All posts filed under: Herbalism

Tea of the Day: St. John’s Wort, Milky Oats and Chamomile Tea for the Center

  Here’s a gentle and tasty tea combining some of my favorite herbs to support the all-important brain-gut connection. It works on the nervous system and the middle jiao (digestion) to move Qi and ease stomach aches, increase healthy permeability and absorption in the gut, calms the emotions especially anxiety, is tonifying to worn-out adrenals, warms and increases circulation.

Herb Samples: A Most Useful Study Aid

The last 4 weeks have been a whirl-wind. But I made out out on the other side! Yes, I officially graduated. My last board exam was the herbal one. I spent a week doing practice tests, reading through my notes and fondling my samples. My herb samples came from the free table at school. Some samples were missing, some had pre-made notes and some had lost their, um, freshness, but I didn’t care. They did the trick. It is much easier to memorize things when the thing you have to memorize is in your hands, or at least it is for me. I would’ve preferred to taste each one individually, see it growing, learn the botany, chemistry and ethnobotanic history in an attempt to really learn it. How much can you know about a plant by just reading about it? A lot, true, but so much can be gleaned experientially.

Elderberry, a Worthy Add to Herbal Teas

When I worked at a co-op in the health and body care section, I noticed that every year around November, bottles and bottles of elderberry products would fly off the shelves. Elderberry has earned a reputation as a cold and flu herb, especially for the dreaded influenza, and rightfully so. It packs a powerful punch of anthocyanadins, helps the immune system do this. Studies have shown that it is effective at reducing the length of the flu by half. Yet like most herbs, elderberry has depth and can be used in many situations.

Chamomile Scores and Woes

Each year my garden sprouts more and more chamomile. It comes earlier each year, too. This year it was all done by the end of June. This leaves a shorter harvest time, and unfortunately I can’t tend my garden in Gresham as much I have been able to in the past. This means a few long harvesting days rather than a constant, steady harvest in better bite-sized chunks (which I prefer).  This also means that a lot of my chamomile went to seed before I could get to it.

Two Herb Books I’m Enjoying

  I have had the recent pleasure to read two new (to me) herb books. The Wild Medicine Solution by Guido Mase´ describes herbal aromatics, bitters and tonics and their uses in food and medicine while sharing an elegant, supportive herbal philosophy.

Let Me Tell You About Herbal Internship

  There is a clinical shift in my education program called Herbal Internship. Herbal Internship is solely dedicated to, you guessed it, herbal consultations. There are 4 one hour slots to treat 4 patients with herbs. Do an intake, take pulse and look at tongue, determine diagnosis and treatment principles, discuss a formula, send the formula off to be filled. Seems pretty basic, no? Despite the fact that I have elected to do extra Herbal Internship shifts and know the drill, it is a far cry from basic. First of all, people are complicated. There are often 3-5 major complaints. Rarely does someone have just one single thing as their chief complaint. Secondly, conflicting signs are commonplace. Heat and Yang Xu (deficiency). Dampness in the Middle Jiao (digestion), which is an excess condition, and Blood Xu (deficiency). Thirdly, we make it up as we go along. This is not a bad thing at all; it is simply challenging and pushes me to the limits and forces me to expand my way of thinking. There is …

Day 1 Supportive Emmenagogue Tea – Yarrow, Motherwort, Peony and Raspberry Leaf Tea

Day 1 Tea: a lower jiao warming, blood and Ki Qi nourishing and ever-so-slightly Blood moving herbal tea. I originally created this tea to ease menstrual cramps, starting with Yarrow as my chief herb. Milky oats have been added to support the Kidneys (capital ‘K’ means a Chinese medicine concept and function), because I originally made this for someone with dysmenorrhea with underlying Kidney Qi Xu (Deficiency), and I find Milky Oats to support the adrenals quite nicely. Grains are also mineral-rich, which can help reduce crampy pain and spasms. Sometimes during day 1 (or longer), digestion can be messed up. Loose stools, upset stomach, crampy intestines along with the uterus. Not fun. Milky Oats can help soothe the digestive tract, too, especially when combined with other middle jiao supportive herbs like Bai Shao/ White Peony Root. Bai Shao/White Peony Root is a Cool, Sour and Sweet herb in the Move Blood category within the system of Chinese herbal medicine. Bai Shao tonifies Spleen Qi to support digestion, and helps move stuck and stagnant Liver …