Traditional Roots Herbal Conference Sessions

Laura Ash

Preservation of Culture Through Documentation of Herbal Medicine
Traditional knowledge, specifically traditional medicine, is being lost around the globe due to the modern diaspora of indigenous people from their native lands to modern cities, rapid acculturation, and the loss of traditional languages and oral traditions. With the loss of traditional medicine comes the loss of a key to a creation story, a beginning – and potentially the foundation of a community’s identity. Using examples from her recent collaboration with the Maasai of the Ngorongoro Highlands of Northern Tanzania, Laura shows how intellectual property law and herbal anthropology as tools to protect this precious heritage, fight bio-piracy around the world and preserve health sovereignty. [Webinar option available.]

Paul Bergner

Botanical Medicines in the Stages of Fever
Fever generally has a series of distinct stages, the early stage when the temperature is rising, a middle stage when the temperature is at its peak, an intermittent stage when it fluctuates, and finally, a period of recovery after the fever has passed. Individual herbs and complex formulation should be selected according to the presenting symptoms in the different stages. We will cover differentials in herbal actions and materia medica and describe formulation strategies to address the different stages of fever.

Humoral Differentials for GI Herbs
Herbal medicines used for the digestive tract have characteristic qualities of hot, cold, moistening or drying, in the terminology of classical medicine. Giving GI herbs without matching their humoral or energetic qualities to the presenting symptoms of the patient can lead to patient discomfort, aggravated conditions and therapeutic failures. We will cover the signs and symptoms of the humors in the digestive tract, and the humoral properties of the most important categories and materia medica for the GI tract, with formulation strategies to prevent adverse humoral effects. [Webinar option available.]

Mike Chilton MS and Noelle Stello MSLIS

Hands On Old Herballs (in NCNM’s Rare Books Room)
Did you know that NCNM’s library includes 300- and 400-year old herbal texts? Did you know touching these books helps preserve them? Join Mike Chilton, an international agriculturalist, and NCNM Associate Librarian Noelle Stello for a special, hands-on session with texts including Gerard’s Herball (1633), Salmon’s English Herbal (1710), Gessner’s The Practice of the New and Old Phisicke (1599), Culpeper’s The English Physician Enlarged (1775) and Thomsonian Materia Medica (1841). Chilton and Stello will highlight the history, provenance of these books and explain why these matter for herbal practitioners today. These texts are part of the 2,000-volume Chilton Collection, amassed over four decades by Chilton and his wife, Simone, and donated to the college in 2010. (Class size limited due to room capacity.)

Sussanna Czeranko ND, BBE

Raiders of the Lost Journals (in NCNM’s Rare Books Room)
Tucked inside NCNM’s library is a precious, remarkable resource: the collection of old and rare books, serial publications, journals and other artifacts documenting the roots of traditional medicine. Many of these titles are available nowhere else – in fact, 36 percent of NCNM’s books are found in fewer than 10 other libraries. One unique set are the journals of natural-medicine pioneer Benedict Lust, who published regularly for five decades beginning in 1896 and chronicling the rise of naturopathic medicine. Join Dr. Sussanna Czeranko, NCNM’s Rare Books Room curator, for a guided tour through some of the collection’s treasures. (Class size limited due to room capacity.)

Tori Hudson ND

Women’s Health Past and Present: Integrating Traditional Botanicals with Modern Scientific Research
This lecture covers clinical management of common problems in women, integrating the use of traditional plants as used for generations of herbalists and naturopaths, while simultaneously incorporating the best of modern scientific botanical research. Examples will include cystitis, PMS, endometriosis, PCOS, menopause, anxiety, depression, insomnia and more. [Webinar option available.]

Martha Libster MSN, PhD

Embodying the Elements of CareMaking, Becoming and Being Medicine
Medicine-making is rooted in many cultural healing traditions. Throughout history we find at the center of medicine-making, a knowledge of the way in which the elements of all matter, including the Self of the healer, as ether, fire, air, water and earth can be embodied in care. Making medicine is a healing practice in which the ancient Hermetic maxim “As Above, So Below” can be demonstrated as healing art, science and spiritual practice. Today, however, the act of writing a prescription may be the only connection between practitioners and their remedies. Herbal medicine-making tradition, in which the “medicine” of the maker can be embodied in simple caring acts — such as infusing a tisane, applying a compress, preparing a footbath and simmering syrup — offers an opportunity for meaningful reform of practice.

Drawing upon botanical practice, the science of caring and pattern recognition and lessons learned from primary historical research, this session focuses on skills associated with making, becoming and being medicine. Learn making medicine from caring communities during the “lost decades” in American history, specifically the Shakers, who were renowned medicine makers and healthcare reformers — founders of American pharmacy as we know it today. Become medicine as you participate in the ancient ritual of tea tasting and learn to prepare and apply baths and topical remedies, which serve as chalices for the embodiment of the elements of Self. Explore the science of demonstrating care and the art of peacemaking, the expression of being medicine as a living ethic that serves as a foundation for sustainable healthcare reform.[Webinar option available.]

Nome McBride

Restorative Wildcrafting in the Pacific Northwest
Going well beyond sustainability, wild harvesting can actually increase the range, health and productivity of wild patches of medicinal plants. Using examples of plants from the Pacific Northwest bioregion, this class will cover ethical wildcrafting, harvesting for crop health, post-harvest methods of dissemination and plant reproduction. Among the issues we will discuss are reduced stand tending by first peoples in recent centuries; modern logging techniques affecting wildcrafters; global demand for herbal products; organic cultivation of native and wild crops for sustainability and repopulation. This class also introduces grading a botanical by its growth type, concentration rate, regeneration type and global range. This grading helps wildcrafters assess their impacts and ensure and restorative harvest.

Northwest Analogs to Common Trade Herbs
Learning to heal people also involves learning to heal the land all around us. As herbalists and doctors we commonly are directed to herbs from exotic locales.  While these may sometimes be indicated in a global health crisis, in many cases a locally abundant or native botanical can be equal to or more effective than these far-flung imports. Herbal globalization has overlooked the abundance right before us – at the cost of reduced quality through storage and handling, customs fumigation and treatment, and the true cost in transport and versus face cost through large brokers.  Learning to use these bioregional plants makes our apothecaries resilient and gives practitioners a chance to instill bioregional pride and conservation ethics in our patients. Specifically, we will explore Angelica spp., Valeriana spp., Arnica spp.,  Ligusticum spp., Lysichiton americanum, Anemone occidentalis, Pedicularis spp., and others time permitting.  Using specific examples, organoleptic tasting and cited research, this class will cover how to incorporate these bioregional analogs herbs into practice. A brief materia medica highlighting differences among species within each genus will be given for each botanical, along with harvest methods and sustainability considerations. [Webinar option available.]

Jim McDonald

Experiential Energetics: Sensation as the Language of Plants
Plants communicate with us in many ways, and while visioning and journeys may provide profound insight, this is no more valuable than the way they talk to us at every moment using their tastes, smells and form in this physical world. If you want to communicate with plants, start by listening. Sit down and drink tea. And then feel as the plant enters you, looks around, moves things, enacts its virtues. As you are infused by it. We’ll blindly taste one plant and see what it tells us and where it takes us.

Surviving Sinusitis (and Other Catarrhal Calamities)
Allergies, infections and chronic inflammation of the sinuses are common maladies many people struggle with. While most conventional treatments involve antibiotics, suppressive drugs and often surgery, many common herbs can effectively restore health and tone to the sinuses, ease discomfort, and fight both bacterial and frequently overlooked fungal infections. Herbalist Jim McDonald will elaborate on using energetic approach to choose among these plants, and will discuss other therapies that can give relief to sinu-suffering. [Webinar option available.]

“Ow, my ____ing back!”  Using plants for back and joint injuries
The number of people suffering from chronic back pain in this country is staggering. Chronic pain has far-reaching impact on all aspects of wellness, deeply affecting the spirit as well as the body. Conventional treatment usually involves strong pain killers and surgery. Both of these approaches come with significant side effects and risks, and often do not yield the relief they promise. The world of plant medicines offers another avenue to address these injuries, sometimes providing radical benefits in restoring wellness to beleaguered backs. Herbalist Jim McDonald will share his experiences using plants to address back and joint injuries, emphasizing the underlying patterns and imbalances too often left unaddressed.

Glen Nagel, ND

Elegant Herbal Emulsions: Taking the Greasy Out of Your Herbal Salves
The classic herbal first-aid salve has always been an olive-oil-based herbal infusion mixed with beeswax. These work well for first aid but are not always the best for certain situations. The science of water and oil emulsions has been known for years but is poorly understood in herbal circles. In this class we will demystify emulsions and make two elegant emulsions for common skin concerns. These will be greaseless and combine the water and oil based constituents. We will cover the science of emulsions, common emulsifying agents and simple emulsion formulations for common concerns. Participants will all leave the class with samples to take home.

Jillian Stansbury, ND

Differentiating Calming Herbs
We will review the general and specific indications for commonly used nervines including Passiflora, Scutellaria, Valeriana, Withania, Hypericum, Eschscholtizia, Corydalis, Actea, Avena, Melissa, Nepeta and Humulus.  This class  also will detail modern molecular and clinical research that supporting folkloric usage and indications, as well their use for psychiatric disorders, addiction and opiate withdrawal — in combination with or instead of pharmaceutical drugs.

Endocrine System Basics
This class will offer an illustrated review of some of the most-studied and well-used herbs for endocrine disorders based on organ systems. We will survey herbs specifically indicated for thyroid, adrenal, and males and female reproductive disorders, looking both at folkloric herbal healing traditions and mechanisms of action based on modern research.

Lori Beth Stargrove ND and Mitchell Bebel Stargrove, ND, LAc

Roots, Maps and Interactions: Self-Healing and Living Systems, Ancient to Future
Herbal medicine is a core forum for understanding the history and developing the application of natural medicine and person-centered health. This presentation reviews the mythology and history, world views and philosophies that shaped the contrasting currents of physician and folk practitioners, countryside and city health practices, and the respective roles of self-healing and medicine. Models and maps will be used to illustrate key mythopoetic and scientific concepts of person-centered health dynamics, three-worlds metaphysiology, therapeutic terrains, collaborative care, and interactions at the levels of therapies and relationships. Examples will illustrate these principles and tools in plant medicine, methods of organizing perceptual and conceptual input and weaving multidisciplinary therapies into an personalized and evolving therapeutic strategy. [Webinar option available.]

Eric Yarnell ND, RH (AHG)

Differentiation of Diuretic Herbs
There are many herbs available that are diuretic. This talk will focus on differentiating between them. This will include looking at their relative potencies as diuretics, their relative degree of tonic effect, and their additional actions to help practitioners choose which herbs to use with specific patients. The use of diuretic herbs for kidney stone prevention, ureteral colic treatment, urinary tract infection prevention and treatment, and hypertension treatment will be illuminated with these differentiating factors in mind. Case examples will be used to illustrate points throughout.

Scientific Approach to Constitutional Assessment
This talk will use chronic prostatitis as a model to discuss differentiation of health problems based on scientific principles and research as an example of modern-day “constitutional assessment.” While this approach lacks some of the features of traditional constitutional assessment, it shares some surprisingly similar features. Should herbal practitioners consider merging traditional and modern constitutional assessment? Is this, in fact, what many herbal practitioners already are doing much of the time? [Webinar option available.]

Treating Urinary Tract Infections with Herbs: Bring Your Cases
Bring your cases of treating urinary-tract infections and pyelonephritis with herbs to this open panel moderated by Dr. Yarnell. We all want to hear about successes and intriguing and unexpected outcomes (for example, efficacy of an unusual herb); this session offers and opportunity to evaluate why some cases don’t respond. Dr. Yarnell will provide a few examples from his practice, including: a case when herbs worked and antibiotics didn’t in a patient with metastatic prostate cancer; the use of herbs to break a cycle of recurrent UTIs and eliminate antibiotics; and a time herbs didn’t work in what seemed like a run-of-the-mill case and why this probably. Please bring your cases to make this panel work!