Friday, September 30, 2011

Photo Friday - Uva Ursi

Photo Friday - where I post pictures of plants along with tidbits of herbal information. 

To start this new tradition I've chosen one of the first plants I ever personally used for medicine, Arctostaphylos uva-ursi, otherwise known as simply uva ursi, kinnikinnick, and bearberry. 

 I use uva ursi specifically for urinary complaints such as bladder infections or UTIs. I usually combine it with yarrow and marshmallow and it works well both for acute conditions as well as for prevention.

I used to get UTIs frequently. Before I knew how to use herbs a UTI always meant a panicked trip to the doctor to get antibiotics which I knew would give me a yeast infection and on and on and on. If you've never had a bladder infection let me tell ya, that getting in the car/bus to go to the doctor's office when you have to pee extremely urgently is not a favorite pastime. Possibly worse is getting a UTI at 2:00am and know that you have to tough it out until morning. Cranberry juice has never worked for me. 

Luckily for me my skills as an herbalist increased and I was able to address the reason I was getting UTIs. It's been many years since I've had one. Still my love and gratitude for this plant has never waned. 

As you might imagine, learning about this little plant was really incredible for me. I was amazed that some green leaves could save me from so much agony. And then I finally found uva-ursi in person. Such an adorable plant with those beautiful bell flowers. 

We use the leaves for medicine. I harvest them towards the end of summer or beginning of fall. 

Like many plants in the heath family (Ericaceae), uva ursi thrives in acidic soils. I live amongst douglas firs and ponderosa pines and they cover the forest floor. In the spring you can find me on my belly getting glimpses of those perfectly pink flowers. 

Uva ursi is frequently planted in western Washington as an ornamental plant. I often see it in green spaces in parking lots. It's evergreen leaves are beautiful year round. 

In the summer the flowers turn into red berries. They are edible and can range from slightly sweet and astringent to very mealy and astringent. If the berries are still on the plant when I harvest the leaves then I harvest them for medicine as well. 

I harvest leaves both for making a tincture as well as for teas. 

 Uva ursi is often a part of smoking blends. 
Recently I heard of an herbalist using uva ursi for yeast infections. 

I also adore the beautiful orange red bark of uva ursi. 

Here's a couple of videos on uva ursi. The first one is an old video by me and the second is by Nome. 

Tuesday, September 27, 2011

Summer hors d'oeuvres

This page has moved.
to view the Herbed Feta Recipe.

Wednesday, September 21, 2011

An Herbal Treasure: Plant Healer - The Printed Book!

Ghost Ranch, home of the Traditions in Western Herbalism Conference
I recently traveled to the deserts of the Southwest to attend the Traditions in Western Herbalism Conference. Only in its second year of existence, this grassroots revival hosted by Jesse Wolf Hardin and Kiva Rose has already become an epic gathering for those interested in the plant world. 

I attended as many classes as I could, presented a class myself, danced the night away to a variety of musicians and happily basked in the presence of so many wonderful people and herbalists. 

I made a couple purchases at the conferences, doing my part to support teachers, medicine makers and other inspiring folks. 

One treasure I devoured the entire way home was the Plant Healer Annual

This is a printed version of the revolutionary Plant Healer Magazine which is published electronically every three months. 

This black and white book boasts over 600 pages of printed material from over 60 contemporary herbalists. The breadth of information and diversity of writers makes this a special snapshot in time of modern herbalism. 

From Kiva and Wolf's inspiring writings 
to Sean Donahue's biographies of historical monographs
to Virginia Adi's in depth monographs
to Matthew Wood's series on the cardiovascular system
to columns written for and by children (like Herbal Roots Zine author, Kristine Brown)

to 7Song's botany series
to jim mcdonald's energetics column 
to John Gallagher's grassroots marketing series 
to Paul Bergner's innovative musings 
to Robin Rose Bennett's soulful writings 

to Ananda Wilson's tree medicine
to Phyllis Light's illuminating monographs 
to Sam Thayer's foraging expeditions
to Henriette Kress' clinical perspectives 
to Loba's enchanting foods...

and on and on and on. This book will take me weeks to fully read, and a lifetime to fully absorb. 

You can purchase your own copy along with a quarterly subscription by
clicking here

Enjoy a piece of herbal history! 

Plant Healer: A Journal of Traditional HerbalismPlant Healer: A Journal of Traditional HerbalismPlant Healer: A Journal of Traditional HerbalismPlant Healer: A Journal of Traditional Herbalism

Tuesday, September 20, 2011

Bringing Nature Awareness to Rootstalk!

This year Mountain Rose Herbs is gathering herbalists in Oregon to celebrate plants, people and planet from September 22nd - 25th. This is a benefit event for Cascadia Wildlands. The class offerings are an eclectic mix of herbs, activism, homesteading skills and connection to nature. 

My husband Xavier has been asked to share his skills in living close to the earth. He'll be teaching two classes at the festival. One on the Gifts of Plants, using plants for food, shelter, clothing, tools and fire. And another on building nature awareness skills such as tracking, bird language and sense of place.

I am super excited to be able to travel down with Xavier to support him in his classes as well as attend this incredible event. 

Held outside of Salem on 300 acres of land there are lots of fun activities to do when not attending classes including canoeing, archery and hiking trails. Each night there is a plethora of different music and entertainment. 

We'll have a table at the event to sell DIY Pine Needle Basketry Kits and my own Bee Balm Honey. 

We hope to see you there! 

For more information about Rootstalk visit their website

Wednesday, September 7, 2011

Fall Wellness Weekend at Skalitude: Immune Support

Nourish and Strengthen! A Wellness Retreat from November 4th at 5:00pm to November 6th at 2:00pm. 

This is a self-empowerment wellness weekend - beat the high cost of medical care by learning to take care of yourself.

Prepare for winter with a weekend of nutritious food, immune supporting herbs and nourishing yoga at the awe-inspiring Skalitude Retreat Center.

We will deepen our experience of well-being through the idea of ‘food as medicine’, preparing simple recipes and herbal teas that support and strengthen the immune system. Asana and pranayama practice deepen our ability to feel our radiant health, sauna time and silence create space to release what no lon
ger serves us.

Restore body and mind after the busyness of summer, feed your reserves of health in preparation for the cold season!

Led by

- Becky Studen, certified yoga teacher, has studied various types of yoga including Vinyasa, Ashtanga, Pre- and Post-natal, and Power Core and Yin yoga. Yoga has reminded her to breathe deeply when parenting, love her body and to take time to simply be.

- Rosalee de la Foret, clinical herbalist, author, photographer and Structural medicine Specialist. Rosalee is the author of dozens of articles and several ebooks on herbal healing.

Participation in meal prep and clean up is part of the weekend experience.

We are joyfully offering this weekend at an exceptionally low price in order to serve those who need this retreat. Space is limited to 11 participants - register early to ensure your spot.

Registration: $195 by October 21st, $220 after. Price includes all meals, lodging, herbal preparations and class time including a healthy dose of yoga and herbal discussions. You will also have some free time to yourself as well as time in the sauna if desired.

Send check made out to Skalitude to PO Box 74, Carlton WA 98814
or contact Lindsey at

PLEASE help us spread the word about this event. 
Thank you!

Friday night
Arrival: 3:00 to 5:00 pm 
5:00 - 6:00 Making bone broth and dinner prep 
6:00 - 7:00 Grounding yoga practice 
7:00 - 8:00 Dinner 
8:00 - 9:00 Opening circle; introductions, intentions

8:00 - 8:30 Awakening yoga practice (yin/yang) 
8:45 - 9:30 Breakfast 
9:30 - 10:30 Lunch Prep and free time 
10:30 - 12:00 Discussion: Deeply nourishing herbs and food for a strong immune system 12:30 - 1:30 Lunch
1:30 - 3:30 Free time, dinner prep 
3:30 - 5:30 Deepening yoga practice 
6:00 - 9:00 Dinner/Sauna in the order of your choice

8:00 - 8:30 Awakening yoga practice (yin/yang) 
8:45 - 9:30 Breakfast 
9:30 - 10:00 Free time and lunch prep 
10:00 - 11:00 Discussion: Herbs and Foods for the Cold and Flu 
11:00 - 12:00 Completion yoga practice
12:30 - 1:30 Lunch 1:30 - 2:00 Closing circle

Monday, September 5, 2011

Volume Four of Plant Healer Magazine is OUT!

The revolutionary duo has done it again. 

Co-editors, Kiva and Jesse Wolf Hardin have just released the fourth volume of Plant Healer Magazine. Once again they've surpassed their own high-bar of excellence to produce another stunning issue. 

This issue is filled with 213 pages of information packed articles and gorgeous herbal artwork. 

The diverse background of herbalists that contribute to this magazine are encouraged to push their offerings to the limit to bring us insight into today's herbal world - and it shows! Articles in this magazine are experienced based and go beyond the mundane to broaden herbal horizons. 

I've cherished every issue and have been honored to see my own work amongst the pages. 

If you are not a subscriber I highly encourage you to partake in this herbal history in the making. Now is an especially great time to become a subscriber. Later this month this electronic magazine will be offered in a beautiful hardback form, but only to subscribers. 

The Plant Healer book is over 700 pages and will doubtless entertain us herbalists for many years to come. 

Learn more about Plant Healer Magazine and subscribe by clicking on the banner below. 
Plant Healer Banner

(Using this link helps to support my blog. Thanks!) 

Herbal School Listing

Schools & correspondence courses

Anima Center (Correspondence Courses Available)
Kiva Rose and Jesse Wolf Hardin offer several correspondence courses with optional apprenticeships at their sanctuary in New Mexico. The Medicine Woman Herbal course is designed to provide the student with not only the practical how-to of getting acquainted with traditional botanical medicine, human wellness and the herbs themselves, but also with the knowledge, impetus and support to cultivate intimacy with the plants, self, others and the whole.
Aviva Romm (Correspondence Courses Available)
Aviva is an herbalist, a midwife, med school student of Yale, and author of many fabulous books. She offers an in-depth correspondence course entitled: Herbal Medicine for Women: Certified Women’s Herbal Educator Distance Learning Program
Bastyr University, located in Seattle Washington, offers an undergraduate degree in herbal sciences. On site only.
Blessed Maine Herb Farm School of Herbal Medicine
We invite you to study herbalism here at the Blessed Maine Herb Farm School of Herbal Medicine.Cross the threshold into THE WAY OF THE WILD HEART and engage the wisdom and spirit of the healing herbs with internationally recognized community herbalist, organic gardener, author and teacher, Gail Faith Edwards as your guide.
California School of Herbal Studies - On Site Only (Sonoma County, CA)
Our mission is to help create sustainable communities by providing Earth centered, community based herbal education. CSHS works to empower individuals with the skills, experience and confidence needed by the community herbalist. Our school teaches from the tradition of western herbalism, with a materia medica primarily made up of North American and European herbs. Ayurvedic and Traditional Chinese Medicine perspectives and herbs are used to complement the Western tradition.
David Winston
Offers a two year herbal studies course in New Jersey and via the web. He also offers extensive reference materials in his Herbal Therapeutics Research Library
Dominion Herbal College
Established in 1926, Dominion Herbal College was the first school of Herbal Medicine to offer clinical level studies in North America.
East West School of Herbology (Correspondence Courses Available)
Michael and Leslie Tierra offer several different correspondence courses from Family Herbalist to a certification track, which once completed, will allow for acceptance into the American Herbalist Guild as a professional member.

We are a non-profit organization dedicated to providing healthcare resources grounded in Nature. Our work brings clinical herbalism to community practice through the weaving of science, spirit and grassroots activism. We provide one of the nation’s most extensive clinical training opportunities in herbal medicine, rooted in deep connection with the plants and place.
Foundations of Herbalism (Correspondence Courses Available)
Christopher Hobbs offers a one year correspondence course which covers many western herbs.

Four Seasons Herbal Intensive with jim mcdonald
For those of you in the Michigan area (or those interesting moving to get an incredible herbal education) jim mcdonald's year long program is amazing. He offers experienced based learning, lots of time in the field and some of the best herbal energetics theory available today. 
Heart of Herbs and Aromatherapy School
Demetria Clark (author of Herbal Healing for Children) works with each student individually to assist them in achieving their education and herbal goals. The school offers extensive herbal and aromatherapy education programs and have served over 6500 students since 1998, from all over the world. Programs are available through apprenticeship, distance learning and eLearning. Students learn about western herbalism, anatomy, botany, horticulture all in conjunction with evidence based herbal education.
Herbal Transitions
Sharol Tilgner is a naturopathic physician and herbalist who hosts the annual Herb Fest on her farm outside of Eugene, Oregon. She offers a variety of weekend classes, apprenticeships, and longer courses.
International College of Herbal Medicine
This web based college offers a huge range of classes from an impressive list of herbalists such as Isla Burgess and Amanda McQuade Crawford.
K.P. Khalsa (Onsite only)
Karta Purkh Singh Khalsa is the president of the American Herbalist Guild and offers a professional herbalist course which fulfills a lot of requirements for professional membership within the AHG.
Michael Moore (Correspondence Courses Available)
Offers a 12 lesson course via correspondence. 95% of the materials are DVDs. His website also offers a wide variety of materia medica.
North American Institute of Medical Herbalism (Correspondence Courses Available)
The North American Institute of Medical Herbalism, offers introductory, advanced, and clinical training in medical herbalism and clinical nutrition in the vitalist tradition. One of the main faculty is Paul Bergner and he offers classroom, clinical, field training, and distance learning formats. Paul also publishes the quarterly Medical Herbalism journal (since 1989) and frequently leads clinical training trips to Nicaragua.
Northeast School of Botanical Medicine
7Song offers herbal courses in Ithaca New York with a focus on Clinical Herbalism, First Aid and Plant Identification.
Sage Mountain (Correspondence Courses Available)
Rosemary Gladstar’s, The Science & Art of Herbalism correspondence course offers a comprehensive overview of herbalism and prepares the student to competently and effectively use herbs for home health care. It’s an excellent introduction for the beginner/intermediate student of herbalism and gives an in-depth overview of herbalism. For the more advanced student it provides an excellent review and a solid foundation upon which to build their own studies.
School of Integrative Herbology
Candis Cantin offers a great long distance course aimed to help people learn how to integrate Western herbology with the constitutional and lifestyle model of Ayurveda. She also has onsite courses in California.
Southwest School of Botanical Medicine (Correspondence Courses Available)From beloved herbalist Michael Moore, this school offers two different long distance courses. 95% of the materials are DVDs. His website also offers a wide variety of free materials.
Tai Sophia Institute for the Healing Arts
Tai Sophia offers several graduate programs in the healing arts with a graduate program for Herbal Studies as well. Located in Maryland it hosts a fabulous collection of many herbalists teaching the course. On site only.
Wise Woman Center (Correspondence Courses Available)
Author, herbalist and wise woman Susun Weed offers a variety of onsite and correspondence courses. Her school also offers a wide variety of one time classes.
The School of Traditional Western Herbalism
This school is run by Portland-based herbalists Chris Smaka and Hanna Jordan. Guest instructors include Paul Bergner, Margi Flint, Howie Brownstein, Deborah Frances, Jim McDonald, and others.
Howie Brounstein and Steven Yeager focus on botany, wildcrafting and more. Apprenticeships, clinical internships, and more at this Eugene, OR based school.

If you are interested in become a clinical herbalist and would one day like to be eligible for professional membership within the AHG then see their guide for herbal education here

Mountain Rose Herbs has another school listing here. 

Sunday, September 4, 2011