking water, waste water treatment, land use and pollution regulations, etc., etc., exists only due to effective organizers in the present and past. This class is dedicated to them.
KIVA ROSE & JESSE WOLF HARDIN
Coming Home: Bioregional Herbalism & Sense of Place
Healing begins at home, growing from the same rich soils we spring from. The lives of these plant medicines are inextricably intertwined with ours: blooming uninvited outside the front door and at the wild edges of asphalt parking lots, growing from the terra cotta pots on our kitchen windowsills and rooting in well-tended community gardens. The allure of exotic herbs from far away countries has blinded some of us to the sources of healing closest to home, often hardy and plentiful plants in energetic relationship with the land that houses, feeds, affects and influences us. Traditional healers of many cultures have long told stories of being intuitively drawn to the very species that can help us most, often growing in close proximity without our having realized its potential. And once we have identified and built a relationship with our fellow locals/natives, we will come to understand the plants’ needs as well as our own, recognize when their kind is doing well and when they are being overharvested or otherwise suffering decline. Bioregionalism is deep familiarity – and reciprocal relationship – with the watersheds and ecosystems where we choose to live, the wondrous “weeds” that coinhabit our cities and the rural and wildlands that surround them. In this class, we will describe the benefits of a biorgegional herbal focus on our lives and the ways that it increases the effectiveness of our herbal practices. We’ll provide tools for exploring and deepening sense of place, the essential sense of belonging that literally grounds us and our work in the real, living, present world. Be prepared to further awaken not only your senses, but a mythopoetic quest as well… to be as extensions of the land and conscious agents of its mission of healing and wholeness.
The San Francisco Peaks: Sacred Mountain of the West
For countless centuries the Navajo and Hopi people have respectfully gathered healing plants on the San Francisco Peaks (S.F.P.) in northern Arizona. This tradition is an indispensable part of their elaborate and intriguing healing systems. Navajo and Hopi regard the importance of where you gather plants as significant as what you gather, and the ritual of collecting includes making offerings and recognizing value in all living things. Of the over 800 vascular plant species documented for S.F.P. area, 237 species have medicinal or ceremonial significance. In my presentation I will share with you the five most utilized medicinal species found in the Ponderosa Pine vegetation zone. I will also take a look at the rare and endemic species growing at the Alpine Tundra vegetation zone and ceremonial species living in the Spruce –Fir and Mixed Conifer vegetation zones. We will also consider the differences between how and in what ways different cultures view and use nature.
A Peek Inside My Medicine Bag.
Betony (Pediclaurs parryi) Yerba Manzo (Anemopsis californica) Hamula (Brickelia spp.) Elephant-tree (Bursera microphylla) Desert Lavender (Hyptis emoryi)
Having lived my whole life in Arizona, I have had the opportunity to become close and personal with many herbs from the Sonoran desert to the riparian wetlands and up into the high lands of the mountains. Each environment has many offerings and blessings in a variety of medicine plants that speak to us nestled in and among the ancestral landscape. Some of my favorite medicine plants range from the delicate fernlike betony (Pediclaurs parryi) that hides in among the pine needle duff up in the Ponderosa pine forests of the mountains to the sculpted trunk of the aromatic elephant tree (Bursera microphylla) in the Sonoran desert. Or, the scrubby bushes of the bitter hamula (Brickellia spp.) that grows on the mesas and in the dry canyons to the thick green leaved riparian yerba mansa (Anemopsis californica). Another shrub that sings to my heart is the drought resistant desert lavender (Hyptis emoryi) whose sweet scent calls us in the spring enticing us to come and partake of the beauty as it offers up it’s medicine to us. These plants speak a language to humans by sharing their gifts to heal our imbalances and bring us once again back to harmony with ourselves and with the earth. Join me in as I open my medicine bag and share with you some of the important plants that have assisted me on my life path.
Sacred Plant Walk
Phyllis Hogan has spent her life plant-walking Arizona from the Sonoran Desert to the San Francisco Peaks. She has worked with all of the native tribes of this area and has a vast knowledge of the ethnobotany and traditions tied to this sacred land. Her walk focusing on the plants growing around Mormon Lake is sure to be not only an educational experience but also a sacred journey back to ancestral time.
Folk Herbalism and Science
Folk herbal traditions rely on observation and experience based on tradition. In addition, traditional knowledge may have secret methods of communicating information such as truths that are revealed by God, land-spirits, or intuition. Tradition links present practices with past ones. Science is concerned solely with truths that are revealed by man through measurement. It is based on observation, theory, predictions and experimentation. We’ll also discuss such questions as: How old does a tradition have to be to be a tradition? What is the nature of statistical evidence? Who funds herbal scientific studies? What about that isolated phytochemical constituent anyway? Join Phyllis for an exploration of where folk herbal traditions and medical science intersect and how you can use both in your practice.
The Four Elements: Constitutions
In Southern Folk Medicine, constitutions are based on four elements and four tastes. This class will explore the four elements, fire, earth, air, and water, and the characteristics and personalities associated with each. Are you an airhead? How much fire is fueling your drives? Can you hold your water? Is earth holding you down? Understanding constitutions offers a very practical and traditional avenue of assessment for the practitioner. And besides, it’s also really fun to find out more about yourself.
The Taste of Herbs
Come taste, savor and guess the name of the herbs. This class will explore a proving of three different simple decoctions based on their taste. Together we’ll discover what that taste has to say about the medicinal properties of the plant and how the plant can be used. This is a hands-on, or rather, tongue-on, experiential class. You’ll be surprised how much information a simple taste can reveal.
Descriptions will be posted soon….
Energetics and Aphrodisiacs
“Aphrodisiac” is a highly problematic term, predominantly because of the popular but mistaken belief that they can stoke interest in those who aren’t. In addition to considering what “aphrodisiacs” ~don’t~ do, we’ll explore the things they can. Looking at lists of plants deemed “aphrodisiacs”, we see everything from strong, druglike herbs (yohimbe) to culinary spices (ginger) to adaptogens (ashwangandha) and antispasmodics (kava). What gives? Well, just like all other aspects of herbcraft, one person’s turn on can put another person out… in other words, energetics apply here as well. We’ll look at what indications make certain herbs appropriate to certain people, and give you some ideas to ponder with your partner(s).
Tales from the Frontlines: Herbal Case Studies in Primary Care in a Nicaraguan Public Hospital
The innovative nonprofit Natural Doctors International operates a naturopathic medical clinic in collaboration with the public health system of Nicaragua. For 15 months, I attended every conceivable malady in collaboration with Nicaraguan doctors and nurses in an extremely successful and popular program that continues to this day. Because the clinic is on an island, with very limited access to high-tech interventions, I was able to use herbs, nutrition and bodywork to treat cases that might be considered emergency room referrals in the US. We will review cases that illustrate important warning signs in primary care that the herbalists may confront. We will discuss the keys to the clinic’s success. We will also learn about Central American herbalism and conceptions of health and disease.
Where the Rubber Meets the Road: Successful Models for Community Health Clinics in Natural Medicine
Many have dreamed of starting community clinics using natural medicine. What are the elements that allow such a clinic to be sustainable over the long term? We will review a number of successful models both in North America and internationally. Conferences are often a lost opportunity, where like-minded people of diverse bioregions are all in the same room, perhaps for the only time they ever will be. There will be space for participants to discuss clinics, organizations, and models they have been a part of, and why they have or have not worked, so that all will be able to exchange with each other.
Herbs for the Massage Practice
This class will introduce the massage therapist or body worker to the art of incorporating of herbs in their practice. We will thoroughly discuss a variety of herbs used externally as herbal oils, and internally as teas and extracts. The class will include such herbal therapies as muscle relaxants, analgesics, anti-inflammatories, tranquilizers, demulcents, and emollients. We will cover the herbal treatments for common complaints occurring in your practice such as muscles strains, sprains, tendinitis, whiplash, nerve traumas, pain, muscular and nervous headaches, general musculo-skeletal injuries, and more.
Safety and Drop Dosage Botanicals (with Howie Brounstein)
Drop dosage or low dosage botanicals are becoming popular with many herbalists these days. Although these medicinals can be extremely effective, the difference between poison and medicine is dosage. This class is about safely harvesting, processing, storing, and dispensing these herbs. This class is not about the specific uses of these herbs.
Ecology and Activism in Women’s Health and the Role of Botanicals
“By comparing the earth to a woman: opulent and attractive but, in equal measures, temperamental and violent, the male scientific community justified its will for domination over them.”
“Nature to be raped, nature to be discovered, nature to be organized, nature to be controlled and nature to be exploited: these were the great ambitions of Francis Bacon and Rene Descartes, the fathers of modern science.” Carolyn Merchant. The Death of Nature: Women, Ecology and the Scientific Revolution.
There is no coincidence that the top money making surgical procedures in the US are obstetric and gynecologic. Women (and our uteruses and ovaries!) have, for centuries, been subject to propaganda and campaigns. Anti-nature and anti-woman attitudes are intimately connected. The healing of the environment and the healing of women’s health can be connected by a reclamation of women’s healing arts and a rejection of unnecessary medical treatments aimed at women. this class will approach women’s herbal medicine as a radical, activist, and eco-feminist act. We will focus on botanical methods of treatment for key women’s health concerns including uterine fibroids, endometriosis, PMS, depression, and menopause, for which women are medically mistreated.
Roots Midwifery: Radical Pregnancy, Birthing, and Postpartum Botanical Care
Amnesty International has declared birth in the United States an infringement of human rights! The cesarean section is now between 30 and 40% and still escalating. natural birthing women are an endangered species. supporting natural birth is therefore a radical act. herbal medicines and an approach that respects nature and innate physiology are essential tools for the birth activist, helping women to move through pregnancy, birth, and the postpartum in health and without unnecessary and often dangerous medical intervention. this class will introduce you to innate pregnancy and birth, and will provide you with a midwife’s basket of practical and herbal tools to preserve and protect natural human birth.
Detailed description to be posted soon….
Treating Chronic Illness
For a cold or the flu, you can send your client off with your favorite remedies and your job is done. But when you have a client with a chronic illness, your work is more complicated. The constitution of the client becomes a more important part of your herb choice, and the herbs are only part of the story. Chronic illness demands changes in diet and lifestyle, even in the way the client moves through their day. This class will focus on creating a whole protocol for clients with chronic illness, with specific information about how to choose the herbs, how to succeed with dietary recommendations, and how to get your client moving/exercising in appropriate ways for their level of health.
Weedcrafting: Redefining Wildcrafting for The Next Generation of Wild Foragers
Many people studying herbalism are drawn to the “roamance” and allure of wandering into wildlands and gathering medicinal plants to make their very special and unique medicinal preparations. The reality is that the wild cannot sustain all of us, even herbalists without some serious altering of our habits as wildcrafters. Many of us have the dream of having a bit of land to roam, and a small herb farm, or the like. The reality again is that most of us are financially tied to surviving in cities and that there is not enough land for everyone to have their 30 acres. How do we make peace as herbalists with the draw to be in the wild and connect with our wild plants, and be sustainable and conscious in our practices of collecting. How do we really know if our impact is helpful or harmful? As many of us relearn our wild plant medicines, and teach others how to find them and connect with nature, we become stewards and must also protect wild plants. Weedcrafting is a redefinition of WIldcrafting. Weedcrafting is the harvesting of plant material from wild and waste spaces that helps support the native ecosystem and promotes diversity. Weedcrafting a type of wild gardening that looks at the ecology of a place as well as the species of interest and takes into account that the earth cannot sustain unconscious foraging in our wildlands. Weedcrafting is about not only tuning into the wild in yourself, but also looking past our cities at the wildness and weediness making medicinal offerings to us in the most unlikely of places
Greek Medicine for the Modern Herbalist
The Greek system of medicine and herbalism is locked up ancient concepts but it is actually a very insightful system that can help us to understand the properties of herbs today. Many of our ‘herbal actions’ are the tail end of Greek concepts. The basic energetics are hot and cold, damp and dry but these are not measurements of temperature and humidity. They are categories of action: hot remedies are opening, thinning, warming (from the center outward), and burning, while damp remedies are lubricating, nourishing or thickening, softening or emollient, and laxative. The sixteen categories of action tell us how hot, cold, damp, and dry work to regulate the organism and how herbs and food heal the imbalances. They deepen our us of the tissue state model of energetics. The Greek system also includes foods so that cooking was a part of medicine.
Specificity in Herbal Medicine
Folk medicine is based largely on direct experience (instead of theory), specific indications (symptoms and conditions obvious to the senses instead of complex diagnostic categories made by machines), and (usually) the doctrine of signatures. Dr. John M. Scudder (1829-93) took the first two of these elements and fashioned them into a system of medicine which offers the most exact possible usage and knowledge of herbal properties. Many of his specific indications came directly from the Indian people or the pioneers who learned from them. Thus, Specific Medicine (as he called the system) preserved many basic remedies and the indications upon which they were used by the common and indigenous people. This system supplements and makes more exact the tissue state model of energetics and other methods used by the physiomedicalists.
Oh, to Touch, Taste, and Feel
….and think really hard about comparative approaches to application of botanically related plants.
The aim of this class is to provide participants with a methodology for uniting their senses with information about plants from Chinese Medicine regarding flavor and nature, contemporary understandings of native plants, and botanical systematics in order to deepen our understanding of our local Materia medica. Case examples will probe the Apiaceae and Gentianaceae, genus’ Paeonia and Pedicularis and more. The class will include plant samples to touch, taste, observe, and smell!
CHILDREN’S AND YOUTH’S CLASSES:
A Children’s Plant Walk
This will be a time for kids to meet and have fun with the local plants.
Herbal Sprouts: An Herbalism Class For Kids! (1.5 hrs)
This class offers a special edition of Herbal Roots zine created just for the kids attending the Traditions in Western Herbalism Conference 2012. This class will start with an herb walk to find the plant we are studying, explore the varieties located in the area, examine the growth habit of the varieties that we find. We will then go back to our area and learn all about the herb’s uses in a magical session woven with stories, songs, games, activities, crafts and recipes. By the end of the class, kids will be able to identify the herb, name some uses, have some medicine made that they can take home and use and have a craft plus be familiar with the song to sing to their parents. Ages 5 and up welcome.
Journaling and the Art of Herbalism for Teens (2-3 hours)
This class will show you how to create your own herbal journal to record your journey with herbs. We’ll talk about why it’s important to keep notes of your herbal experiences, how to sketch plants and more basics of journaling. Bring a blank journal with you (the Canson Multi-Media Paper Pad 7 x 10″/60 sheets is a great size) to decorate and begin your journaling journey. By the end of class your cover should be decorated to reflect your personal style and and an entry or two will be begin to fill your pages. A limited number of journals will be available for purchase but to assure you have a journal, please try to bring your own. Ages 13 and up welcome.
First Aid for Kids
A basic first aid workshop for 6-10 year olds. Everyone gets hurt: fingers get cut or burned, ankles get twisted, knees get scraped and toes get stubbed. This workshop is intended to empower the children to take care of their own minor injuries. They’ll learn how to stop the bleeding, clean, and bandage a wound so it doesn’t get infected; how to splint an arm that might be broken and wrap an ankle that might be sprained ; what to do with a burn; and, importantly, when it’s time to take the ouches to more definite care.
Bones and Muscles for Kids
What are growing pains? What happens to your body when you wear high-heeled shoes? How can you best develop your muscles for sports? Why should you sit up straight, and what’s straight anyway? How can you speed recovery from a broken bone or a twisted ankle? This class will cover everything you need to know to have strong muscles and bones – from herbs that will help you grow strong and tall to simple exercises that will protect you from back pain when you get old like your parents. Be ready to learn, move, and play games!
Wild Child Learning: An Herbal Class for Kids
(Inspired by the children’s herbal fantasy book by Monica Furlong)
How many of us have wished we could be like Wise Child, mentored by the herbalist and wisewoman healer, Juniper, in the arts that lead one to become a “doran” — one who senses the pattern at the heart of all things, and who is dedicated to loving and protecting it? In this class we’ll adventure in a Wise Child “curriculum”, in which our immersive experience of the herbs includes poem-making, music, storytelling, secret languages (the language of plants as well as secrets hidden in scientific names), musing on the nature of healing, nature awareness games, and even math (by way of nature’s patterns) and astronomy!
Come prepared for surprises and fun!
Plant Families for Young People
Using commonly known fruits, vegetables, herbs, grains, nuts and seeds, we will explore the world of plant families. For any new student of herbalism, these botanical categories create an entryway into the patterns inherent in the plant kingdom, helping awaken the intuition and experiential understanding of plant energetics. We will touch on lots of different plant families, and spend extra time exploring the Rose Family, the Mint Family, and the Mallow Family.
Thanks again for reposting! -Kiva