2019 Conference Sessions

Paul Bergner

Comparative Materia Medica for the Bitter Herbs

Bitter-flavored herbs are a mainstay of therapeutics on all major systems of herbalism. Bitter substances can bind to bitter receptors in the mouth and gut to produce, through signaling, physiological changes in multiple systems. The humoral effects of bitter substances are viewed as cooling, drying, and draining. Considering both the physiological and humoral aspects, we can arrive at the appropriate use for therapeutic effects and for avoiding adverse humoral effects. Excessive or prolonged use of bitters can cause injury to the digestive process and injure the overall constitution. Understanding the general effect of the bitter flavor we will describe nuances of therapeutic applications for digestive bitters, bitter laxatives, bitter mints, bitter anodynes and bitter demulcents.

 

Nutrition in the Herbal Paradigm

Herbalists view their therapeutic agents in the paradigm of humoral and clinical actions, as well as therapeutic uses. In the long traditions of medical herbalism, dietetics and nutrition have been essential elements of a therapeutic plan. Individual macro- and micronutrients also may be viewed as possessing actions identical to those of medicinal plants, such as tonic, adaptogenic, antispasmodic, immunomodulating, anti-inflammatory and so on. In many cases giving herbs with such actions without simultaneously replenishing the nutrient factors that support normal functions simply temporarily masks a deficiency. We will discuss macronutrients, vitamins, minerals and other special nutrients in terms of what their actions would be if they were plants — and how they can help improve outcomes of herbal interventions.

 

Shehab El-Hashemy

Game Changing Botanical Medicines in Developmental Pediatrics

In this 2-hour presentation Dr. El-Hashemy will share his experience using botanical medicines in complex conditions in developmental pediatrics as well as pediatric psychiatry. The focus will be on game-changing, evidence-informed use of selected traditional botanicals from eastern and western traditions. In pragmatic manner, we will cover indications, traditional uses, state of the evidence, dosing, concurrent use with prescription medications (safe to combine, interactions and contraindication), how to motivate compliance in a child, and my favorite getting kids to make their own formulations! Dr El-Hashemy will share practical pearls in prescribing, stocking, dispensing of common and not so common botanical medicines. This presentation will focus on the child exhibiting cognitive delay, the impulsive/inattentive child (ADHD), the anxious child, the depressed child, and the child with substance-related or addictive disorder.

 

Gary Ferguson

Traditional Medicines from the Greatland

The Store Outside Your Door/Alaskan Plants as Food and Medicine initiative in Alaska has been bringing together traditional healers/tribal doctors, botanical medicine practitioners and life-long learners to study, share and experience the bounty of healing medicines from the Alaskan Arctic landscape. Many of these medicines have a Pacific Northwest cousin or relative, expanding the understanding that we have of the amazing healing plants. We will review some of the most common plants being used in Alaska, along with storytelling and the wisdom from indigenous cultures of the North.

 

Culture is Medicine

Many of our natural healing approaches have a deep connection to indigenous cultures around the world. As we examine the cultural roots of these modalities, as we deepen our understanding of the contexts from which our medicines come, we deepen both our understanding and practice of these healing agents and techniques. In this workshop, we will dialogue around the healing plants along with the stories and ceremonies that go with them from the indigenous cultures of the North.

 

Mimi Hernandez

Rue Resin and Rose: A Sacred and Medicinal Trilogy of Latin American Materia Medica

Weaving tradition and science we journey to the grandmother’s altar and explore the old world protections of rue, the medicinal resins of copal and sangre de drago, and the healing enchantments of rose while digging deeply in the study of clinical applications and materia medica of these sacred plant medicines. We will dive into a system of Latin American folk healing as a response to the collective health of a culture affected by envy, trauma and fear. Participants will gain a better understanding of how these concepts show up in a clinical setting and how to work with these plant allies.

 

Hip Hop Herbal Constituents

Gain information of various plant players as we uncover multifarious layers of how they engage up in the stage of the physiology while assembling anthology. Be a go getter, know why plants make you feel better by understanding constituents down to the letter. We’ll look at aromatics, polysaccharides and tannin, uncovering their canon. We’ll discuss the alkaloid and polyphenols and we’ll fill the void with fundamentals. We’ll have some conversation revolving around application and solvency you’ll see it’ll be useful for medicine making. It’ll be groundbreaking!

 

Guido Masé

Bitter Herbs and Mucosal Immunity: The Role of Taste Receptors in the Airway

Using chronic sinus infections as a jumping-off point, we will explore how the use of herbs topically and through inhalation can impact allergies, asthma, and chronic infection through a range of mechanisms. We won’t cover the use of bitters in gut health; this link already is well described. We will talk about practical strategies for engaging with the bitter taste receptors in our airways, GI tract, and liver for relieving chronic infection and congestion. Gentian neti anyone?

 

Using Organolepsis to Assess Herbal Identity and Strength: A Science-Based Approach

Using our senses to evaluate herbal raw materials, infusions, and extracts is a time-honored technique that has also gained modern repute. In the current regulatory environment, organoleptic analysis is an accepted technique — but only if conducted in an objective and well-documented way. We will discuss the background and rationale for sensory analysis and cover some of the techniques we can use to make a sensory assessment more objective and sound — from blind taste-testing to analyst “calibration” to established organoleptic testing methods. These are tools every herbalist can use.

 

Herbs for Cognition, Focus and Brain Health

Going well beyond ginkgo, we’ll explore how herbs can impact our ability to think clearly, remember well, and stay focused. Emerging allies, from Chinese club moss to the bulbs of snowdrops and daffodils, can be used alongside traditional neurotonics to give protocols fast-acting, specific life-enhancing effects. We will discuss the appropriate use of entheogens, both in microdoses and at therapeutic levels, to help catalyze positive change in mind/spirit function and engagement. We will cover the clinical research around these herbs, and organize them into protocols that honor the cyclical nature of creativity and inspiration. These strategies are applicable for those caring for elders, but can play a role to support cognitive function for clients of any age.

 

Elissa Mendenhall

Targeted Herbs, Flower Essences and Nutrients for PTSD: A Psychogenomic Approach

We know that people experience and heal from trauma differently. Have you ever wondered why herbal and other therapies that should be effective don’t seem to work in some cases? The emerging field of psychogenetics offers important insights that can help us better individualize our herbal, flower-essence and nutritional therapies and to help people truly heal. We’ll begin with an overview of basic genetic variances that raise the risk of developing PTSD and discuss how to identify them in practice – with or without genetic testing. Using those insights we’ll differentiate among different herbs, flower essences and nutrients for each PTSD subtype.

 

Glen Nagel

Cannabis as the New Cayenne: Using Cannabis in Botanical Medicine Formulation  

 Most of the hype about Cannabis is as a solo herb or the optimal ratios of its constituents. But Cannabis may in fact be one of the best botanical synergists we know. What are the qualities and energetics of Cannabis that make it enhance other botanicals? Dr. Glen Nagel will talk about the use of Cannabis as a botanical medicine and in combination with other herbs.

 

Field Applications in Botanical Medicine: Instant Tinctures with CO2 Extraction

Need that herb in a hurry? Will a two-week tincture take too long? Join Dr. Glen Nagel in NUNM’s Min Zidell Healing Garden talking about – and in the presence of – medicinal plants including elder flower, mint, Echinacea and others. We will talk and demonstrate simple methods to make instant field extracts.

 

Yasha Annah Shapiro

Herbs and Humans and Hormones: Navigating Transgender Healthcare

This interactive workshop will address using herbal and pharmaceutical medicine to support trans and gender-diverse people, with a focus on common health issues that arise in the first year of physical transition with hormones. Participants will learn tools and resources, with a focus on herbal interventions, for treating common issues that come up with folks using hormones to transition and maintaining the optimal wellbeing of patients. We also will talk about basic language guidelines, consent, trauma-informed care, and many more topics that address how to affirm trans and gender-diverse populations.

 

Jillian Stansbury

Creating Herbal Formulas: The Basics 

After teaching herb courses for 30 years, there can be a big leap between learning materia medica and applying that knowledge to create effective herbal formulas. This class will approach methods and strategies for creating effective herbal formulas.

 

Types of Pain and Herbal Management Tools 

This lecture will explore some of the most commonly encountered types of pain including musculoskeletal, neuralgic and nociceptive pain. The mechanisms of action of selected anodyne herbs will be explored and sample formulas for specific conditions will be presented.

 

Nicole Telkes

Plants of Passion

Do plants turn you on? For some of us just hearing a few Latin binomials or seeing someone identify a plant properly is enough to make our heart race. For others it’s not so simple.  Many traditional aphrodisiacs center on being functional stimulants – which may or may not relate to why someone is or isn’t “in the mood.” Join Registered Herbalist Nicole Telkes as she reframes this perspective and delves into some sexy plants that help create a more relaxed and juicy state in your body. She will cover several individual herbs and their actions, as well as touching on bigger issues regarding libido and sexual health. She also will review plants that aren’t traditionally thought of as aphrodisiacs, such as those that feed our nervous and endocrine systems and thus support sexual health. We will also have some fun tastings of herbal potions that inspire a lust for life. Please come with questions; there will be an opportunity to submit these anonymously.

 

Plant Provings

Traditional, holistic systems of medicine understand that in order to offer remedies and true paths to healing we must be able to not only know their actions, but their qualities and the areas of the body they effect. Today, evidence-based medicine values data in the form of clinical trials. We will be gathering data in the form of organoleptic learning, finding patterns through sipping tea and doing a plant proving. Plant sits often are used to help understand the spirit of the plant, but in this workshop we will dissect the physiological workings of a plant we ingest. We will look at flavors, qualities and how to sort through and define actions in the body.